NAIA/NJCAA Recap: No. 17 Navarro edges past New Mexico Military Institute; Texas Wesleyan over Wayland Baptist

Navarro (Photo by John Murphy)

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Wayland Baptist Pioneers (4-5, 3-4)

Last Week: WBU fell behind by 17 points in the first half and was unable to make a comeback as they lost 24-6 on the road to Texas Wesleyan last Saturday. Nick Quintero and Mitchell Parsley combined to complete 20-of-44 passes for 255 yards with three interceptions. Brayln Kirby led the receivers with nine catches for 89 yards while Kaleb Thornton led the Pioneers defense with nine tackles, seven solo.

The Verdict: This is a tough loss for the Pioneers as they had been rolling having won three of their last four games. The loss to a young TXWES team will sting WBU this week as they prepare to face an outstanding team at home this week.

This Week: WBU will host No. 21 Langston at 2 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.


Texas Wesleyan Rams (3-7, 3-5)

Last Week: Texas Wesleyan took control with 14 points in the second quarter as they defeated Wayland Baptist 24-6 last Saturday. Jermarcus Jones led an impressive rushing attack with 123 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries while Trey Jackson added 104 yards on nine carries. Dalton Dale completed 7-of-14 passes for 101 yards and an interception while adding 92 yards rushing on 20 carries. Darnerick Scott led the Rams defense with seven tackles, five solo, three tackles for loss and one sack.

The Verdict: The Rams showed incredible improvement again this season as they continue to make strides since bringing the football program back three years ago. TXWES will have higher expectations next year as its young team continues to grow and gain confidence.

This Week: TXWES has finished the regular season.


Texas College Steers (1-8, 1-7)

Last Week: Texas College fell behind early and never recovered as they lost 44-7 on the road to No. 22 Langston last Saturday. Derrick Cooper completed 13-of-38 passes for 134 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions while Markeithus Baker had a good game with 79 yards receiving on six catches. Devante’ Gabriel once again led the Steers defense with nine tackles, eight solo, and one tackle for loss.

The Verdict: The Steers had another tough game last week and the schedule is not favorable for Texas College this week. The Steers take a long road trip and will try to beat one of the top teams in the Sooner Athletic Conference.

This Week: Texas College travels to play Arizona Christian on Saturday night at 9 p.m.


Southwestern Assemblies of God Lions (0-9, 0-7)

Last Week: SAGU struggled mightily once again on offense as they lost 35-0 on the road to Oklahoma Panhandle State. Brylen Watson completed 7-of-21 passes for 46 yards with an interception while adding 40 yards rushing on 11 carries. Derrick Shelby led the rushing attack with 43 yards on seven carries. Landon Jones had another great game for the Lions defense with 10 tackles, five solo.

The Verdict: This has been a very tough season for the Lions, and they will need to shock the country to get a win this week. SAGU will spend the offseason trying to rebuild and has been recruiting some talented high school players this year.

This Week: SAGU will host No. 16 Ottawa (Ariz.) at 11 a.m. on Saturday.



No. 17 Navarro Bulldogs (6-5, 4-4)

Last Week: Navarro began the SWJCFC championship game with a 57-yard touchdown pass from Parker McNeil to Alex Washington. The Bulldogs completed a two-point conversion pass to take an early lead. That two-point conversion proved huge as Navarro defeated New Mexico Military Institute 36-35 to win the SWJCFC title last Saturday. McNeil completed 28-of-39 passes for 407 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Kiante Stoker was brilliant on the ground as he gained 142 rushing yards on 17 carries while Isaiah Robinson added three rushing touchdowns. Abraham Beauplan had a tremendous game with 22 tackles, eight solo, one-half tackle for loss, two quarterback hurries and recovered a fumble.

The Verdict: The Bulldogs won their first conference title since 2012 with another thrilling win. Navarro also earned a spot in a bowl game this season and had an incredible turnaround after losing its first three games. The Bulldogs have won six of their last eight games as they prepare for the bowl game.

This Week: Navarro will play in the Heart of Texas Bowl against an opponent to be determined on Dec. 7.


No. 7 Kilgore Rangers (8-2, 7-2)

Last Week: Kilgore did not play last week.

The Verdict: The Rangers loss to New Mexico Military in the semifinals was a tough loss. The loss ended any hope of playing for a national title and also keeps Kilgore from earning its second consecutive conference title. The Rangers will no doubt earn a bowl bid and will have one more chance to leave an impression.

This Week: Kilgore awaits a possible bowl bid.


No. 13 Trinity Valley Community College Cardinals (7-3, 5-3)

Last Week: TVCC did not play last week.

The Verdict: The Cardinals had relied on their outstanding defense all season and it was the defense that was unable to slow down Navarro in the fourth quarter of the semifinal loss. While the loss is disappointing for TVCC, they have earned a spot in a bowl game and will wait to find out where they will play.

This Week: TVCC awaits a possible bowl bid.


Cisco Wranglers (5-4, 3-4)

Last Week: Cisco did not play last week.

The Verdict: The Wranglers were in a great position to earn a playoff spot but lost their last two games to finish the regular season and missed the playoffs. Cisco is the only team in the country to defeat No. 5 Kilgore but was unable to finish when they needed it the most.

This Week: Cisco College has concluded its season.


Tyler Apaches (4-5, 3-4)

Last Week: TJC did not play last week.

The Verdict: The Apaches put up a valiant effort to end the season as they faced three straight weeks of must-win games but were unable to hold on against a tough Rangers team. TJC played without its starting quarterback and still held a lead entering the fourth quarter. This was a good end to the season for first-year head coach Thomas Rocco to build the Apaches.

This Week: Tyler has concluded its season.


Blinn Buccaneers (4-5, 2-5)

Last Week: Blinn did not play last week.

The Verdict: The Buccaneers season took a turn at midseason as they finished with four straight losses which followed three consecutive wins. The season is disappointing for a Blinn team that was trying to build off of a bowl game win last year.

This Week: Blinn College has concluded its season.

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