The Independence Community College (ICC) football team has accepted a bid to play Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) in the inaugural Midwest Classic Bowl Game in Miami, Oklahoma on Dec. 3. The announcement was made Wednesday morning at Downstream casino before a large gathering of members of the media, staff, players and coaches from each college, and members of the bowl committee.
Both teams enter the contest nationally ranked, with NEO ranked 4th, and ICC 7th in the nation.
“These two teams are the highest-ranking teams playing in a junior college bowl game, outside of a National Championship,” said Tim Ingram, bowl game media director. “It is an opportunity to showcase two amazingly talented programs.”
Both teams enter the post-season having won their respective conference titles, with NEO finishing 5-2 in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference and ICC going 6-1 in the highly competitive Kansas Jayhawk Conference.
“These two conferences are the best conferences in the nation when it comes to junior college football,” said Dale Patterson, NEO athletic director.
This year marks the first Jayhawk Conference title for ICC since 1977.
“We have come a long way in a very short period of time,” said second-year ICC head coach, Jason Brown. “I am honored to bring independence to our first bowl game in a long time.”
The Pirates finished the season with an overall record of 8-2, but marks the second winning season in Brown’s short tenure and extends the team’s season into December.
“This bowl game gives our players an opportunity to play another game together, which will help them as some take the journey onto the next level, which is what this is all about,” said Brown. “NEO is a great program with a rich tradition, so it is going to be a good game.”
NEO has won five conference titles between 1998 and 2017, and has won seven National Championships since 1958, with their last title coming in 1991.
While ICC may not have the same tradition as NEO, Independence has garnered national attention under Brown, with the Netflix hit docu-series, Last Chance U featuring the team for the show’s third season.
When asked if any of the ICC players stood out on film, or was a concern, NEO head coach, Clay Patterson said, “All of them! That team (ICC) is loaded with Division One talent.”
With cameras rolling, the Pirates and Golden Norsemen will take the field at 2PM on December 3, at Miami’s Multi-Purpose Sports Complex at Red Robertson Field in Miami, Oklahoma.