Stealing from the classic Bogart movie “Casablanca,” could the Midwest Classic Bowl be “the beginning of a beautiful friendship?”

NEO has played a number of the schools in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference over the years.

Coffeyville has been a regular on the Norse schedule off and on over the years and the Dec. 2 bowl game at Red Robertson Field will be the eighth meeting of the Grizzlies and NEO.

Over the years, even before they joined the Southwest Junior College Football Conference, there’s been talk of Northeastern A&M moving to the KJCCC, but nothing has come to fruition.

The Norsemen have been an SWJCFC since 1995, and has played 25 games vs. Kansas schools since then.

The first time the Norsemen faced a Kansas opponent? That was in 1920 when the School of Mines lost 56-0 to Fort Scott Junior College.

Could more games be looming in the future?

“That question probably goes above my head, but I always want to challenge ourselves against the best,” NEO head coach Zach Allen said at the Thursday, Nov. 15 press conference to announce the pairing. Like Coach Schaffner said about his conference and the meat grinder that it is, we feel the same way and there are no off-weeks in our conference here. It’s only natural to start the discussions to try to play a few more of those games.

In my 10 years at NEO we’ve played Garden a few times, highland a few times and Coffeyville a few times and its always a heckuva battle.

“If there ever was a possibility, I would always be up for it.”

Schaffner wouldn’t mind it either.

“I know just from talking to Coach Flores at Coffeyville and of course, Coach Brown at Independence, there are some geographic alliances that set up,” Schaffner said. “As I went back and did my history, there were some awfully good games dating back to the ’81 championship game. It only seems to make sense. We are connected to NEO with Coach (Ryan) Held, who was with you all.

Held was offensive coordinator at Butler in 2011 then was the head coach at NEO in 2014 and ’15.

In between, Held was head coach at KJCCC member Highland.

His Scotties suffered a 42-14 loss to the Norsemen at Highland in 2013 and then the following season was patrolling the sideline as NEO head coach.

Midwest Classic Bowl


Butler (Kansas) Community College vs. Northeastern Oklahoma A&M


Sunday, Dec. 2, 2 p.m.


Red Robertson Field


Butler 7-4 (5-2 in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference, 3rd), NEO 8-3 (5-2 in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference, 2nd)

Last week

Garden City 22, Butler 10; Kilgore 62, NEO 19

Last meeting

Butler 34, NEO 24 (2001)

Series record

Butler leads 4-3, dating back to 1981