It's a rematch in the MCAC state football semifinals as Rochester Community and Technical College will host Dakota College for the second straight year.
The last time Rochester Community and Technical College and Dakota College met in football was one year ago in the MCAC state semifinals.
RCTC prevailed 24-21 in overtime in that game to advance to the state finals. After the game there was some bad blood between the teams and an altercation ensued. As a result, the teams dismissed a total of five players from their squads, including three from RCTC.
"We took one from them in overtime last year," RCTC coach Bill Quistorff said.
Now one year later they meet once again in the state semifinals, and again in Rochester. This time Dakota College comes in with a modest 6-3 record while RCTC is 9-0 and has moved to the top of the rankings in the NJCAA Top 20 poll.
"I don't even know what to say about that," Quistorff said of climbing to the top of the rankings. "We're really excited about that but we keep telling the guys rankings aren't going to get the job done on the field."
RCTC is two wins away from possibly playing for the national title. And while the Yellowjackets are looking for that opportunity, Dakota College would like nothing better then to end RCTC's dream season. The Yellowjackets also realize they can't let last year's feud carry over into this game.
"Once you get to call yourself No. 1, you don't really want to let that go," Quistorff said. "It's a good feeling."
The game will be at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Rochester Regional Sports Stadium. The other semifinal features fourth-ranked Central Lakes (8-1) at No. 18 North Dakota State College of Science (7-2).
Not only is RCTC the top-ranked team in the country, but sophomore quarterback Nick Rooney has ascended to No. 1 among all junior college quarterbacks with 43 touchdown passes this season. Rooney has passed for 3,246 yards this season and has 91 career TD passes.
Dakota College will have to try and find a way to slow Rooney and the top-flight RCTC offense. D.C. was No. 2 in the Western Division in defense during the season, allowing just over 199 yards a game. RCTC enters averaging more than 500 yards and 50 points a game on offense.
"I don't think their secondary is as good this year," Quistorff said. "I'm not saying their not good, but last year they were in a different league."
Quistorff said the Yellowjackets want to play the game fast and physical.
Dakota College will also have to find enough offense to try and outscore the Yellowjackets. Dakota averaged just over 200 yards of offense during the regular season and is averaging a modest 18.9 points a game.
"We know they're going to try to come out and run the football on us and their defense will get after it," Quistorff said.
RCTC's defense will get a boost as safety Victor Rivera returns from an injury. "He's a huge guy; he always goes to the ball," Quistorff said.
This will also be the Yellowjackets' final home game of the season. If they win, they would play in the MCAC state championship game next Sunday in St. Cloud.
"Our guys want to finish unbeaten here and leave their mark on their home field," Quistorff said.