By Mike Pilosof
Garden City, KS-For the second straight year, the Broncbuster football team is going bowling.
On Tuesday, the No. 12 team in the country accepted an invitation to play in the Champs Heart of Texas Bowl vs. eighth-ranked Trinity Valley on Saturday, Dec. 2 at 11 a.m. The game will be broadcast on 99.9 FM; westernkansasenws.com/kwkr and the KWKR mobile app.
"Trinity Valley is a tremendous football program," Garden City Head Coach Jeff Sims said. "People don't know this but we won the national championship last year, and Trinity Valley finished third."
This year, Cardinals finished as one of the top scoring teams in the nation, finishing fourth in total points scored, and seventh in total offense. They were 8-3 during the regular season with a four-point loss at Blinn, a six-point defeat to Kilgore and a 24-10 loss to Northeastern Oklahoma on Nov. 11.
"We had four different invitations," athletic director John Green said. "But the coaching staff assessed the competition level, and they felt like this was the best opportunity."
Coach Sims echoed those sentiments.
"Our guys wanted a good test," he said. "And we are going into this game like it's the Super Bowl."
Sims and company will try and do something that hasn't been done in nearly 30 years—that's win back-to-back bowl games. The last time a Garden City team took home consecutive bowl titles was 1989 and 1990 when they beat Ricks in the Real Dairy Bowl in back-to-back years under Brian McNeeley.
"Hats off to this coaching staff and these players," President Dr. Herbert Swender said. "It's a testament to their hard work, which is why they're able to do what they're doing."
The Heart of Texas Bowl enters its 17th year, and ironically, Sims is the last coach to lead a Jayhawk Conference school to a win in the game, guiding Fort Scott to a 30-14 victory over Blinn in 2008. Trinity Valley is 4-0 lifetime in the bowl game, which includes a 34-24 victory over Northwest Mississippi in 2016.
This will be the Broncbusters first appearance in the Heart of Texas Bowl, and their second bowl game in the Lone Star state. Garden City lost to Trinity Valley 48-13 in the 1997 National Championship Game (Red River Bowl).
"Our guys have earned the opportunity to play in a bowl game," Sims said. "What a great thing to have more practice time and more exposure. These guys will get a few days off for Thanksgiving, and then we are ramping it back up."
Garden City leads the all-time series with Trinity Valley 2-1, beating them 28-19 in 2007 and 21-17 in 2006. This is the Broncbusters 23rd bowl game in program history; they are 10-11-1 all-time.