LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Balanced offense and a stifling defense carried the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College Golden Norsemen to a 65-24 victory Saturday afternoon over Arkansas Baptist College at the Verizon Wireless Field in Quigley Cox Stadium.
While winning their fifth consecutive game, the No. 18 ranked Golden Norsemen are 6-2 on the season. The independent Arkansas Baptist Buffaloes are 1-7 overall.
Stakes are high for a berth in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference post season playoffs next Saturday, as the Golden Norse (4-2) conclude the regular season at 3 p.m. next Saturday against No. 5 rated Blinn College in Brenham, Texas.
Homecoming activities and sophomore recognition will highlight activities during the game played at Brenham’s ISD Cub Stadium.
The Buccaneers (5-1 and 6-1) are coming off an open date following a 27-13 victory on Oct. 14 in Roswell, New Mexico against New Mexico Military Institute.
First place in the SWJCFC will be on the line. Blinn (5-1 and 6-1) holds a half-game lead over No. 3 ranked and defending conference champion Trinity Valley Community College (4-1 and 6-1).
Trinity Valley played at Kilgore (Texas) College, Saturday evening, before closing out the regular season next week against Cisco College in Athens, Texas.
“We’ll know a little better how the post-season’s going to shake out after Saturday’s games,” NEO athletic director Dale Patterson said. “There are a few different scenario’s that still need to be determined.”
Wasting little time against the ABC Buffaloes, NEO received a 12-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Wyatt Steigerwald to wide out Juwan Johnson on the opening possession of the game.
Riley Hawthorn’s point-after gave NEO a 7-0 lead at the 13:51 juncture of the first quarter.
Taking a toss on an end-around play, wide receiver Antwan Woods scored on a 4-yard run with 7:32 left in the first 15 minutes. Hawthorn tacked on the extra point for a 14-0 Norse margin.
After Arkansas Baptist scored a touchdown (but missed the PAT) at the 5:46 juncture, the Norsemen received a 35-yard field goal by Hawthorn to build a 17-6 cushion with 3:26 remaining in the first quarter.
Just 0:09 seconds into the second quarter, veteran wide out Kobe Bryer scored on an 8-yard end around top increase NEO’s lead. Hawthorn’s point-after produced a 24-6 cushion.
A touchdown pass from Steigerwald to wide out Marquan Greene at the 9:02 juncture gave NEO a 31-6 advantage after Hawthorn added the PAT.
The Buffaloes added six points with 7:16 showing on the clock to create a 31-12 deficit.
Following another ABC touchdown on their next possession, the Steigerwald-to-Greene combo clicked on a touchdown pass play at 0:04 showing on the clock. Hawthorn’s extra point allowed NEO to maintain a 38-18 halftime lead.
During the third quarter the Golden Norsemen received touchdown runs by Darwin Thompson and Cortez Watson along with a TD pass from Steigerwald to Joe Combs that forged a 59-18 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
With 9:28 remaining in the game, the Buffaloes scored for a 59-24 deficit.
NEO’s final touchdown came with 3-minutes left on the clock on another run by Watson.