Decades ago Northwest Mississippii had developed one of the top junior college football programs in the nation. In 1992 the Rangers captured the NJCAA national title.
Northwest is one win away claiming the National Championship with the Rochester Yellow Jackets standing in the Rangers way of completing that goal.
Northwest and Rochester clash in the 2015 NJCAA National Championship Game Sunday at Biloxi Stadium in the annual Mississippi Bowl. This is the third consecutive season that the Mississippi Bowl will decide the national champion.
East Mississipp won back-to-back NJCAA titles in 2013 and 2014.
Rangers head coach Jack Wright has his team back among the nation's elite, despite having football facilities that are years behind other programs in Mississippi. A new field house and other improvements are in the works.
Coach Wright said, "There's been a lot of success here. I knew eventually over time we could get those types of players to compete at that level. To be honest with you, getting it back this quickly has been a surprise."
Northwest posted 10 wins and 1 loss on the season and captured the Mississippi State championship with a win over Gulf Coast.
The Rochester Rangers enter the title game on Sunday undefeated having reeled-off 11 consecutive wins.
Head coach Bill Quistorff says his team, despite not giving out scholarships, will be ready for Northwest Mississippi. He admits the Rangers are one of the best junior college teams he has ever seen.
"Without a doubt, one of the best football teams at the two-year level that I have ever seen in my young career, "stated Quistorff. "Very well rounded, polished. Obviously very well coached. So, we know that it's a big challenge that we have ahead of us. Definitely have a lot of respect for our guys for not batting an eye at that challenge."
The Yellow Jackets most likely don't match-up to the speed and size of Northwest, but that doesn't mean Rochester is afraid and won't come out to play.
Quistorff said, "We've got some great support from our skilled positions and receiving corps. Overall some great guys that get after it and work really hard and respond to any adversity that they face and overcome it."
Tickets are still available for the Mississippi Bowl.
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