The Buccaneers (3-2, 1-2 SWJCFC) fell behind 20-0 with 4:27 remaining in the first quarter, and despite pulling within three points or less twice, the hosts were unable to complete the rally on homecoming night.
“Defensively, we just needed to settle into the game … we were just trying to do too much early,” Blinn head coach Ryan Mahon said. “We moved the ball pretty well and we fought, we just fell short. The best thing about tonight was that our team was resilient. Even when we were down 20-0, they didn’t give up and they kept fighting.”
Navarro came out swinging on the opening play of the game, surprising the Buccaneer defense with an 80-yard touchdown pass that made it a 7-0 ballgame with just 14 seconds gone from the clock.
A Blinn interception set up the Bulldogs’ second touchdown, a rushing score from two yards out that made it 13-0. A 6-yard end around capped the visitors’ first-period outburst.
(Pictured: Blinn College’s Caleb Godfrey catches a touchdown against Navarro on Saturday)
After sophomore defensive back Joshua Brown picked off a Navarro pass and returned it to the Bulldogs’ 7 yard line, Bolfing connected with freshman tight end Caleb Godfrey on fourth and goal to pull Blinn within 20-14 at the 9-minute mark of the second quarter.
Navarro extended its lead with a 32-yard field goal, but the Bucs continued to rally as sophomore running back JJ Branham burst through the middle of the Bulldog defense and into the open field for a 56-yard score with 4:20 to go in the first half.
Navarro carried a 23-21 edge into the break.
Blinn had a chance to pull ahead with 11:38 to go in the third period, but a 37-yard field goal attempt missed its target.
Navarro’s offense returned to the field and built a 30-21 lead on a 36-yard touchdown pass.
Blinn would threaten once more when freshman running back Willie Eldridge raced 28 yards into the end zone with 2:05 left in the third. A blocked extra point left the Bucs within 30-27.
Navarro scored on a 1-yard TD pass with 11:11 remaining in the contest and sacked Bolfing for a safety with 1:03 left to close the scoring.
“Navarro is a good football team that is well-coached,” Mahon said. “This conference and every team in it are tough. You have to play all 60 minutes in this conference, or you’ll find yourself in a bad situation like we did tonight.”
The Bucs will take on conference foe Trinity Valley Community College at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8 in Athens, Texas.
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 42 NJCAA national championships since 1987.