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December 9, 2012

Iowa Western captures 8th annual Dirty 30 title

In only its fourth year of existence, the Iowa Western College program sits at the top of the junior college football world after winning the 8th annual JCGridiron.com Dirty 30 national title in 2012.

The Reivers were the runaway winner after finishing with the only undefeated record in the country and outscoring opponents by an average of 51 points-per-game.

Iowa Western completed the perfect season a week ago when it dominated a very solid Butler County (KS) team in the NJCAA title game, 27-7. The Reivers seemingly got stronger as the season wore on, giving up more than seven points on only one occasion over the final six weeks of the season.

In addition, in what was perceived as a down year for the conference for most of the year took a dramatic turn for the better when four of the five teams from the Midwest Football Conference received bowl bids, finishing 3-1.

Iowa Western had to play the waiting game on Saturday when City College of San Francisco played Bakersfield College out west in the California state title game. CCSF entered the game at No. 3 in the nation but couldn't overcome a terrible first half in falling to Bakersfield, 35-14.

The Rams fell to No. 9 with the loss while the Renegades rose to No. 4 in the final rankings. Bakersfield finished the season at 11-2 and winning nine straight games, but a pair of early-season losses kept them out of any real chance at capturing the national title.

For San Francisco, it was the seventh time in eight years the Rams have finished in the top-10 in the final JCGridiron.com Dirty 30 Rankings. San Francisco has finished in the Dirty 30 final rankings in all eight seasons, but has yet to capture the elusive title with close calls in 2011 (2), 2010 (4), 2009 (4) and 2007 (3).

For Bakersfield, it tied for the best finish ever for the Renegades as they also finished No. 4 in 2007. Bakersfield has now finished in the top-15 on five occasions.

Iowa Western had arguably one of the better offenses in junior college football history, scoring 61.45 points-per game over the course of the season. The Reivers currently have 16 different players with D1 offers, and were led by quarterback Jake Waters.

The sensational sophomore finished with a 73.3 completion percentage for the year, an NJCAA record. His top weapon was wide receiver Deon Long, who committed early to Maryland before reeling in 100 balls for 1,626 yards and 25 touchdowns. No. 3 receiver Martize Barr committed to Illinois in August while running back Aaron Wimberly committed to Iowa State the same month.

The offensive line has three sophomore with D1 offers, including both tackle Dallas Hinkhouse and guard Mike Smithburg, who have Big Ten and Big 12 visits lined up before the end of the year.

Sandwiched in-between Iowa Western and California champion Bakersfield were Butte College (CA) and Snow College (UT). The Roadrunners from Butte finished at No. 2 in the rankings but were left out of the California playoffs due to a crazy playoff format that allows just two of 33 teams in the northern half of the state to make the playoffs.

Butte defeated San Francisco on the final day of the regular season, but lost a conference game earlier in the season to No. 29 De Anza to squelch their chances of a state title run.

The No. 3 Badgers from Snow had an early season loss when taking a cross-country trip to Georgia Military, but then bounced back to win nine straight games, including a Western States League title win over power Arizona Western and a big bowl win in New York against Northeast Conference champion ASA.

Rounding out the top-10 were Butler County (KS), Mt. San Antonio (CA), Navarro (TX), ASA (NY), San Francisco (CA) and Riverside (CA).

It was the fifth time in eight years that a program from the NJCAA had won the Dirty 30 national title. Other winners include Glendale (AZ) in 2005, Blinn (TX) in 2006, Gulf Coast (MS) & Butler County (KS) in 2007 (co-champions), Butte (CA) in 2008, Mt. San Antonio (CA) in both 2009 and 2010 and East Mississippi in 2011.

Congrats to Iowa Western, the JCGridiron.com Dirty 30 national champions for 2012!

To view the entire JCGridiron.com Dirty 30 Rankings, click on the appropriate link in the above grey box.

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