Northland Pioneers and Nassau Lions Set to Meet at Third Annual Red Grange Bowl
By Jennifer Duda
The Nassau Community College Lions will take on the Minnesota College Athletic Conference
champions, the Northland Community and Technical College Pioneers, in the National
Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) third annual Red Grange Bowl on Saturday,
Dec. 1. at College of DuPage.
The game kicks-off at 1 p.m. at Bjarne Ullsvik Stadium, located on COD’s Glen Ellyn campus, 425 Fawell Blvd. Gates open at noon.
Statistically one of the best teams in the country, the 9-2 Pioneers’ arsenal includes top-ranked quarterback Craig Wells, who has an impressive 31 touchdowns this season. Other standouts include wide receiver Devonaire Clarington, ranked third nationally with 94.9 receiving yards per game; wide receiver Kalel Grant, ranked 11th nationally with nine touchdowns; and linebacker Tristan Murrin, ranked number one nationally with an average 13 tackles per game.
The 7-3 Nassau Lions ended their regular season with an impressive 28-7 victory over Erie Community College. In all, the team rushed for 1,733 yards this season, with 1,699 passing. Top players include wide receiver Jalen Hood, ranked ninth nationally with nine touchdowns, and ranked 24th nationally with 67.7 receiving yards per game; running back Jeremiah Nelson, ranked 10th nationally in scoring and 16th nationally with eight rushing touchdowns; and wide receiver Rashad Tucker, ranked 28th nationally with an average 74.9 running yards per game.
College of DuPage Director of Athletics and Recreation Greg McVey said COD is proud to once again offer non-scholarship schools an opportunity to showcase their skills on the field while paying tribute to a pioneer of the National Football League.
“This is really special for us in that we get a chance to celebrate the achievements of these student-athletes,” he said. “Both of these teams have had a great year, and it’s good to give them the exposure they deserve while celebrating the uniqueness of what some consider a national championship for non-scholarship schools.”
As the only non-scholarship NJCAA bowl game, the Red Grange Bowl provides a truly level playing field for junior college athletics, said College of DuPage Head Football Coach Matt Foster.
Foster, who helped establish the Red Grange Bowl in 2016, said he anticipates a great matchup when the Pioneers and Lions meet on the field.
“I’m excited for this every year,” he said. “The non-scholarship kids are the kids who have to work hard. They go to school, hold down a job and play. That kind of dedication is what Red Grange was all about and I love that we’re able to showcase that.”
Grange spent most of his childhood in Wheaton and attended Wheaton High School, where he played football, baseball, basketball and ran track. He earned 16 varsity letters during his tenure and, as a high school junior, scored 36 touchdowns and led the school to an undefeated season. The two-time NFL champion football halfback played for the University of Illinois, the Chicago Bears and, for a short-time, the New York Yankees.
The Dec. 1 game will feature the 2018 recipient of the Red Grange Award, given since the 1970s to a local athlete exemplary on the field and in the classroom. Additionally, all proceeds from the game will benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana, where College of DuPage football players regularly give their time each season to assist staff and clients.
Tickets to the game are $10. Tickets for the banquet, set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29, at the Hilton Hotel Lisle, are $25.
Click here for all Red Grange Bowl details or to purchase game tickets online. Tickets also will be available for sale (cash only) at the point of entry at each event.
The Red Grange Bowl is made possible in part with support from the Illinois National Guard, Evviva Restaurant, Hilton Hotel Lisle, Packey Webb Ford, Ellyn’s Tap & Grill, Glen Ellyn Walmart Supercenter, Riddell, Sportsdecals, Field Turf and BSN Sports.
College of DuPage is a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association, National Junior College Athletic Association Region IV and North Central Community College Conference (N4C). The College’s Athletics program offers nine men’s and eight women’s sports teams each year, including outdoor track and field, indoor track and field, cross country, football, volleyball, golf, basketball, tennis, baseball, softball and soccer. All home games are played on the Glen Ellyn campus, 425 Fawell Blvd., and are free and open to the public.
College of DuPage
425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn IL, 60137
(630) 942-2800 (Main)
(630) 942-3000 (Student Services)
2019 College of DuPage