GC Sports Corsicana December 2018 - Page 30

Navarro BULLDOGS SWJCFC Head Coach Jim Gush 2018 record: 6-5 Last Playoff Appearance: 2018 30 Losses to Blinn and Tyler on the road and another big game from McNeil in a 42-31 win over Cisco set up a huge game against NEO in Oklahoma, but the Dawgs just couldn’t get a big play into the end zone, and lost a 10-9 heartbreak- er that left them shaking their heads and all but out of the playoffs. They had to win their final two games to have a chance to make the postseason. Of course, they came back again. McNeil had another big game, throw- ing for 292 yards and the Dawgs for 552 yards beat New Mexico Military 56-49 in overtime when Trejon Brown made his third interception of the game to end it and keep Navarro’s playoff hopes alive in a thriller that saw McNeil hit tailback Keaton Dudik with a 25-yard touch- down pass on the first play in overtime. They didn’t lose a home game all year. The Dawgs still had to beat Trinity Valley in Athens in the season finale and McNeil saved his best for the last game of the regular season, throwing for 552 yards to set a Navarro record, breaking the old mark of 546. He also threw for six touchdowns. Kaylon Geiger caught nine passes for 212 yards and Jared Wyatt caught five for 141 and the Dawgs came back one more time. TVCC scored 31 points in the first 21 minutes of the game and the Bulldogs were down 31-16 before storming back with a defense that didn’t allow a point in the second half and an offense that exploded for 31 un- answered points to win 47-31 and reach the playoffs. New coach Jim Gush brought his team back all year and the Dawgs reached their first bowl game since 2013, but lost to Hutchinson, which beat a Navarro team that was short-handed on a miserable winter day in Kansas, where the temperatures dipped into the 20s and the wind was whipping at 26 mph, mak- ing it difficult to throw the ball. Navarro’s cold ending still didn’t take away from a remarkable season full of comebacks and character from the best Bulldog team in years. D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 8 | C O R S I C A N A DA I LY S U N |   G C F O OT B A L L 2 0 1 8 2018 SCHEDULE Georgia Military College *   W 31-29 Kilgore *     W 37-32 at Blinn (Brenham)  L 38-17 at Tyler *    L 59-41 Cisco    W 42-31 at NEO                                           L 10-9  Texas A&T  W 70-8 Homecoming NMMI   W 56-49 (OT) at Trinity Valley *  W 47-31 SWJCFC Semifinal Kilgore L 45-14 Salt City Bowl Hutchinson  L 35-6 LLD If you like drama, you had to love the 2018 Navarro Bulldogs. And if you love comebacks, you were right at home with the no-quit Dawgs, who spent the season coming back and back and back with some memorable -- and even inspiring -- late game hero- ics that defined their season more than anything. You knew it was going to be a wild ride from their opening night game against Georgia Military when it not only took a comeback, but a last-second field goal by Jace Ingram to pull out a 31-29 win at Tiger Stadium. Can you say “It’s good!” The field goal sure was and so was the feeling about this team right from the start. It was even more exciting the next week at Tiger Stadium, where the Bulldogs pulled one out of thin air with one of their biggest comebacks of the season. It was a hot and humid night and the Dawgs were down 23-0 when they began the long road back. Navarro fans had a glimpse of things to come when quarterback Parker McNeil put on a show, throwing for 352 yards, complet- ing 30 of a whopping 47 passes and five touchdowns to bring Navarro back. His final two touchdown passes in the fourth lifted the Dawgs -- who knotted the score at 23-23 and then fell behind 26-23 in the fourth quarter -- to a 37-32 victory that ended with Travell Lumpkin dragging Kilgore defenders along with him for a first down to end the game. Lumpkin had 175 yards of offense, including 140 on the ground. It was the first of many spectacular games from McNeil, who ended up leading the nation in yards per game and touchdowns. The Kilgore comeback set the tone for Navarro’s wide-open, thrill-a-minute offense that never seemed to be out of a game. But their best comeback was the one they had that saved their season when it looked as if there was no way for Navarro to reach the playoffs.