NJCAA’s 2019 Football Championship will bring rival schools Mississippi Gulf Coast (11-0) and Lackawanna (10-0) together for a showdown on Division II turf, at Kansas’ Pittsburg State University.

No. 1 Mississippi Gulf Coast and No. 2 Lackawanna will square off on Thur., Dec. 5, with kickoff scheduled for 5 p.m. The matchup will be the first between the two prominent programs.

Game tickets are $15 general admission, and available at www.pittstate.edu/office/ticket-office or call 620-235-4796. The game will be televised on CBS Sports.

The night before the game, the teams will be guests at the Mpix.com Celebration Banquet at 6 p.m. Wed., Dec. 4, with keynote speaker Bobby Bell, member of the Kansas City Chiefs’ 1970 Super Bowl Championship Team.

Bell will share inspiring stories of his life. Although he was on a national collegiate championship football team in 1960, he left college to go pro – and then due to a promise to his father, returned to finish his degree 50 years later. His coursework included writing a manual for youth football and creating and operating a youth camp; that camp was held at a Pittsburg high school with help from Pitt State in 2014.

Banquet tickets are available to the public for $25 on a first-come-first-serve basis and can be ordered by emailing Devin Gorman of the Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau at dgorman@visitcrawfordcounty.com, or call 620-231-1212. The banquet will be in Pitt State Memorial Auditorium.

The Bulldogs won their conference title and are riding a 15-game winning streak dating back to last season. The Bulldogs won the Junior College Championship in 1948, eight years before the first official NJCAA championship, and they also won national championships in 1971 and 1984 and were co-champions in 2007.

The Lackawanna Falcons have their own impressive winning streak of 22 games that spans three seasons, and will make their first-ever national championship appearance. Though it’s the Falcons’ first championship game, 20 alumni have reached the NFL, including Bryant McKinnie, Kevin White, and Mark Glowinski.

The big game will take place in Pitt State’s tech-upgraded 96-year-old Carnie Smith Stadium.

Constructed in 1923, it’s undergone many changes, and since 2001 several major upgrades have totaled $10 million. With new additions like a $1.7 million video board – dubbed the “Jungletron” – fans are provided with 2,800 square-feet of vibrant video and scoring updates. The stadium is widely regarded as one of the finest in Division II. In a recent NCAA poll, fans ranked it No. 12.

Last year’s championship game was also hosted in Pittsburg, with East Mississippi topping Kansas’ Garden City Community College 10-9.

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