The Garden City Community College football team will play in its 23rd bowl game this season.
On Tuesday, the Busters accepted a bid to play in the Heart of Texas Bowl against host Trinity Valley on Dec. 2 in Copperas Cove, Texas, the college announced during a press conference at the Perryman Athletic Complex.
The game — set for 11 a.m. — pits the 8-3 and 12th-ranked Busters, winners of their last four, against an 8-3 and eighth-ranked Cardinals team that lost in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference’s championship game.
“I’m excited about it,” GCCC head coach Jeff Sims said. “They’re the No. 8 in the country, we’re the No. 12 team, and it gives us an opportunity to prove ourselves as a team and for our conference. Hopefully, we can do well and get ourselves a good final ranking.”
Trinity Valley’s high ranking was a big positive for the Busters to accept the bid, Sims said.
“They pursued us and wanted us,” Sims said of Trinity Valley. "I’ve been a part of their bowl game in the past with another team (at Fort Scott), and they treated us well.
“Trinity Valley was the highest ranked team we had the opportunity to play against, so we wanted to take that opportunity to play against a really good opponent.”
The game is a re-match of the 1997 NJCAA Championship game, played in the now defunct Red River Bowl in Euless, Texas. The Cardinals rolled to a 48-13 win. The two teams also met in a home-and-home series played in 2006 and 2007. Garden City won both matchups, 21-17 in 2006 and 28-19 in 2007.
The Heart of Texas Bowl, played in the local high school’s Bulldawg Stadium, has been played since 2001. Trinity Valley has played in three of the previous four games, going 3-0, including a 27-24 win over Coffeyville in 2014.
The Cardinals also won the 2002 game, completing their 4-0 record in the bowl game. While this will be the Busters’ first appearance in the bowl, Kansas teams have gone 3-3 in the bowl. The Busters are 10-11-1 all-time in bowl games.