NEO wins season opener over New Mexico Military Institute

NEO Sports
Monty Franks

MIAMI, Okla. — Elimination of the New Mexico Military Institute running game allowed the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College Golden Norsemen to gain a 40-7 victory Saturday as part of Military Appreciation Night before more than 2,500 fans at Red Robertson Field.

The victory gives the No. 14 ranked Golden Norse a 1-0 record both on the regular season and in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference. The NMMI Broncos are 1-1 on the year and 0-1 in the conference.

NEO travels across the Red River at 6 p.m. next Saturday to face two-time defending SWJCFC champion and No. 4 rated Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas.

After finishing with both the conference regular season and post-season championships, the Cardinals finished 11-1 last season. Their only loss was a 30-29 come-from-behind victory by NEO in Miami.

Trinity Valley opened the season last weekend with a 57-3 rout over Pima, Arizona in the Athens’ Battle in the Valley sponsored by Virtual Communications. The Cardinals traveled to Corsicana Saturday night for a conference game with Navarro College.

Two New Mexico Military quarterbacks managed to complete only 4 of 16 passes for a mere 26 yards and one interception.

After holding the Broncos on the opening possession of the game, NEO drove 47 yards in six plays to take the lead for the game.

Following a 32-yard run by Darwin Thompson to the NMMI 1-yard line, quarterback Cordale Grundy scored over right guard with 10:38 left in the first quarter. Grove freshman Tommy Heatherly kicked the point-after for a 7-0 Golden Norse lead.

Aided by a 32-yard pass play from Grundy to wide out Kobe Bryer, the Norsemen moved 64 yards in five plays midway through the second quarter.

Thompson capped the drive with a 36-yard touchdown run with 7:44 showing on the clock. The extra point by Heatherly enabled NEO to carry a 14-0 lead to the locker room at half.

Just before time expired, Logan Robinson missed a 49-yard field goal attempt wide right as the Broncos missed a chance to put points on the scoreboard.

During the first 13 minutes of the third quarter, Grundy scored on a 22-yard run while Thompson crossed the goal line on runs of 52 and 12 yards to propel the Golden Norsemen to a 33-0 advantage with 2:34 showing on the clock.

New Mexico Military sophomore quarterback Brandon Perdue went to the bench after an ineffective first half and was replaced by sophomore Monte Turner.

Turner unleashed a 61-yard run to the NEO 4-yard line to set up the only score of the game for the Broncos. He was caught from behind by NEO freshman cornerback Kevion McGee to delay a score.

On the next play Turner followed his center into the endzone with 1:15 left in the third quarter. Robinson’s PAT created a 33-7 deficit entering the final 15 minutes.

Allowing several reserves to earn some valuable playing time, NEO head coach Clay Patterson replaced most of the starters in the fourth quarter.

Sophomore tailback Cortez Watson concluded a 42-yard, five-play drive by NEO with a 2-yard TD run. Riley Hawthorn added the extra point with 2:59 remaining in the game.

Thompson paced the Golden Norse ground game with 156 yards on 17 carries as NEO amassed 325 total rushing yards on 50 attempts. Freshman running back Darran Williams contributed 80 yards on 13 carries while Grundy gained 72 yards on 15 carries.

Grundy completed 13 of 29 passes for 151 yards without an interception.

Even though he only played a half, Turner led the Broncos with 81 yards on six carries. New Mexico Military rushed for 163 yards on 44 attempts.

Sophomore safety Joe Williams led the Norse defense with an interception and a fumble recovery while recording four solo tackles and eight assists.