Garden City, KS – A decisive turn-around this season by the Broncbuster Football Team didn’t just put Garden City Community College back in the national polls, earn a series of 2012 Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference post-season awards and capture KJCCC Coach of the Year honors for second-year Head Coach Jeff Tatum. The 6-4 finish after a 2-7 prior season also earned GCCC the first bowl game invitation Garden City has received since 2005.
GCCC got the official word Nov. 13 that it will be playing Dec. 2 at Biloxi, Miss., in the Fifth Annual Mississippi Bowl. Garden City will take on Copiah-Lincoln Community College in what the host is already promoting as “Mississippi’s champion against one of perennial powerhouses from Kansas.”
“This should be an exciting match-up,” said Ladd Taylor, chairman of the Mississippi Bowl Committee.
The game is scheduled at 2 p.m. in Biloxi Indian Stadium and advance tickets are available for purchase at www.mississippibowl.com or by calling 601-928-6344. Admission will be $10 for adults and $7 for students.
“This is truly something for Garden City Community College and the entire community of Garden City to be proud of,” said Dr. Herbert J. Swender, GCCC president. “Persistence and perseverance are qualities that pay off, and that’s what Coach Tatum displayed all season with his team and with his staff.”
“I see this as an honor that recognizes excellence and effort,” Swender added. “I can’t think of any place I would rather be that in Biloxi Indian Stadium on Dec. 2, watching the Broncbusters show the crowd what teamwork and determination really mean.”
“Garden City has a strong and powerful legacy in football, and it’s great to see the Broncbusters living up to that legacy by returning to the tradition of appearing in a post-season bowl game,” said Dennis Harp, GCCC athletic director. “This is the kind of honor that can unite the campus and the community behind a team that has earned our support and admiration throughout the season.”
“It’s an honor for me to have the team invited to the Mississippi Bowl,” said Broncbuster head coach Jeff Tatum. “I was fortunate enough to participate in the first Mississippi Bowl when I was coaching at Georgia Military College. They put on a first-class game. It will be a great experience for our young men and a great opportunity to get Broncbuster football back in the national spotlight.”
Copiah-Lincoln Community College is ranked number seven in the NJCAA, which sanctions the game. The team upset the defending national champion, East Mississippi, with a score of 47-46 on Nov. 3 and went on to a 41-37 upset of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges title game on Nov. 10 – the school’s first MACJC title since 1985. GCCC will be facing an offense that has scored 40 or more points four times this season, while the Co-Lin Wolfpack defense has forced 26 turnovers and scored 34 sacks.
GCCC, which earned a playoff appearance this year in the KJCCC and entered the NJCAA poll at number 19, expects to start the game as it has all season, with quarterback Nick Marshall, the 2012 KJCCC Offensive Player of the Year. The trip will also offer a unique connection for Tatum, who has ties to the MACJC after both playing and coaching at Mississippi Delta Community College.
The Mississippi Bowl is in its fifth year. It was initiated in 2008, when number seven-ranked Gulf Coast defeated number three-ranked Georgia Military College 41-7 in front of 5,000 fans at the stadium where GCCC will soon play. The 2009 contest featured East Mississippi, then number six, defeating number five Arizona Western 27-24, while 2010’s game pitted number seven Gulf Coast against number three-ranked Grand Rapids, with a 62-53 win for the Mississippi contender. The 2011 game also included Gulf Coast, which outmatched number five-ranked Blinn College, of Texas, 46-17. The bowl game takes place each year as a fund raiser for the benefit of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Foundation.