The Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College Thunder Football team wrapped up their 2019 season with a heartbreaking, last-minute 41-36 loss to Minnesota West Technical and Community College last Saturday, October 19. The Thunder scored with 3:03 remaining in the fourth quarter to take a 36-33 lead heading into the game’s final minutes. Minnesota West answered with a long drive and scored with 41 seconds remaining and then held on defensively to close out the Thunder’s season.
The Thunder fell behind 13-0 quickly in the first quarter but battled back to closely trail 25-22 at halftime. The two teams traded scoring points until the final minutes in a game full of offensive highlights.
“Our team showed great resilience, getting down early yet fighting back to make this a good game,” said Thunder Head Coach Robert Smith. “Our offensive moved the ball effectively during the second quarter and scoring to take the lead with three minutes to play put us in a position to win.”
Leading the Thunder offensive statistics was wide receiver Roderick Washington with nine receptions for 158 yards and three touchdowns plus three two-point conversion catches. Washington, a 6’6” sophomore from Del Valle High School in Austin, Texas, accounted for 24 of the 36 Thunder points in the season finale. Quarterback Danny Jackson made 23 of 48 attempts for 330 yards with four touchdown passes. Wide receiver Dominic Smith added seven catches for 88 yards and a touchdown. Running back Josh Anderson had seven carries for 58 yards and three receptions for 28 yards.
Leading the Thunder defensive statistics were freshman defensive end Jhanviey Nichols from Broadmoore High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with 2.5 sacks and one additional tackle for loss, posting five total tackles in the game as a pass rushing specialist. Defensive tackle Rayshaad Roddy added 2.5 sacks and eight total tackles. Linebackers DJ Buckhanan and Trayvis Smith each had eleven total tackles in the game.
Unfortunately, the Thunder forfeited their three victories this season due to an ineligible player taking part in those wins. Despite finishing 3-6 according to the scoreboard, the Thunder officially end up 0-9 for the season.
“It’s too bad we discovered the ineligible player situation in the middle of the season,” said Coach Smith. “We fielded a competitive team with the three scoreboard wins and three close losses when we were in a position to win. Overall, we had a lot of quality players, many who will go on to play at the next level. We played well, and produced some nice highlights and memories for our fans and players. We’re already looking forward to our 2020 season.”
The Thunder’s 2019 season was filled with individual player recognition and success. Six different Thunder players earned Minnesota College Athletic Conference Eastern Division Athlete of the Week honors, the most ever in program history. Defensive end Jhanviey Nichols led the nation with 15.5 sacks and defensive tackle Rayshaad Roddy was third in the nation with 12.5 sacks. Wide receiver Mason Klinger was third in the nation averaging 98.9 receiving yards per game. Linebacker DJ Buckhanan was second in the nation with 84 total tackles. Linebacker Trayvis Smith ranked 15th in the nation with 71 total tackles. Wide receivers Mason Klinger and Roderick Washington were tied for fifth in the nation with seven receiving touchdowns each. Quarterback Danny Jackson ranked third in the MCAC in both total yards and touchdown passes.
The Thunder offense was ranked first in passing yards and touchdowns in the Minnesota College Athletic Conference and was ranked second in the nation in total passing yards and was ranked first in total passing touchdowns. Statistics are according to the official rankings on the NJCAA website.
Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College is a member of the Minnesota College Athletic Conference and the National Junior College Athletic Association. The MCAC football conference includes 11 teams which are divided geographically into Eastern and Western Divisions.


It is awesome here at the FDLTCC Education Program because it is like a family here, if you need help or are struggling with anything, you have quite a few people who will help you out.

I chose FDLTCC because of its size and the curriculum. When I first came here in 2019, I was just looking for what I needed to volunteer, perhaps in a crisis shelter. I met with Don Jarvinen, and the rest is history.

My favorite thing about FDLTCC is the people. I’ve met fantastic students, faculty and staff who go above and beyond what I expected.