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Lackawanna, Monroe ready for bowls

Nov. 26, 2018 - With both teams featuring one of the conference's players of the year, No. 6 Lackawanna (10-0) and No. 12 Monroe (7-1) play this weekend in NJCAA bowl games.>/p>

Bowl notes: This season marks the first time since 2012 that more than one Northeast Football Conference team will play in the postseason. The conference had three teams play in bowl games in 2012. It also had two teams appear in 2008 and 2011 bowl games.

The Falcons, who play in their ninth bowl game, plays No. 19 Arizona Western in the El Toro Bowl Dec. 1 at 3 p.m. EST at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Yuma, Arizona. Lackawanna has played in bowl games in 1997, 2000, 2001, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2016, posting a 2-6 record.

The Mustangs, who are making their first-ever bowl appearance, play No. 16 Iowa Central Dec. 2 at noon EST in the Graphic Edge Bowl in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Previous appearances: An NEFC team last appeared in the 2012 El Toro Bowl, when host Arizona Western defeated Nassau, 42-37. Five NEFC teams have played in The Graphic Edge Bowl, the last coming in 2012 when Louisburg lost to Ellsworth, 30-27. The conference teams are 1-4.

Bowl notes II: ASA rallied to defeat Mesa, 28-23, in the 2017 Valley of the Sun Bowl at John D. Riggs Stadium in Mesa, Arizona. As a conference, the NEFC is 6-14 in bowl games, with three of those losses coming in overtime. Throughout its 22-year history, eight schools have participated in bowl games.

El Toro Bowl: Lackawanna defensive back JaQuan Brisker, the NEFC Defensive Player of the Year, leads one of the nation's top defenses as the Falcons lead the nation in rushing yards allowed per game, 64.4 yards, and are tied for the lead with 21 interceptions. Lackawanna is also second in points allowed, 12.3, and fourth in passing yards allowed, 123.3, quarterback sacks, 41, and total yards allowed, 187.7.

Lackawanna head coach Mark Duda was one of three individuals in the 2018 class of the NJCAA Football Hall of Fame. Duda, a five-time Northeast Football Conference Coach of the Year, has amassed 176 wins to lead active NJCAA coaches in wins.

Arizona Western is making its 18th overall bowl appearance and ninth consecutive postseason trip. The Matadors, who have played in the last two NJCAA national championship contests, are 7-10 overall in bowl games, but 7-4 at the El Toro Bowl.

For more information, visit El Toro Bowl.

The Graphic Edge Bowl: Monroe quarterback Jalen Brown, the NEFC Offensive Player of the Year, has run for 446 yards and a team-high eight touchdowns to go with 890 passing yards and seven scores. Iowa Central makes its 25th overall bowl appearance and it has a 13-9 record at The Graphic Edge Bowl.

Monroe is coached by Terry Karg, the 2013 NEFC Coach of the Year.

For more information, visit Graphic Edge Bowl.

Bowl history: Here are the NEFC's bowl appearances:

  • 1997 - Dixie Rotary Bowl, Dixie State 76, Lackawanna 21
  • 2000 - Sea Island Company Golden Isles Bowl Classic, Middle Georgia 35, Lackawanna 7
  • 2001 - Real Dairy Bowl, Ricks 49, Lackawanna 21
  • 2002 - Red River Bowl, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M 27, Erie 21 (OT)
  • 2003 - Graphic Edge Bowl, Ellsworth 29, Hudson Valley 23 (3OT)
  • 2004 - Graphic Edge Bowl, Ellsworth 25, Nassau 13
  • 2006 - Valley of the Sun Bowl, Lackawanna 17, Glendale CC 16
  • 2008 - Graphic Edge Bowl, Iowa Central 20, Dean 10
  • 2008 - North Star Bowl, Rochester CTC 19, Lackawanna 13
  • 2009 - Valley of the Sun Bowl, Glendale CC 10, Dean 9
  • 2010 - Graphic Edge Bowl, Lackawanna 34, Ellsworth 20
  • 2011 - Valley of the Sun Bowl, Dean 26, Glendale CC 25
  • 2011 - Salt City Bowl, Hutchinson CC 70, Lackawanna 20
  • 2012 - Graphic Edge Bowl, Ellsworth 30, Louisburg 27
  • 2012 - El Toro Bowl, Arizona Western 42, Nassau 37
  • 2012 - Carrier Dome Bowl, Snow 47, ASA 21
  • 2013 - Carrier Dome Bowl, ASA 23, College of DuPage 3
  • 2014 - Valley of the Sun Bowl, Nassau 34, Scottsdale 27
  • 2016 - Valley of the Sun Bowl, Mesa 48, Lackawanna 42 (2 OT)
  • 2017 - Valley of the Sun Bowl, ASA 28, Mesa 23
  • All-NEFC: The 2018 All-Northeast Football Conference teams can be viewed at All-NEFC.

