College of DuPage and Nassau Community College Meet in Dec. 4 Inaugural NJCAA Division III Football Championship | News Direct

College of DuPage and Nassau Community College Meet in Dec. 4 Inaugural NJCAA Division III Football Championship

COD Newsroom
News release by COD Newsroom

facebook icon linkedin icon twitter icon pinterest icon email icon Glen Ellyn, IL | November 29, 2021 01:30 PM Central Standard Time

The top-ranked College of DuPage Chaparrals (8-2 overall) take on the No. 2-ranked Nassau Community College Lions (6-3) of Garden City, N.Y., Dec. 4 in the debut of the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Division III Championship at the Red Grange Bowl.

The inaugural championship game, which kicks off at noon at COD’s Bjarne Ullsvik Stadium on COD’s Glen Ellyn campus, 425 Fawell Blvd., offers a rematch against the top two teams in the division.

The Chaps, under first-year head coach Matthew Rahn, enter the championship having won five straight games after suffering a 17-15 loss at Nassau on Oct. 16. The Chaps outscored their opposition 195-53 in those five games with three victories over NJCAA Division I opponents.

“For our program, our kids and our staff, this is a huge opportunity to showcase and enhance our brand on a national level,’’ Rahn said. “We’re pleased that the NJCAA got it right in terms of a match-up between ourselves and Nassau. The two programs’ schedules mirror each other with a majority of games against Division I programs. It’s going to be a great game for all involved.’’

The Lions, coached by Jamel Ramsay, opened the season with five straight victories, then closed the season with losses in three of their final four games including a 9-7 loss to No. 6 and unbeaten Division I Monroe College.

The Chaps feature the No. 1 rushing offense in the country, averaging 209.9 yards a contest. Sophomore Darrell Smith (Kankakee, Kankakee High School) leads the team in rushing with 744 yards on 109 carries with three touchdowns. Teammate Taveon Porter (Chicago, Bremen High School) follows at 454 yards and a team-leading six touchdowns. Nine Chaparrals have scored touchdowns on the ground.

Three Chaps have surpassed 600 yards in all-purpose yards. Smith leads with 815, followed by Porter (748) and sophomore halfback Chase Mendoza (Saginaw, Michigan, Swan Valley High School), who has 124 yards rushing, 355 receiving, 101 on punt returns and 65 kickoff return yards for 645 total yards.

Freshman quarterback Brooks Blount (Waukesha, Wisconsin, West High School) threw 80 of 137 passing and needs one more yard to break 1,000 through the air with nine touchdowns and seven interceptions. Against Ellsworth College on Nov. 12, he rushed for three touchdowns in the first quarter of a 44-28 victory.

Sophomore wide receiver Lazerick Eatman (Chicago, Immaculate Conception High School) leads the Chaps in receiving with 26 receptions, 382 yards and four touchdowns. Freshman Matthew Brown (Aurora, West Aurora High School) joins Eatman and Mendoza as the other receiver with at least 300 yards (23 catches for 319 yards).

Sophomore defensive end Tom Trieb (Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove High School) has been a force all season long, ranking second in the division in sacks (13) along with 53 tackles. Freshman linebacker Chase Graham (Sterling, Newman Central High School) leads the Chaps in tackles with 55. The Chaps allowed just 244.9 yards per game, ranking second in the division.

As noted, the two programs played Oct. 16 with the host Lions defeating the Chaps 17-15. The Lions took the lead for good on a 30-yard field goal with 12:30 remaining in the game. COD had four possessions in the final 12-plus minutes, but could not sustain a drive. Porter led the Chaps’ ground game with 142 yards on 10 carries and had 251 all-purpose yards and a pair of touchdowns.

The national championship game recognizes the feats of the late Red Grange, one of football's all-time greats and arguably the game's greatest all-time offensive player. The Wheaton native, nicknamed the "Galloping Ghost" and the "Wheaton Iceman," is a charter member of both the Pro (1963) and College (1951) Football Halls of Fame. His single-greatest feat remains almost fantasy — scoring four touchdowns in the opening 12 minutes versus Michigan in the University of Illinois Memorial Stadium dedication game on Oct. 18, 1924. All told in that game, Grange was responsible for six touchdowns against the Wolverines and totaled 409 all-purpose yards.

Grange went on to earn three All-American honors at Illinois and became the first major signing by Chicago Bears owner and head coach George Halas. Later that year, Halas took Grange and the Bears on a coast-to-coast tour in which the club played 16 games in nine weeks. That effort is thought to have saved the National Football League and fortified Grange as a household name in America, among the likes of such legends as Babe Ruth and Jack Dempsey.

“College of DuPage is proud to continue its tribute to the legendary Red Grange and honored to have been selected as host of the inaugural NJCAA Division III championship game,” said COD President Dr. Brian Caputo. “The opportunity to play in this debut game is a testament to the strength of our football program. Our players have seen tremendous success this season and the College is behind them as they get set to take on Nassau.”

College of DuPage is a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association, National Junior College Athletic Association Region IV and North Central Community College Conference (N4C). The College’s Athletics program offers nine men’s and nine women’s sports teams each year, including outdoor track and field, indoor track and field, cross country, football, volleyball, golf, basketball, tennis, baseball, softball and soccer. Home games are generally played on the Glen Ellyn campus, 425 Fawell Blvd.

Official Merchandise

FineDesigns is the official merchandiser for the NJCAA Division III Football Championship at the Red Grange Bowl. To pre-order any of the merchandise, use this website link.

Game notes

Although this is first national championship game for the division, the Red Grange Bowl provided a venue for both COD and Nassau post-season action. The Chaps were unbeaten in three appearances, the last during the 2019 season — a 14-0 victory over Itasca Community College. The Lions played in 2018 against Northland Community College and earned a resounding 46-6 victory.


Tickets are $10 and are available for sale (cash only) at the point of entry.

The game will be livestreamed at with Jim Tirey providing the play-by-play.



Contact Details


Mark Reinhiller


+1 630-942-3761

project media
project media


College of DuPageNassau Community CollegeNJCAA Division III Football ChampionshipNational Junior College Athletic AssociationRed Grange Bowl