The Minnesota College Athletic Conference is set to conclude regular season play in football with one contest on Thursday, October 19th and five on Saturday, October 21st. A handful of playoff tickets have already been punched, while several different scenarios tied to contests on Saturday could play out as teams seek to close out 2017 MCAC slate in strong fashion. In Week 8 of MCAC play, Western and Eastern Division squads face off in a final cross-divisional slate of games.
On Thursday, October 19th, Western Division Northland Community and Technical College (3-2 West / 5-2 Overall) will travel Itasca Community College (1-4 East /2-5 Overall). The Pioneers are riding the arm of Shannon Patrick, currently the leading quarterback in the NJCAA at over 377 yards per game passing and tops in the MCAC on the touchdown passes list at 24. Itasca's Raekwon Archer and Josh Herbert have combined for 5 interceptions on the season for the Vikings and will likely be busy in the game. NCTC plays Itasca at 3pm in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, Thursday, October 19th.
In the Western Division, one thing is certain; Dakota College-Bottineau are the Divisional winners (5-0 West/6-1 overall) and will host MCAC playoff contests for as long as they remain in the competition, with the exception of the MCAC State Championship game held at St. Cloud State University and Husky Stadium. Before DCB sets it's sights on playoff glory however, the Jacks will look to complete the regular season with a win over Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College on Saturday. Dakota College features a balanced offense led by Jackson Argoe, and have a defensive standout in Nick Madourie, who leads the NJCAA in sacks. The Thunder are currently 1-6, with a Divisional win over Itasca Community College their only victory to date. FDL running back Lorine Parker was an early rushing leader in the league and at the national level in September, and the Vikings will need him to return to form on Saturday.
One of the top contests on the Saturday docket features Mesabi Range College (4-1 East / 5-2 Overall) against North Dakota State College of Science (3-2 West /4-3 Overall) scheduled for 1:30 pm in Wahpeton, North Dakota. Both squads have been in position to take the top spot in their respective divisions at different junctures of the season, and the Norsemen/Wildcat match-up will feature NDSCS quarterback Malik Gaillard who is third in both total passing yards and passing touchdowns and MRC lineman Justin Hooks, who is in the top three nationally in sacks. Special teams play could be important in this contest, and both teams seem to have reliable placekicking with Gregory Slade Jr. (NDSCS) and Connor Cusick (MRC) among the top in the league at that category.
Western Division squad Ridgewater College travels to Rochester CTC on Saturday, where they will take on the Yellowjackets at 1:30pm in Rochester. The surging Warriors (2-3 West / 3-4 Overall) have won their last two games, while RCTC (4-1 East /5-2 Overall) is coming off of a 50-0 whitewashing of Itasca CC last week. RCTC has enjoyed stellar play by two defensive stalwarts; Brandon Perce and Jamel Smith rank among the top defensive athletes in the NCJAA in 2017. Ridgewater quarterback Carl Borleis had three TD tosses last week against Minnesota West CTC in a 39-36 Divisional win.
Central Lakes College, receiving votes in the current NJCAA Top 20 poll, will take their show on the road to M State in Fergus Falls on Saturday. The 1:30pm kickoff will feature a CLC defensive unit that has held all opponents to 20 points or less all season, and sports three games in which they held the other team to single digits. The Raiders also boast a solid ground game, with Nuke Crowell leading the way with a 164 yard effort last week. M State will likely lean on Andrew Costello to have a big day; he led the Spartans last week with 12 total stops against Western Division champion Dakota College. Central Lakes is 4-1 East/6-1 Overall, while M State is 1-4 West/1-6 Overall.
Minnesota West CTC will make the trek from Worthington to Ely, Minnesota to face the Vermilion Community College Ironmen. The noon contest will pit MnWest quarterback-receiver duo Peyton Kendrick and Reginald Colson III against D Da Veiga-Semedo of VCC, who is third in the league in tackles. Vermilion is 1-4 in the East and 2-5 overall while Minnesota West is 1-4 in the West and also have a 2-5 overall mark.
For more information on the 2017 Minnesota College Athletic Conference football season, be sure to bookmark these links:
The Minnesota College Athletic Conference website main page is: http://www.mcacsports.org/landing/index
This release sponsored in part by Gopher Sport.
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About the Minnesota College Athletic Conference
The Minnesota College Athletic Conference is the organizational body for NJCAA-affiliated two-year technical and community college athletic programs in the Minnesota State system. The mission of the Minnesota College Athletic Conference is to advance intercollegiate athletics by providing an engaging and supportive environment for success of our student athletes and competition among member institutions. The MCAC is committed to the guiding principles of encouraging the development and success of student athletes, promoting the integrity, honesty and loyalty to member schools as well as upholding the sustainability of conference athletic programs.