12th-ranked Arizona Western to face #6 Nassau CC in East vs. West battle December 1st in Yuma
Yuma, Arizona – November 13, 2012 – Arizona Western College, the Caballeros de Yuma and the Matador Athletic Association are proud to announce that the participants for the 2012 El Toro Bowl-presented by Alexander Automotive Group-have officially been announced. The game will feature two teams who have been ranked among the top 7 in the NJCAA Division I Football Poll nearly all season: the 6th-ranked Nassau Community College Lions and the 12th-ranked Arizona Western College Matadors. The announcement comes just 18 days before the two teams will take the field at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Yuma for the event.
For the 12th-ranked Matadors, the bowl game gives them a chance for redemption-on three different fronts. First, after falling out of the NJCAA Top 10 for only the second time this season (and spent 5 weeks of the season ranked 3rd or higher in the poll) after dropping a 40-26 decision to 4th-ranked Snow College in last Saturday’s Western States Football League Championship Game, the Matadors know that a win over the #6 team in the nation will ensure that they finish in the NJCAA Top 10 for the 4th consecutive year. Second, the Matadors will seek their first bowl victory since the 1972 national championship season and the first bowl win in four tries under AWC Head Football Coach Tom Minnick. Third, while none of the current regime was around when it happened, the Matador Football team can avenge one of the bowl defeats they’ve suffered over the last 15 years after traveling to Uniondale, New York in 1998 to face the Lions in the 2nd Empire State Bowl, and falling, 30-6. With a victory in the 2012 El Toro Bowl, the Matadors will look for their 4th consecutive 8-win season-an accomplishment that hasn’t happened in AWC lore since the early 1970’s.
For the Lions, appearing in the 2012 El Toro Bowl gives them a major opportunity to bring the program back to the national prominence it enjoyed in the 1990’s. From 1989 through 2001, the Lions were always in the middle of the NJCAA postseason bowl discussion, and made appearances every single postseason during that stretch. However, after winning the 2001 Empire State Bowl, the drought of postseason appearances began, and would last until today’s announcement. Like the Matadors, the Lions eyed the chance of finishing in the NJCAA Top 5 until last weekend, when their Northeast Football Conference rivals from ASA College battled back from a 9-point fourth quarter deficit, and kicked a field goal with six seconds left in the NFC Championship Game to topple the Lions, 30-29. That tagged NCC with their first loss of the season, and they will shoot for the second season of 10 wins or more in the last three years (they finished 11-0 in 2010).
This will actually be the third time that these two teams will meet in postseason play, and it will be the 2nd time that they’ll clash in the El Toro Bowl. Nassau made the trip to Yuma back in 1970 for the bowl, where the Ray Butcher-led Matadors defeated the Lions, 36-18, in a game played at Kofa High School in Yuma.
The 2012 El Toro Bowl-presented by Alexander Automotive Group-will be held on Saturday afternoon, December 1st, at 1PM at ‘The Vet’, which is just ¼ mile west of the AWC campus on 24th Street near Araby Road in Yuma. Tickets are on sale now online at four different websites:
1) the El Toro Bowl website: www.eltorobowl.com
2) three different Alexander Automotive Group websites:
-Alexander Ford: www.BillAlexanderFord.com
-Alexander Toyota: www.myalexandertoyota.com
-Alexander Flightline Mazda: www.flightlinemazda.com
Fans who still wish to buy their tickets with cash or a check can stop into two Yuma-area locations during the following hours:
1) the Caballeros de Yuma Office
180 First Street in Yuma (in the old Yuma City Hall building)
Hours: 10AM-4PM Monday through Friday (closed for lunch)
2) the AWC Athletics Office
2020 South Avenue 8E in Yuma (the southwest corner of the gymnasium building on the AWC campus)
Hours: 8AM-4PM Monday through Thursday (CLOSED FRIDAYS) (closed for lunch)
Fans who want to visit these locations are urged to call ahead prior to coming to make sure that someone will be there to help them purchase tickets.
Proceeds from the bowl game and its related events will benefit several areas, including scholarships at Arizona Western College, as well as allow the Caballeros de Yuma to continue to provide and attract events that positively impact the quality of life in the Yuma community. Fans can stay up-to-date on all of the happenings surrounding the El Toro Bowl-including ticket information, team information, and event details on the official El Toro Bowl website: www.eltorobowl.com.