KJCCC teams up with Wichita Wind Surge to play football at Riverfront Stadium

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WICHITA – The Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference has announced a partnership with the Wichita Wind Surge to play the 2021 KJCCC Conference Championship game at Riverfront Stadium on Sunday, November 21.

The talk and the wind wave were announced this Thursday afternoon at the Fidelity Bank Bravely Onward Club at Riverfront Stadium.

The KJCCC returns to the playoff format which has been well received by conference members after some close calls in the standings and the addition of the NJCAA football playoffs helps ensure that a KJCCC team is represented in the national qualifiers.

“The Riverfront Stadium was designed and built as a multi-purpose venue,” said Jordan Kobritz, CEO of Wind Surge. “When the KJCCC approached us with the idea of ​​hosting their 2021 conference championship game in Wichita, we said, ‘Why not? “We had baseball and now we’re going to have the first game of football.”

The format of the conference playoffs is that of each team that qualifies from the conference, where they will be ranked 1 through 8, with the highest seeded host. Then the highest seed will be the host while No.1 against No.8 will play, No.4 against No.5 and 2 against No.7 will play No.3 against n ° 6. The two winners of the semi-final matches will meet at Riverfront in what should be a game of play included.

Wichita Wind Surge Partner / CEO Jordan Kobritz speaks at Thursday's press conference highlighting the announcement of Riverfront Stadium hosting the KJCCC Conference Tournament Championship game on Sunday, November 21, 2021 at 1 p.m. .

The conference made the decision to bring the conference playoffs back in the offseason after not having it in the past seven seasons. Previously, the playoffs were a four-team system, with the highest seed hosting each round. Butler won the last playoff, a 24-21 victory over Hutchinson.

The following season, the KJCCC made its agreement with the ICCAC and thus ended the playoffs. The two conferences should renew their agreement and will be scheduled again regularly.

“It depends a lot on whether the NJCAA will allow us to play so many games,” said KJCCC president Carl Heinrich. “We would like to keep it, but that’s for them to decide.”

Currently, there are only a limited number of games you can play in the regular season. The question will be whether the NJCAA will consider these games to be regular season or post-season games, even if they are conference playoff games.

For both conferences, playing against each other adds an advantage to overplaying a non-NJCAA school. It looks better on leaderboards because they are computerized and offer better competitive games.

“Maybe we can get the NJCAA to see the two regions go against each other in a kind of game match,” said Henrich. “It’s a thought we had.”

An idea that comes together

The idea that had been on the minds of conference attendees since the inception of Riverfront Stadium was really set in motion when Hutchinson CC coach Drew Dallas threw the first pitch in a Wind Surge match. this season. Kobritz told Dallas if there was anything he could do to get him to reach out and Dallas came back with “it would be nice to play a game of football here.”

From there, Dallas put the Wind Surge in touch with Hutchinson CC athletic director Josh Gooch, who conveyed the idea to the conference.

“We had a meeting and frankly it was probably the easiest deal we have ever made,” Kobritz said. “They (KJCCC) were really excited, they were really determined to do something unique.”

Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple comments during Thursday's press conference on the announcement that Riverfront Stadium will host the KJCCC championship football game on Sunday, November 21, 2021 at 1 p.m. ET.

During the construction of the stadium, the idea arose of leading the pitch to the central field and Kobritz, who was part of the design team during the construction, said that was not happening, forcing the adjusting the left field fence to be deep enough and straight enough to put a field on the baseball field.

After consulting with their field goalie, Ben Hartman, an estimate was made and the price would have to be high to put the game down, just south of $ 100,000.

“We are approaching this realistically because we risk losing money,” Kobritz said. “We hope to break even, but you have to spend money to make money. We are going there with our fingers crossed.”

Local community colleges will help with production of the game as planned, Butler’s Tyler Nordman and his staff will help with the game’s dissemination and the Hutchinson staff led by Steve Carpenter will handle game day operations, such as statistics. and others.

Following:NJCAA regional basketball tournament moves to Tony Events Center in Salina for 2022 season

Playoff history

In the 23 years of the playoffs, also known as the Region VI playoffs, only Highland has never won a conference playoff championship. Butler won 17 of the 33 that were played.

It was a four-team playoff until 1990, when it expanded to an eight-team format. Meanwhile, Garden City has won its five championships. Four different teams have won a championship in the 15 years of the 8-team format.

The conference reverted to the four-team format in 2006, which is where Butler dominated, winning seven of eight championships until the end of the playoffs in 2013. Fort Scott won the championship in 2009, beating Butler 13- 12.

Kansas Jayhawk Community College conference commissioner Carl Heinrich speaks during Thursday's press conference at Riverfront Stadium.  The Wichita Surge and KJCCC have announced that the Jayhawk Conference Tournament Championship game will take place at Riverfront Stadium on Sunday, November 21, 2021 at 1 p.m.

Potential bowl game NJCAA

Another reason for the partnership is to potentially bring an NJCAA bowl game to Riverfront Stadium. While Kansas has seen its share of bowl games, such as the Citizen’s Bank Bowl (Pittsburg), Dalton Defenders Bowl (Coffeyville) and Salt City Bowl (Hutch) still active, to name a few. .

One of the biggest obstacles to getting a bowl game at Riverfront is a title sponsor. If the league can find a sponsor, it will host a bowl game in downtown Wichita.

While there aren’t many bowl games in the NJCAA, there were only five the last time the NJCAA played bowl games, which could provide another opportunity to reward teams. in the playoffs while they participate in the national playoffs.

“It was supposed to be versatile,” Kobritz said. “The other thing is, if you can put a soccer field there, you can also put a hockey rink (and) a soccer field there.”

Before his passing, Wind Surge majority owner Lou Schwechheimer said they would have other activities at the stadium when baseball was not being played – and he mentioned football. While a college game was never mentioned, there was talk of high school teams playing games.

Currently, there are no plans to play high school games at the stadium, but that is not completely ruled out.

“Depending on how much gray hair or how much I have left after this game, this might be the only football game in history at the waterfront multi-purpose stadium,” Kobritz said. jokingly. “Seriously, we’re all excited about this.”

Following:How NJCAA Football Expanded Its Playoff Format

Playing soccer games on a soccer field is no real mystery to soccer fans, nor is it playing college soccer in Wichita, as Butler played at Cessna Stadium in the State of Wichita and the Region VI Championship have been there a few times, including 2005-2008. .

This is the layout for the championship game

The pitch will run north and south, with the third baseline as the sideline. The conference said that with the left field fence being straight, it provides the right dimensions for playing football in the stadium.

Hartman will be putting sod in the infield so the players don’t slip on the dirt like everyone would see at Oakland Colosseum.

Tickets will go on sale from 10:00 a.m. Friday at https://www.milb.com/wichita. Tickets will start at $ 20.

“This is going to be very exciting for Wichita and the surrounding communities,” Kobritz said. “This could be an important recruiting tool as local high schools will be able to see the most talented NJCAA teams in a championship venue.”

Quarter-finals KJCCC

Sunday November 7

Match 1: seed 8 to seed 1

Match 2: seed # 5 to seed # 4

Match 3: seeded # 7 to seeded # 2

Match 4: seed # 6 to seed # 3

KJCCC semi-finals

Sunday November 14

Game 5: Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2, higher seeded hosts

Game 6: Winner of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 4, higher seeded hosts

KJCCC Championship Match

Sunday November 21

Winner of game 5 vs. winner of game 6

Charles Chaney has been Sports Editor for the Butler County Times-Gazette since August 2019. He can be reached at cchaney@butlercountytimesgazette.com or on Twitter at @ChuckChaneyBCTG.



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