Chilly, late fall temperatures and scattered snow showers could not dampen the spirit brought forth in playoff football around the Minnesota College Athletic Conference on Sunday, Oct. 29th. With games conducted in Brainerd, Rochester, Thief River Falls and Bottineau, North Dakota, the MCAC featured junior college gridiron football in several locales around the Upper Midwest and four teams booked their ticket to the semi-final round next weekend.
Eastern Division champion Central Lakes College (8-1 Overall/ 4-1 East) dispatched fourth-seeded Vermilion Community College (3-6 Overall / 1-4 East) by a 24-8 scoreline. Vermilion won a NJCAA non-scholarship national title in 2006, but in 2017 they were unable to derail the CLC Raider train that has won 19 of their last 21 games. VCC concludes their season with their second consecutive playoff appearance in the quarterfinal round, while Central Lakes will host Northland CTC on Saturday, November 4th at 1:30pm in Brainerd.
Northland (7-2 Overall / 3-2 West) outlasted North Dakota State College of Science (5-4 Overall / 3-2 West), winning at home in Thief River Falls on Sunday, holding the Wildcats to a single touchdown and field goal in a 17-10 Pioneer victory. The two teams had met during the regular season - a 42-30 NCTC win - and the encore performance proved to be a much more defensive affair. The Pioneers took the lead in the first quarter and never looked back en route to marching to the MCAC semi-final round. Northland will travel to Brainerd, Minnesota to take on Central Lakes College at 1:30pm on Saturday, November 4th. NDSCS concludes it's season at 5-4 overall.
Mesabi Range College (6-3 Overall / 4-1 East) earned the distinction of being the only MCAC team to defeat CLC during the 2017 regular season with a 14-7 victory in Week 5; however their celebration was cut short with 13-12 loss to Rochester CTC at home the following weekend. In the MCAC quarterfinals, MRC was able to avenge that home loss, and more importantly, book a trip to the semi-final round with a 30-19 victory over RCTC (6-3 Overall/4-1 East) at UCR Stadium in Rochester on Sunday. The Norsemen shook off the cold, steady rain in the second half to pull away from the host Yellowjackets with a trio of field goals and a key 4th down stop with three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Mesabi Range earned the right to travel to Bottineau, North Dakota to face the Dakota College Jacks at Noon on Saturday, November 4th.
The Dakota College-Bottineau football team has been on a roll since a Week Two loss to Rochester; not only have the Jacks gone 7-0 over the past several weeks, they have shown the ability to win both offensive shootouts (48-39 over NCTC) and defensive battles (21-19 over NDSCS). Sunday's quarterfinal 20-9 win over Ridgewater College fell in the later category, with DCB holding the Warriors to nine points on the day. Ridgewater concludes their second-straight MCAC playoff season with a 3-6 overall record while Dakota improves to 8-1 in 2017. With the win, Dakota College will host Mesabi Range in the semi-final round. The Saturday, November 4th contest will kickoff at noon in Bottineau, North Dakota.
Action photo courtesy of Rochester Post-Bulletin and Andrew Link
Minnesota College Athletic Conference Football Semi-Final Pairings:
Saturday, Nov. 4, Noon
Bottineau, North Dakota
Saturday, Nov. 4, 1:30pm
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.
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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.