Navarro’s Bulldogs, who have the best pro-style quarterback offense in the NJCAA, are going to have to scramble now.
That’s where they are after losing to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M 35-3 Saturday night at Tiger Stadium, where the school honored its first class into the Bulldog Hall of Fame.
The loss drops the Bulldogs to 2-3 in the SWJCFB conference with just two conference games left.
They are still in fourth place ahead of Cisco (1-2), New Mexico Military (1-2), NEO (1-2) and Tyler (1-2), but they need to win their final two games and get some help to nail down the fourth playoff spot to reach the postseason.
They have a non-conference game Saturday at home against Texas A&T and then play New Mexico Military on the road in two weeks in a must-win game.
The Bulldogs then get a bye week before ending the regular season at home on Oct. 26 against Trinity Valley, which leads the conference with 4-1 record.
It was a long night for the Dawgs, who simply couldn’t get anything going against an NEO defense that has held Navarro out of the end zone for the past two years.
NEO beat the Bulldogs 10-9 last year in Oklahoma with an unrelenting defense that showed up again in Corsicana Saturday.
Parker McNeil, the leading quarterback in the NJCAA, had thrown for more than 900 yards and 11 touchdowns in Navarro’s previous two games, but NEO took everything away from him.
Parker never had much time to throw and was sacked five times. He completed 17-of-42 passes for 214 yards — his lowest total since he threw for 161 yards last year in the 10-9 loss to NEO.
His best play of the night was a 73-yarder to Cam Thomas in the third quarter, but NEO picked off a pass in the end zone on the next play to kill the drive.
The Bulldogs punted 11 times and were held to three and-out drives 10 times in the loss.
NEO scored 28 points in the first half, and never trailed.
NEO quarterback Tanner Griffin connected with Adrian Wilson for a 33-yard TD on NEO’s first drive of the night — a five-play, 75-yard march — to give the Norsemen a 7-0 lead.
Navarro scored its only points on a 22-yard field goal by Will McDaniel to close to 7-3 with 7:45 left in the first quarter. But that was it for the Dawgs.
Griffin hit Shelby Washington with a 9-yard TD pass with 2:06 left in the first quarter, and the Norsemen added two touchdowns in the second quarter on runs as Daniul Oscar scored on a 38-yard run and Chris Friday ran for a 3-yard TD.
A 28-3 victory would have made the point loud and clear. but NEO chose not to take a knee at the end of the game and scored on a 3-yard run with 35 seconds left to make the final 35-3.