Garden City, KS-For the first time in 15 years, Garden City Community College will play for a national championship.
The top-ranked Broncbusters accepted an invitation to play in the 2016 El Toro Bowl in Yuma, Az. vs. No. 2 Arizona Western on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 1 p.m.
"It's an honor to represent this community in the national championship game," Head Coach Jeff Sims acknowledged during a press conference on Tuesday. "This whole thing was possible because of so many different people. But most important, the players earned this right."
The Broncbusters become the first Jayhawk Conference School since Butler in 2013 to play for the big prize. The Grizzlies are the last ones to win it back in 2008. In all, three different Jayhawk schools have accounted for nine national titles in the history of the conference (Fort Scott, Butler and Coffeyville).
"I've coached in three national championship games," Sims said. "We lost the other two, but I promise you that this team will be the most prepared that anyone could be going into a championship game."
The decision to play in Arizona came after Garden City mulled an offer from East Mississippi, who finished third in the polls.
"We were courted by both the El Toro Bowl and the Mississippi Bowls," Sims said. "But for our players, it was a unanimous vote to go to Yuma."
This will be the second time in the past five years that the El Toro Bowl will play host to the national championship game.
"To us, it was a no brainer," Arizona Western athletic director Jerry Smith said. "I've known Garden City athletic director John Green for more than 15 years. It made the decision that much easier. We knew that if both teams won out, we would finish No. 1 and No. 2. And I believe this will be a great game."
The last time Garden City played in the national title game was 2000 when Bob Larson's team lost a heartbreaker to Glendale 12-7. It's their third trip to the big game in program history.
"It was a moving moment when we signed the contract," Garden City Community College President Dr. Herbert Swender said. "This was the result of a lot of hard work from a lot of people. This wasn't just about football, it was about promoting Garden City Community College."
The game will be broadcast on the exclusive home for Broncbuster athletics 99.9 FM ESPN Radio; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and mobile app: KWKR. Pregame will begin at 1 p.m. CDT.