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October 5, 2012

JUNIOR COLLEGE FOOTBALL: It’s now or never

TVCC faces must-win against high-powered NEO

ATHENS — The word of the week around the football field house at Trinity Valley Community College is “finish.”

Not the season — in the midst of a four-game losing streak, that’s too far off and frankly, too irrelevant, to think about at this point.

The Cardinals (2-4, 0-3) and head coach Brad Smiley are only thinking about finishing this game, this week. If they can’t, there’s nothing left to say.

They’ll be finished.

The Cardinals will host the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M Golden Norsemen (4-1, 1-1) Saturday in a 3 p.m. start at Bruce Field. A loss will all but eliminate the banged-up, last-place Cards.

“Right now it’s just about doing what we need to do to get the win,” TVCC head coach Brad Smiley said. “We just want to get in (the playoffs) and see what happens.”

Smiley said his staff almost immediately began talking with the team about its need to finish games after last week’s 21-10 loss to Navarro. The Cardinals held a 10-0 lead going into the fourth quarter, and they were still ahead, 10-7, with a little less than seven minutes left before Navarro scored twice over the final 6:25.

The prior week, the Cardinals led then-winless Cisco heading into the fourth quarter. TVCC ended up losing on the final play of the game.

The Norsemen know a little something about scoring. They’re averaging 44.6 points per game — a resume that includes last week’s 65-59 double-overtime loss to Tyler.

An offense that averages 476 yards per game is led by the second-leading quarterback in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference, Clayton Mitchem. Mitchem is 68 of 102 for 1,000 yards with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions.

Running back Gerald Howse is the second-leading rusher in the conference with 97 attempts for 452 yards and nine touchdowns. Michael Thompson, a receiver, returned two kickoff returns 95 yards for touchdowns last week.

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