Navarro's Bulldogs, who had to come back all year, took another step Sunday when they emerged from a five-way tie in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference and advanced to the conference playoffs.
The Bulldogs will play No. 2-seed Trinity Valley at 3 p.m. Saturday at Bruce Field in Athens in the semifinals. No. 4 seed New Mexico Military and first-place Kilgore play in the other semifinal at Kilgore.
The Bulldogs, who lost a heartbreaking 45-44 game to TVCC on the final day of the season Saturday at Tiger Stadium, finished at 3-4 in SWJCFB Conference and in a five-way tie with New Mexico Military, Tyler, Cisco and NEO, and won the tiebreaker, which was based on the conference record among the five teams.
Navarro defeated New Mexico Military, Cisco and Tyler and lost only to NEO to finish with a 3-1 record among the group. New Mexico Military also went 3-1 to advance to the playoffs, and Navarro won the No. 3 seed by virtue of its victory over New Mexico Military.
Semifinal winners advance to the league championship game that will be played November 9 at the home of the highest-seeded team remaining.
Playoff pairings were announced Sunday as coaches gathered for their annual end-of-season conference meeting.
League administrators, athletic directors and coaches spent Saturday night discussing tiebreaker rules in Article IX of the conference’s constitution and by-laws. The implementation of the multiple tiebreaker became necessary after a wild regular-season finish left five teams — Navarro, NMMI, NEO, Tyler Cisco — tied for third place in the SWJCFC.
Ironically, Blinn, which was picked in both the coaches and media's preseason polls to win the conference, lost in the final seconds Saturday to finish at 2-5 and in last place in the conference.
Navarro came back from an 0-2 start in the conference and an 0-3 overall start this season, to make it to the postseason.