Wake Up Ghosts – Junior College Football Returns to Tri-Cities


It’s been a long time since junior college football has been in the area, and it’s coming back. (former CBC star Clint Didier scores for the Redskins in the NFL)

Pacific Northwest Christian College will begin play this fall

Pacific Northwest Christian College has a building on Clearwater across from Leskvar Motors, and next to GESA Credit Union on Huntington Street, and now they’re getting ready to hit the grill. The school, formerly known as Gather4Him, was founded in 2007.

It’s been a long time coming, but the PNWCC has a roster of 52 and is coached by former Kennewick standout Bill Templeton, they will carry on the tradition of junior college football, or JUCO, football in our area, according to information from the PNCC and KNDULA TÉLÉ.

CBC, once a perennial powerhouse, dropped football after 1981.

Columbia Basin College went 10-0 in 1978 and was crowned national junior college champion. It turns out that NFL players Mark Kafentzis (Richland) and Clint Didier (Connell) played there. Kafentzis went to Hawaii and the NFL for 4 seasons, mostly with the Colts, while Didier then got a few Super Bowl rings catching passes from Joe Theismann and scoring a TD against Denver in the Super Bowl after setting some receiving records in Portland. State University.

Clint Didier at CBC (NWACC.org)

Clint Didier at CBC (NWACC.org)

However, largely due to cost, all of the junior colleges in our area have dropped out of football, like dominoes. CBC, Walla Walla, Wenatchee, Yakima Valley, Treasure Valley CC, perennial power Mt. Hood and Spokane Falls CC – had canceled the sport more than 40 years ago. Walla Walla was the only one to resist for a long time, finally giving up football in 1997. (1978 SRC National Football Championships).

CBC National JUCO Champions (NWACC.org-CBC Athletics)

CBC National JUCO Champions (NWACC.org-CBC Athletics)

But now JUCO football is back

Pacific Northwest Christian will play in the Scenic West Region 18 conference, which is part of the National Junior College Athletic Association. It’s the JUCO version of the NCAA. They will play home games at Lampson Stadium and will be called the Gladiators.

Some of the teams in the league have long football traditions, namely Snow College and the College of Southern Idaho. Other schools include the College of Southern Nevada, Colorado Western, Salt Lake CC, and Utah State University Eastern. With the addition of the PNWCC, there will be 9 teams in the league.

The PNWCC is also assembling a men’s soccer team, as they build their programs.

Junior colleges have been a place for athletes to graduate and hone their skills, and hundreds nationwide are graduating from four-year schools at various NCAA division levels.

To learn more about the PNCC, click here. Their first home game will be on September 6 at Lampson.

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