GOODMAN --- The No. 9 Holmes Community College Bulldog football team continued leaving its mark on history here today by accepting a bid to play in its first postseason bowl game since the 1988 season.
The Bulldogs, 6-3 on the season, will play Iowa Western, 6-5, in the Graphic Edge Bowl Feature Game in Cedar Falls, Iowa, on Dec. 4 at 3 p.m. Holmes last played in a bowl game during the 1988 season when the Bulldogs fell to Trinity Valley in the Texas Junior College Shrine Bowl in Tyler, Texas, 66-35.
Bowl Game Director Thom McDonald contacted Holmes Community College through video conferencing in McMorrough Library on the Goodman Campus and extended the bid to Holmes Head Coach Jeff Koonz and Athletic Director Andy Wood in front of a packed house which included members of the Bulldog football team and coaches, cheerleaders, faculty and staff.
"We've had 12 teams ranked or receiving votes inquire about our bowl game," McDonald said when extending the invitation. "We are only interested in inviting one team and that would be Holmes Community College. So I'm calling to officially invite you to attend and participate in a game against Iowa Western Community College. This will be a great game if you are willing to accept this offer."
"On behalf of Holmes Community College we gladly accept the invitation to the 2016 Graphic Edge Bowl," Wood responded to McDonald.
"We do a lot of research on the teams coming to our bowl game," McDonald said. I've heard nothing but great things about your staff, yourself Mr. Wood, the entire team and institution. This is the first Mississippi team we've ever invited to the Graphic Edge Bowl Game. With that, a lot is on your shoulders. We look forward to meeting you and providing you with great hospitality."
The game is played in the UNI Dome, which seats 16,000. "The dome that you are going to play in is an unbelievable facility," he said. "It's a great loud venue. It's fast and great place to play."
Prior to the game on Sunday, the team will take part in a banquet on Saturday night with Iowa Western and also Rochester and Ellsworth who are playing in the 11 a.m. game at the UNI Dome.
"We thought this was the best bowl for us," Wood told the crowd. "We are thankful they offered us the opportunity to play in this bowl. I'm excited about getting to play in a dome. This is a very exciting time. We didn't want to do it half way…. we want to do it first class. We don't do it any other way at Holmes.
"You are having a great year and are going to finish strong," he said. "It's going to be a great game, but I don't they've seen what we do or can handle what we do well. We are looking forward to going up there and winning."
"I thank Andy Wood and our administration for not hesitating at all," Koonz said. "Guys, it's been 28 years so that's a pretty big thing."
"You are representing this school and a whole lot of guys who played here," he said. "We are going to be on our best behavior. We are going to enjoy the trip. This is your reward for having a great year."
Koonz expressed to his players how proud he is of how they played during the regular season. The MACJC's North Division has five teams in the latest NJCAA Top 20 poll. "You guys established yourselves as one of those top teams," he said. "You come back as a bowl champion and we'll reap the benefits of that.
"You guys will get a chance to experience another part of the country," Koonz said. "It's a beautiful state with rolling hills, farm land and good folks. Enjoy the journey. You guys have worked hard. Shoot men this is big."
More information on the Graphic Edge Bowl can be found at http://www.thegraphicedgebowl.com/.