EPHRAIM—It will be a match-up of the old against the new on the campus of Syracuse
University in the inaugural Carrier Dome Bowl next Saturday in Syracuse, New York.
Snow College (Ephraim, Utah), the oldest two-year college west of the Mississippi
River, will be taking on the Avengers from ASA College (Brooklyn, N.Y.) which was
founded in 1985. Snow (10-1) has been playing football since 1920; ASA since 2009.
Snow will be appearing in a bowl game for the 20th time. ASA (9-0) will be making
its first-ever post-season appearance.
Syracuse will be the furthest east Snow has ever played football. "This is an exciting time for our program," said head coach Tyler Hughes. "To play in the Carrier Dome against another top-ranked team is a great opportunity. We are looking forward to it."
This fall Snow won its first outright WSFL (Western States Football League) title since 2008. Badgers were honored not only as the Most Valuable Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year in the WSFL (running back Breon Allen and defensive tackle Ofa Hautau), but also Coach of the Year (second-year head coach Hughes).
Nine other Badgers joined Allen and Hautau on the All-WSFL First Team, the most to be so honored in school history. The other first-teamers are: wide receiver Damond Powell; offensive linemen Justin Manu and E.J. Pauni; defensive linemen Jake Miller and Thomas Bryson; linebacker Nik Wolford; defensive back Kapena Clark; placekicker Spencer Groner; and punter Chris Van Orden.
The Badgers lead the nation with 64 sacks, 8 defensive touchdowns and 8 safeties - all justification for three of the four all-conference defensive linemen being from Snow College.
The Badgers have scored 541 points, the most in school history, besting the 516 points they scored in 2010 in 12 games. The only time the Badgers were held to under 40 points was in their 47-30 loss at Georgia Military College in the third week of the season. Through 11 games Snow has averaged 49.2 points per game - beating their previous record of 44.6 in 1998.
With such gaudy numbers, one would think that the Badgers' bowl opponent would be shaking in their cleats at the prospect of facing such a high-scoring machine. All except for one problem - the Badgers' bowl opponent, ASA, has averaged even more points per game this season and given up less.
ASA, champion of the Northeast Football Conference, has played nine games so far this season (their game scheduled Nov. 3 against Louisburg was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy) and has outscored their opponents 451-77. That's an average of 50.1 points scored to only 8.6 points given up. ASA has recorded shut outs in four of their nine games, while holding opponents to an average of only 33 rushing yards and 82 passing yards per game. Though its defense has been dominating, Snow has been vulnerable to the big play this year, giving up an average of 17.3 points per game.
Plus, the Badgers are the underdog, currently ranked fourth in the nation while the Avengers are ranked third. Snow will also have to travel 2,000 miles across two time zones to get to Syracuse, while ASA will only have to travel upstate on a bus. As far as motivation is concerned, the Avengers have a chip on their shoulder - watching as another pair of undefeated teams, top-ranked Iowa Western and second-ranked Butler, play for the national championship the following day in the Graphic Edge Bowl in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The Graphic Edge Bowl has been declared by the NJCAA to be the "National Championship Game" leaving undefeated ASA out of the title picture.
This season ASA has been led by freshman quarterback Daniel Pietrangelo who has completed 64 percent of his passes for 1,439 yards and 16 touchdowns. Sophomore running back Hosey Williams (Miami, Fla.) has rushed for 1,172 yards for an average of 130.2 yards per game, and has scored 13 touchdowns. The Avengers' top receiver is Ouslet Volcy with 29 receptions for 594 yards and eight scores. Head coach Dennis Orlando, Jr. is the only football coach ASA has ever had, going 25-10 since starting the program four years ago.
"ASA has had a terrific season," Hughes said. "Going undefeated is a big accomplishment and we know that we need to be at our best when we take the field."
Leading the Badger offense this year, Allen has 1,634 yards and 19 rushing touchdowns, both tops in the nation and Snow College season records. He also has three receiving touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback Christian Stewart, named second team All-WSFL, has completed 53% of his passes for 2,599 yards and 34 touchdowns. Stewart's favorite target has been Damond Powell who has a school record 1,082 yards receiving on 38 receptions and 13 touchdowns. Powell's 28.5 yards per reception leads the nation.
Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. EST on Saturday, Dec. 1. The game will be broadcast on KMTI radio and streamed live on iHigh.com.
Founded in 1888, Snow College serves nearly 5,000 students on its Ephraim and Richfield Campuses. With a full offering of transfer and career and technical programs, Snow College is committed to meeting the needs of Central Utah and beyond.