    Rankings: FAfter the Nov. 12 ranking, a NEFC team has been ranked in the last 201 NJCAA polls. The streak dates to Oct. 21, 2003. A NEFC team has been ranked 388 times since the 2002 season started.

    Lackawanna has been ranked No. 6 for seven weeks this season. Monroe's ranking ties its best as the Mustangs were No. 12 in the Oct. 9, 2018, poll.

    Other rankings: Lackawanna ia No. 10 in JCgridiron.com's Dirty 30 rankings while Monroe is in "Others on the Bubble."

    NJCAA stats: Individually, Lackawanna's Sylvanus Waibogha is tied for fourth with six interceptions while teammate Ja'yir Brown is tied for seventh with five interceptions. Lackawanna's Isaiah Howard ranks fourth with 48 made extra-point kicks and is ninth with 63 points. Lackawanna quarterback Shane McLaughlin is fifth with 20 touchdown passes while ASA's Khalid Morris is seventh with 18. McLaughlin is sixth with a 161.7 passing efficiency rating. The Falcons' Javon Turner has nine touchdown receptions to tie for seventh. Lackawanna's Harrison Dreher is seventh with a 14.3-yard average in punt returns while he is 10th with 172 punt return yards.

    In the defensive team categories, Lackawanna and ASA are 1-2 in rushing yards allowed per game, 64.4 and 69.6, respectively. Lackawanna is tied for the lead with 21 interceptions and tied for fourth with 41 quarterback sacks. The Falcons are second in points allowed at 12.3 and fourth in yards allowed, 187.7. ASA is third in yards allowed, 191.0, while Monroe is fourth in points allowed, 14.1. The Avengers are third in passing yards allowed per game, 121.4 and Lackawanna is fourth, 123.3.

    On the offensive side, ASA is fourth in yards per game, 470.8, and Lackawanna is tied for eighth, 427.8. ASA is fifth in rushing yards per game at 255.3, Lackawanna is seventh, 221.1, and Monroe is eighth, 221.8. Monroe is second in yards per carry, 6.7, while ASA is eighth, 5.4. In scoring, Lackawanna is fifth (40.7 points per game) and ASA is eighth (37.8 ppg). The Falcons are eighth with 25 passing touchdowns.

    Single-season marks: ASA quarterback Khalid Morris ranks third in total offense yards per game, 248.0, and fifth in total offense yards, 1,984.

    With 20 touchdown passes, Lackawanna quarterback Shane McLaughlin is sixth on the NEFC top 10 list. He is just shy of the top 10 list for completions and completion percentage while he is eighth in passing efficiency. Morris is tied for ninth with 18. Lackawanna's Javon Turner's 21.0 yards per catch average tie for eighth while his nine touchdown receptions tie for 10th.

    Lackawanna kicker Isaiah Howard, a first-team all-conference pick in 2017, has made 48 extra-point kicks to rank third while his 63 points rank tied for seventh. His 52 extra-point attempts rank fourth.

    Lackawanna's Sylvanus Waibogha is tied with six others for 10th on the interception list with six.

    Top players: The Northeast Football Conference had four individuals listed in 247sports.com's Nov. 12 report of the nation's top 50 junior college recruits.

    They are:

    In the NFL: Carolina's Ian Thomas (Nassau) has appeared in 11 games, catching 11 passes ... Kyzlr White (Lackawanna) recorded 19 tackles and an interception before being placed on injured reserve by the Los Angeles Chargers ... Mark Glowinski (Lackawanna) has appeared in eight games, starting the past six, for Indianapolis ... Rasul Douglas (Nassau) has played in 11 games, starting two, with Philadelphia. He made eight tackles Nov. 11 ... Kevin White (Lackawanna) has three catches for 70 yards for Chicago ... Jermaine Eluemunor (Lackawanna) started his first game of the season Nov. 4 for Baltimore. He has played in four games.

    Misc.: With Lackawanna's Isaiah Howard and Monroe's Imhotep Cromer being named the NJCAA Special Team Players of the Week Oct. 24 and Oct. 31, the conference has now had 19 individuals selected since the start of the 2011 season.

    Since 2010, a Northeast Football Conference member has led the NJCAA in total defense five times. ASA (2010, 2012 and 2013), Nassau (2011) and Monroe (2017).