The McNeese Cowboys were the sixth-ranked football team heading into the 1997 1-AA championship game.

Nate Greene YouTube
Nate Greene YouTube

Legendary McNeese head football coach Bobby Keasler led the Cowboys into battle against the number eighth-ranked Youngstown State Penguins coached by Jim Tressel.

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I'm in THE RANCH: McNeese Cowboy Sports Fans group on Facebook and someone posted some awesome Poke memorabilia from the past and it immediately made me think of the 1997 championship game.

THE RANCH Facebook Group
THE RANCH Facebook Group

The game was played on December 20, 1997, and was the first I-AA title game contested at Finley Stadium, the home field of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

The Pokes finished the regular season 10–1 record (6–1 in conference) and the Penguins had a 9–2 record (4–2 in conference).

Most McNeese fans will remember "the drop" from that season, however, what a magical ride to the championship that year was. McNeese downed the hated #11 Montana Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs and then defeated #2 Western Illinois, and #4Deleware to make it to the championship game.

The KPLC sports team was there, Marty Briggs and Sal DelCid, alongside the Cowboy faithful that made the trek to Tennessee:

The Cowboys lost a heartbreaker that day by a score of 10-9. I remember watching the game at home and going straight to bed after the game. I just couldn't deal with that much sadness.

Share your memories with us about the 1997 season and the championship game on the comments of our Facebook post.

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