Playing Texas A&T in a non-conference game down the stretch run of the season is always an awkward situation for Navarro because the game has no bearing on the standings.
But Saturday's meeting at Tiger Stadium means so much more to the Bulldogs, who are coming off a 35-3 loss to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M that ended in an altercation on the field when a fight broke out between the two teams.
"We're embarrassed by the way we played last week and by the incident that took place," Navarro coach Scott Parr said. "We have distasteful feelings on various levels, and we are very appreciative to be able to get out there and play this week."
Parr said numerous players have been suspended, but that his team will use this week as an opportunity to play backups and evaluate those players. More importantly, Parr wants to restore Navarro's image.
"I want to apologize to the college and the community," Parr said. "We want to move on with some positivity not only playing better but to have the opportunity to restore our image representing our college and our community."
Getting back on the field Saturday will help the healing process.
"We're appreciative to be able to play the game and to get the opportunity to have some good plays and get our confidence back would be some good medicine," Parr said.
"We're embarrassed by the altercation and we're embarrassed by the way we played. We feel we can move on from this."
It was obviously a difficult week for the Bulldogs, but Parr said practice was helpful.
"Practice has been therapeutic for the coaches and players," Parr said. "Our kids have done a good job. I appreciate our coaches and players. Not knowing if we were going to have a game, we did a lot of good work. The focus has been to get back to fundamentals."
The Bulldogs will be shorthanded against Texas A&T.
"We've had numerous suspensions," Parr said. "We've had players suspended by us internally and players suspended by the NJCAA."
The loss to NEO dropped Navarro to a 2-3 record in the conference with two games left on the schedule -- an Oct 12 game at New Mexico Military and a regular season finale at home against Trinity Valley on Oct.26.
The Bulldogs would need to win both and get some help in what could be a crowded race for the fourth spot in the eight-team conference. The top four teams advance to the postseason.
Parr said he hasn't even looked at what it would take (who would have to lose) for his team to reach the postseason. His focus has been on his team and moving on from last week.
"There's too many games to be played to look at that now," he said. "No doubt we will need some help. I'm putting focus on the issues we have.
"There's still an opportunity for a fairytale ending," Parr said in regard to reaching the playoffs."
This week's game won't help in the standings, but it can go a long way for Navarro.
"Any win you get you will get confidence from it, and build on it," Parr said. "We will have the opportunity for some of our players who haven't played to step up and get a chance to play. We're approaching this in a positive way.
"We hope we can play better than we did last week," he said. "Hopefully, we can prove that on the field."
Navarro College released the following statement:
“Navarro College does not condone the incident that happened at the conclusion of the football game, when players were exiting the field after the game against Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, and we are very disappointed in our players that were involved. Our Athletic Director, Michael Landers, has filed the appropriate report with the Executive Director of the NJCAA and we are currently waiting on a response from them. We will continue an internal investigation and take necessary action once completed.”