gmc juco football preview vs nassau

GMC freshman running back Tye Edwards, an Elkton, Fla. native, runs through a Navarro arm tackle during last Thursday’s season opener. Edwards finished with two rushing touchdowns — one a 64-yarder — in the team’s 33-30 victory.

Week 2 is taking Georgia Military College football on the first of five long road trips this season. 

The 1-0 Bulldogs packed up Thursday to hit the road for this weekend’s test at Nassau Community College located in Garden City, New York. Coach Bert Williams and his crew will split the 16-hour total trip over two days as they were scheduled to spend Thursday night in northern Virginia before completing the journey Friday. Kickoff between the ‘Dogs and the Lions is set for 1 p.m. Saturday.

GMC is coming off a clutch season-opening victory over Navarro College (NC), a team it had not beaten since 2015. The Davenport Field scoreboard read 33-30 at the end, making it four times in five years the final margin was within six points. 

“The team played really hard and kept focused on doing what we needed to get the win,” Williams said. “We made the plays in the second half when we needed to. We didn’t do a good job of taking advantage of opportunities offensively since we kicked some field goals when we would’ve liked to get touchdowns, but we did get something for the effort.”

Freshman running back Tye Edwards provided the spark the offense needed in the third quarter with a 64-yard touchdown run down the right side of the field. Sophomore T.J. Jones provided the first answer for Navarro’s eventual answer and Edwards struck again with just a minute to play to put GMC up for good. 

The Bulldog defense under coordinator Rob Manchester produced one interception and stopped the potent Navarro offense just enough to come away with the victory. NC quarterback Parker McNeil, an NJCAA First Team All-American a year ago, threw for over 400 yards in the losing effort.

“We played probably the best quarterback in JUCO with a good receiving corps,” said Williams. “He had his numbers but did what we needed to hold them to less than we were able to score. They only had 34 yards rushing, which made them one-dimensional. That made things a little better for us.”

Williams’ Bulldogs are likely in for another challenge this week in the Nassau Lions as they stood just outside last week’s NJCAA preseason poll. This week’s rankings had not been released as of presstime Thursday. GMC and Nassau have not played one another since their 2015 meeting, one GMC took 45-21. 

“It’s good to get them back on the schedule,” the GMC head coach said. “We’ve had some difficult games with them over the years, so it’s kind of renewing an old rivalry.”

Saturday’s meeting marks Nassau’s 2019 season opener since the team has only taken the field for a scrimmage held last weekend. The Lions finished 2018 at 8-3 overall ranked 20th among JUCO programs. They capped off last season with a 46-6 win over Northland Community and Technical College in the Red Grange Bowl. 

With no 2019 film on the Lions, Williams is basing his scouting report on last year’s tape since the opponent’s coaching staff remains intact. 

“Last year they tended to spread it out a little bit,” Williams said of the Nassau offense. “They really didn’t have a lot of two-back running game. It was mostly one back with three- and four-wide packages. Based on what they did with personnel, it does not appear that they will do anything much different, but we’ll obviously see on Saturday.”

A win would give the ‘Dogs a 2-0 record and likely a healthy bump in the rankings having played two quality opponents. The Lions are looking to break into the NJCAA Top 20 and build some momentum for the season.

Saturday’s game between GMC and Nassau will be streamed live online by Jock Jive Sports at Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. in New York.  

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