The Blinn Buccaneers
hadn't lost since their last minute heartbreaker to Hinds in
the 1994 Mineral Water Bowl. They were the defending national
champions, ranked number 1 and trying to do what no team had
ever accomplished, win back to back NJCAA Championships. The
Coffeyville Red Ravens were the Jayhawk Conference champions
at 9 and 1, the NJCAA's top rushing team and ranked third in
off to a fast start when JoJo Polk recovered a fumbled punt snap
and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown. Blinn was sluggish
early but an 80 yard scoring run late in the first quarter by
Vaughn Inniss seemed to spark them. They scored ten unanswered
points in the second with a Garrett Courtney field goal and a
1 yard run by fullback Mike Green. Then held the powerful Coffeyville
rushing game in check until Derrick Foster broke loose for 77
yards and a touchdown in the last minute of the half to make
But the third
quarter was the ball game. Michael Bishop hit Michael Courville
with a 10 yard TD pass early in the quarter, then Green and Inniss
added scores to give Blinn a 36-14 lead. The Buc defense led
by Hanson Caston, John Davis and Ray Lacey took over the line
of scrimmage. The Red Ravens had no passing game and runners
Mike Jenkins and Gerald Neasman had no room to run.
By the time Green
scored his third touchdown with 8 minutes left the suspense was
gone. But the final gun brought a huge release from the tension
the Blinn team had been feeling. Defensive end Lacey said, "The
pressure to repeat was incredible, this is a relief. We don't
have to worry about it anymore. We're a part of history, a great
team with a great coach."
"I had tears
in my eyes when it was all over," said center Frank Firestone.
"What a feeling, it's awesome."