In front of a record-setting crowd of over 4,200 fans at Red Roberston Field in Miami, Okla. on Sunday, Dec. 3, the Independence Community College Pirates defeated the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College Norsemen 30-20. The capacity crowd nor the scope of the game was ever too big for ICC, having been followed all season long by the Netflix documentary crew from "Last Chance U." 

The final game for the Pirates in 2017 should make for great television, as there was a great deal of action, some hard hits, and even some drama that would help to tie up the season in a nice little package. Indy took an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter and never trailed the Norsemen on their home field. ICC led by as much as ten in the first half before NEO A&M cut their advantage to three heading into halftime.

Northeastern won the coin toss and elected to defer, giving the Pirates the ball first. Indy stalled on their opening drive, going three and out and being forced to punt. However, ICC's Kirkland Joseph dove on the muffed punt and gave his team excellent field position inside the Norse 30 yard line. ICC once again found themselves in a fourth and long situation, lining up a fake field goal and forcing NEO to call their first timeout. Indy quarterback Drake Smith's fourth down pass fell incomplete and the Norsemen took over for their first drive of the game.

Coming up big in the bowl game, the Pirate defense had a great fourth down stop inside their own territory as ICC defenders swarmed the NEO receiver for a loss. The teams traded possessions once again before the Pirates found the endzone on their next drive. Smith connected with freshman receiver Marqwell Odom for 56 yards to move Indy inside the five, then Jamal Scott plowed in from three yards out to put the visitors ahead 7-0 with 3:18 left in the first quarter.

Independence's defense continued to step up, forcing a punt on their next possession. Midwest Classic Bowl MVP Rakeem Boyd got things going with a big 46 yard run to the NEO 34 yard line, but Smith's pass was intercepted on the very next play. The Norsemen responded on their next drive, marching into Indy territory as time expired in the first period. On their first play of the second, NEO got a nine yard rushing touchdown to tie the game at 7-7.

Not to be outdone, the ICC offense put the team back in the lead with a 10 play, 73-yard drive which ate up just over four minutes off the clock. Boyd had 21 yards and crossed the goal line from the three to put the Pirates up 14-7 with 10:46 to go before the half. Smith also found Carlos Thompson on a third-and-seven for 12 yards and a huge fourth down shovel pass that picked up 24 yards and put Indy in scoring range for Boyd's touchdown plunge.

Sophomore cornerback Delrick Abrams came up with two big plays back-to-back, taking down the kick returner with a shoestring tackle and then intercepting the NEO A&M pass on the very next play to give ICC the ball back with just over ten and a half minutes in the second. Independence kicker Nino Alibegic then increased the cushion to ten points on a 34 yard field goal with 6:44 to go in the second stanza.

The hosts retaliated with a touchdown on their next sequence, moving down the field with four separate pass plays of over 25 yards interspersed with a couple of offensive penalties. The score came on a 29 yard yard pass play to bring the ICC lead to 17-14 with 3:42 to play in the half. The second quarter ended with a scare for the Pirates as Drake Smith went down hard on the final play of the half.

Smith was in good shape coming out of the locker room, as was the ICC defense. Once again, they stopped the Norse on a fourth down attempt inside their own territory, taking over at the 34 yard line. Boyd then ripped off a 66 yard run for the score to put the Pirates back up by ten, 24-14, with 12:47 to play in the third. Rakeem was not done yet, adding a one yard scoring run with 1:08 in the third period to put his team ahead 30-14.

Closing out the third on an wild sequence, Indy's Zedrick Raymond picked off the NEO pass, but the Norse recovered a fumble on the return to take back over on the ICC 24. Northeastern needed just three plays to score, however the two-point attempt failed and Independence held a 30-20 lead with 14:24 remaining in regulation.

That would be the last score of the game, and the ICC defense had one last highlight in them on a fumble recovery by Tim Faison at their own five yard line. The final Pirate dagger came on a fourth and one with less than a minute to play after NEO A&M called their final timeout. Fittingly, it was Boyd who converted the fourth down try and secured the 30-20 victory.

The Midwest Classic Bowl is the first bowl win in program history, and caps off a tremendous season that saw the Pirates finish the season 9-2 and winning the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference crown for the first time in thirty years. Second-year Head Coach Jason Brown has already achieved a great deal of success in his short term at the helm, and has bigger things in store for the future of ICC Pirate Football.