PITTSBURG -- The 11-0 and No.1-ranked Grizzlies from Butler Community College will square off against No. 2 and once-beaten Navarro College (Texas) Bulldogs in the 2010 Citizen's Bank Bowl Sunday at Carnie Smith Stadium. Game time for the national title tilt is set for 1 p.m.
In only its second year of existence, the Citizen's Bank Bowl will again be the main focus when it comes to deciding the NJCAA National Champion. In 2009, the inaugural Citizen's Bank Bowl pitted then-No. 1 Fort Scott Community College against No. 2 Blinn College, Blinn came away with a 31-26 come from behind victory on a last-second punt return for the go-ahead touchdown.
In the 2009 championship game, Blinn was led by quarterback Cameron Newton, who is now the quarterback for Auburn, which is the No. 1 team in this week's BCS standings. Newton is considered the Heisman Trophy frontrunner this year, but he is not the only stand-out in last year's game who is making an impact at the next level.
FSCC linebacker LaVonte David, who was named Defensive Player of the Game in last year's Citizens Bank Bowl, is the leading tackler at Nebraska, this year's Big 12 Conference North Division champion. He was recently named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year.
Using the Citizen's Bank Bowl as their springboard, more than 50 players from both FSCC and Blinn went on to pursue their athletic and academic careers at four-year institutions. Eight of those players are making impacts for Division I top-25 schools.
Butler and Navarro are not strangers to each other. The Grizzlies (11-0) gave the Bulldogs (10-1) their lone loss of the 2010 season, beating Navarro in week one in Wichita, 16-10.
Navarro won 10 straight since then, climbing back to the second spot in the polls three weeks ago. Butler has held the top spot for the last seven weeks.
Butler will be playing for its third national championship in four seasons, capturing titles in 2007 and 2008. Navarro will be playing for its first national title since its 1989 championship season.
Butler has put up 444 points as a team while only allowing 105. Navarro has put 391 points on the board while giving up 153.
Butler is ranked ninth in the country in rush defense while Navarro is ranked tenth. Both teams are giving up just around 81 yards to their opponents on the ground per game.
Quarterback Zach Mettenberger (6' 5", 245, Soph.) leads a Grizzly passing attack that eleventh in the country with 230 yards per game. Mettenberger, the Jayhawk Conference Offensive Player of the Year, completed 59 percent of his passes for 2,512 yards and 31 touchdowns. Mettenberger is being recruited by Alabama, Arizona, Cincinnati, Louisville, Louisiana State, and Texas A&M.
Mettenberger's main weapon is wide-out Marcus Kennard. Kennard (6' 4", 185, Soph.) is the second-highest rated junior college wide receiver and has already committed to Kansas State.
Defensively, the Grizzlies are led by defensive end Cornellius Carradine (6' 5", 245), who is a force to be reckoned with on the defensive side of the ball. Carradine, recruited heavily by several Southeastern Conference and Big 12 schools, has tallied 109 tackles and 16 sacks during the 2010 campaign.
Butler ranks eighth in the country defensively giving up 207 yards to their opponents.
Navarro leans on an offensive line that has already had four members commit with Division I programs to lead the way for an offensive attack that averages 360 yards per game. The Bulldogs have averaged 187 yards on the ground and 173 through the air.