Wouldn't you know it, the team with the No. 1 quarterback in the nation and one of the most explosive offenses anywhere won the Southwest Junior College Football Conference title with its defense.

Welcome to the wild and crazy world of Navarro football, where Scott Parr's Bulldogs never seem to do what anyone expects them to do.

No one gave them a chance to win the conference back in August, and when they lost their first three games and their quarterback they became the forgotten team in the SWJCFC.

No one will forget their comeback.

There they were Saturday, dancing on the turf at Tiger Stadium, celebrating winning the championship with the title, the trophy and a bag full of what-do-you-think-of-me nows in their pocket.

They had just beaten New Mexico Military Institute 36-35 to complete one of those impossible rides that end up in a Disney movie or a country song, writing their own magical story -- a saga that could have ended so many times, but didn't.

But there was no magic or mystique for these Bulldogs, just hard work and grit and grind and a no-quit belief in each other that carried them all the way back from oblivion to the title, Navarro's first since 2012.

That's why this 36-35 victory felt oh-so good and tasted ooooooh so sweet. They believed they could win when no one else did -- and there's nothing better than that.

They led the league in drama, and as Parr said this week, "and in blood pressure" and sure enough the final moments of Saturday's title game were as tense and gut-wrenching as any this season.

After combining to score 64 points in a fast and furious first half the two teams jumped in the trenches and lived there the remainder of the day as the two teams tried not only the beat the other guys, but to beat them up (there were even some punches thrown by a NMMI player).

Isaiah Robinson's one-yard run with 9:06 left in the third was the only time anyone saw the end zone after halftime, and when Will McDaniel followed the play with a routine PAT it was just enough to erase a 35-29 halftime deficit and lift Navarro to a 36-35 lead.

No one watching this game thought the scoring was over.

After all, the Broncos scored 14 points in the final 23 seconds of the first half after NMMI snatched two fumbles (both inside the Navarro 20) and turned them into two touchdowns, including a 10-second, 14-yard, two-play drive that ended with a 14-yard TD pass with five seconds left.

Those were the final points of the day for the Broncos, who recovered five Bulldog fumbles in the first half and converted four of them into touchdowns.

Navarro quarterback Parker McNeil and the Dawgs would have led all day if not for the turnovers. McNeil threw two TD passes and put up 265 yards in the air in the first half.

He didn't waste any time, connecting with Alex Washington on a 57-yarder for a touchdown on the second play of the day and then he hit Shadeed Ahmed for a two-point conversion that turned out to be about as big as any two-point play of the year to give the Dawgs an 8-0 lead.

 Robinson's two-yard TD run gave the Dawgs 15-7 lead, and after NMMI went up 21-15 Robinson scored again on a seven-yard run with 2:19 left in the half. The Dawgs got the ball back when a fake punt ended with an incompletion for NMMI, and McNeil drilled a strike to Ahmed, who went 45 yards for a 29-21 lead with 1:25 left in the half.

McNeil, who led the NJCAA in passing the past two years despite having to come back from a rib injury in the second game of this season, had yet another remarkable day, completing 28-of-39 passes for 407 yards (his fifth 400-yard game of the year) and two touchdowns for a Bulldog offense that piled up more than 600 yards.

And get this: The team that lived in the air had a big day running the ball. Robinson ran for 81 yards and scored three touchdowns and Kiante Stoker had a huge day, rushing for 142 yards on 17 carries.

But in the end, it was Navarro's Dirty Dawg defense that put the game away. Not only did the Dawgs slam the door and shut out NMMI the entire second half, but they came through in dramatic form in the final minutes, dominating the end of NMMI's season and topping off Navarro's comeback party with one highlight play after another.

To fully appreciate what the Dawg D accomplished you must understand Parr, who is a coach who almost always goes for it, a gambling man whose very nature tells him to roll the dice.  

This time he didn't.

The Bulldogs faced a fourth-and-one (well, fourth-and-less than a foot) at their own 41 with 1:35 left in the game. After two time outs and after the offense came and left the field Parr sent his punter out to put the game in the defense's hands.

Logan Burke delivered with a punt that was downed inside the NMMI 10, and after Bronco QB Ephraim Tuliiloa scrambled for his life on first down for a gain to the 21, the Dawgs closed the door for good.

The Bulldogs got huge plays from linebackers Abraham Beauplan and Mason Kinsey, whose ferocious pass rush on second down forced a hurried incompletion, and from defensive back Dominique Bradshaw, who made a brilliant play to bat away a pass on third down.

Then finally, on fourth-and-10, Kadren Johnson led the pass rush of the year and looked like a man on a mission as he closed in on Tuliiloa, who threw in desperation and watched his final pass hit the turf seconds before the Bulldogs hit the clouds.

It was over.

Somehow Navarro, which had a losing record (4-5) when the playoffs started last week against No. 8 Trinity Valley, won it all.

McNeil beat TVCC last week with a TD pass with 20 seconds left to Quintin Lee to end the Cardinals' season 26-24, and when the Broncos upset No. 4 Kilgore to add to their own rags to riches story, the Bulldogs won the right to host the title game at Tiger Stadium.

That's where they were Saturday, dancing on the turf, celebrating winning the championship with the title, the trophy and a bag full of what-do-you-think-of-me nows in their pocket. 

Dawg-gone-it, they really did it.

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