After eight weeks of regular season play, the football teams in the Minnesota College Athletic Conference have pared down it's remaining contestants to the final eight programs vying for a shot at the MCAC Football Championship.
The quarterfinal round of the MCAC Football playoffs will begin on Sunday, October 29th, with the top two finishing teams hosting the third and fourth place squads from within the same Division. In the West, Dakota College-Bottineau, who went unbeaten in their Division at 5-0, will host Ridgewater College on Sunday 10/29. The Jacks swept through their Western counterparts en route to an unblemished Division record and only dropped one game the entire regular season, to finish 7-1 overall, 5-0 in the Western Division. Ridgewater fell to the Jacks by a 34-17 scoreline back on September 23rd, a game in which they gave up 21 points in the first half, a deficit they were unable to overcome despite a two-touchdown rally in the final stanza. DCB seems to be firing on all cylinders heading into the post-season, having won their last six contests and posting 30 points or more in all but two games this year. Ridgewater overcame a mid-season slump to win two of their last three games, including a 39-36 shootout over high-scoring Minnesota West in their final Divisional game on October 14th to claim the fourth and final playoff seed. The Warriors were beaten 35-12 by Rochester CTC in Week 8 to finish out the regular season.
Speaking of Northland - NDSCS, the other half of the Western bracket will feature two teams which saw each other just a couple weeks ago; a 42-30 Pioneer triumph over the Wildcats in Thief River Falls. North Dakota State College of Science will travel north again on Sunday, 10/29, where they will see Northland's prolific offense for the second time in three weeks. Northland is averaging 450.9 yards a game on offense, over 360 of which comes in the air. NDSCS will look to improve on their third-down conversion rate against Northland in their second match-up, as they were able to convert only four of 11 offensive third downs in the first encounter between the teams. The Wildcats will need to keep the nation's leading passing quarterback, Shannon Patrick, off the field as much as possible to stymie the Pioneers. NDSCS quarterback Malik Gaillard is third in passing touchdowns in the MCAC with 17 scoring throws, behind only Patrick and Minnesota West signal caller Peyton Kendrick. Not surprisingly, both squads have receivers in the top five in receiving touchdowns, with Malik Willams second at 11 and Kyle Fowlkes with 7, good for fourth in the MCAC.
On the Eastern side of the Conference ledger, Central Lakes College overcame an early season stumble to rival Mesabi Range College to finish at the top of the Eastern pack. While CLC, Rochester CTC and Mesabi Range all boast identical 4-1 Divisional records, the Raiders have a perfect 3-0 mark in non-Divisional play to thank for the #1 seed in the playoffs. Mesabi Range was the only MCAC squad to beat CLC this year, but Rochester claims the second seed for the Eastern playoffs on account of their 6-2 overall record, compared to MRC's 5-3 regular season finish. The Norsemen had arguably one of the toughest Week 8 match-ups, traveling to Wahpeton where they fell to NDSCS 28-7 to close out the regular season this past Saturday while RCTC won their Week 8 game by a 35-12 scoreline over Ridgewater. The Yellowjackets and Mesabi Range put on one of the best defensive battles in MCAC football in 2017, a Week Six tilt won by Rochester 13-12 in Virgina, Minnesota. This rematch will take place in Rochester, however, as the second-seeded RCTC squad will host the third seeded Mesabi Range team. Kickoff will be on Sunday, October 29th in the Med City.
Central Lakes College will host Vermilion Community College in the fourth quarterfinal game, as the Ironmen beat Minnesota West at home in their last regular season match-up to earn a play-off berth. Vermilion will hope to keep up the offensive form that allowed them to post 37 points on the Bluejays - however, Central Lakes has held all but one of their opponents to 20 points or less in seven of their eight regular season games. The Raiders beat Vermilion 10-8 in a low-scoring Week 3 game to open up Divisional play for both teams back on September 16; a lot of football has been played since that contest a month and a half ago, and VCC will look to ride the momentum into their post-season opportunity. The Raiders, who are currently receiving votes in the national NJCAA Top 20 poll, have won their last three contests and bring a balanced and experienced squad into the playoff atmosphere. The Central Lakes vs. Vermilion Community College quarterfinal game will be in Brainerd on Sunday, October 29th.
MCAC Football Quarterfinal match-ups & contest sites for Sunday, October 29th:
|Central Lakes College||vs. Vermilion CC||Brainerd, Mn|
|Rochester CTC||vs. Mesabi Range||Rochester, Mn|
|Dakota College-Bottineau||vs. Ridgewater College||Bottineau, ND|
|NDSCS||vs. Northland CTC||Thief River Falls, Mn|
Kickoff times for MCAC contests to be announced, Monday, October 23rd.
For more information on the 2017 Minnesota College Athletic Conference football season, please go to 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.
Gopher Sport, based in Owatonna, is an industry leader in Physical Education, sports and fitness equipment. Gopher Sport is dedicated to providing programs and departments with the products to improve fitness, develop skills, create fun and reach a high standard of learning and living. Gopher Sport has diligently served teachers, coaches and athletic directors around the world for over 65 years.
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.