The Itasca Community College Vikings have accepted an invitation to the 2019 Red Grange Bowl, hosted by the College of DuPage on Saturday, December 7 in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. The game will kick-off at 2pm at COD.
Itasca put together a strong body of work in 2019, going 8-3 overall and spending much of the fall mentioned in the 2019 NJCAA Football Top 20 poll. In a highly competitive MCAC Eastern Division, the Vikings fell to Central Lakes and nationally-ranked Mesabi Range during the regular season, and lost to the Raiders in the rematch for the MCAC State title.
Head coach Weldon Braxton's eight wins this fall have come from several strong performances and a variety of ways; in wins over Minnesota West, M State-Fergus Falls and Fond du Lac, ICC outscored their opponents 103-6, depending on a stout defense that earned two shutouts. However, the Vikings also showed the ability to win offensive shootouts, outlasting RCTC 53-24 in the MCAC Quarterfinals and nationally-ranked North Dakota State College of Science, 40-34 in overtime.
Individually, Joshua Booker helps carry the ICC load, with 16 rushing touchdown so far on the year. He is averaging 85.2 yards a game on the ground, good for second overall in the MCAC. Receiver Antwan Downs is catching almost everything that comes his way, snagging 15 TD grabs and averaging over 112 yards each outing. On the other side of the ball, linebacker Cameron Strapp has 7.6 tackles per game and has registered 11.5 sacks overall this season. Teammate Ranadree Bradley clocks in just behind Strapp with 11 sacks on the year; in addition, Itasca's secondary leads the league in interceptions with 21 through the state semi-finals.
Itasca will mark the fourth MCAC school in four years to make the trek to Glen Ellyn; Central Lakes College, Mesabi Range College, Northland Community & Technical College each have been invited once since the inaugural Red Grange Bowl in 2016. The Red Grange Bowl - the only NJCAA annual non-scholarship bowl game - held at the College of DuPage helps maintain the legacy for one of the most accomplished players in the history of the game.
For more on the Red Grange Bowl and football at the College of DuPage, please visit: https://gochapsgo.com/sports/football
The NJCAA Football webpage, with updated National Top 20 Poll and 2019 NJCAA Bowl Game announcements, is found at: https://www.njcaa.org/sports/fball/index
For all things football in the Minnesota College Athletic Conference, please go to: https://www.mcacsports.org/sports/fball/index
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