By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (November 13, 2017) — Administrators of the Corsicana Bowl and of Tarleton State University have made it official. The Texans will compete in a postseason bowl game for the first time in more than three decades.
Tarleton administrators including President Dr. F. Dominic Dottavio and athletic director Lonn Reisman joined head football coach Todd Whitten in publicly accepting the invitation from Corsicana Bowl executive director Tony Taulton during a press conference Monday at Wisdom Gym.
The inaugural Corsicana Bowl pits Tarleton (6-5) against Central Oklahoma (7-4), with opening kickoff set for noon on Saturday, December 2 at Tiger Stadium in Corsicana. The event benefits Special Olympics of Navarro County and is presented by the Corsicana Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. News of the teams agreeing to participate in the event was released on Twitter just after 5 p.m. Sunday by both @corsicanabowl and @tarletonfb.
Corsicana Bowl Executive Director Tony Taulton has been responsible for much of the behind the scenes work making the inaugural bowl game a reality – from determining and negotiating the ideal location and finding sponsors to earning the approval of the NCAA and affiliated conferences. In the end, Taulton and staff have the Corsicana Bowl prepared to present teams from the Lone Star Conference and Mid-America Intercollegiate Association with the Great American Conference.
From his standpoint at Tarleton, Whitten says the location is ideal.
“It’s right in the middle of one of our best recruiting areas. Many of the years I’ve been here at Tarleton, a lot of our good student-athletes in football have come from that area, either because they are Navarro (College) kids there in Corsicana or they are junior college or high school kids from somewhere in that vicinity of the state,” said Whitten. “In fact, as we begin to get out to high schools the next couple weeks, we will be telling student-athletes from all around there about it so they have the opportunity to come and see us play.”
Whitten knows he isn’t alone in having strong ties to east Texas.
“My father lives in that area so I have family who will get to see us play and what we are about here at Tarleton, and we have a lot of players, students and alumni who are from that area or they have family there, and will be excited to get to see us play,” said Whitten. “One thing I know, is this great university will stand behind us and support us all the way.”
Tarleton won three straight games before closing out the regular season with hard-fought losses to top 10 opponents.
“I feel good about our guys. We’ve had the injury bug bite us a bit, but we have three or four weeks to get well. We played the number (four) team in the country and the champion of our conference and went overtime with Midwestern, then (on Saturday) we played (No. 8) Texas A&M-Commerce and took them right down to the wire. We also opened with Delta State and they ended up going 8-3 and I believe are the number four team in their region, so they are in the playoffs
.”We have played a tough schedule and I feel good about our guys and our team,’ I’ve scheduled nine workouts, first and foremost to get ready for Central Oklahoma, but also to give some of our new guys some good practice reps as well. Allin all i think our guys will be ready to go and I feel good about our team.