Athens Review, Athens, Texas

October 25, 2013

JUNIOR COLLEGE FOOTBALL: One more test

No. 10-ranked Cardinals welcome SE Prep

Joe Elerson
The Athens Review

Athens — The No. 10-ranked Trinity Valley Community College Cardinals come into Saturday regular season finale against Southeast Prep knowing where they stand in the post season.

Following a 55-31 win over Tyler Junior College last week, the Cardinals (6-2 overall) are now the outright No. 1 seed in the playoffs and regular season champions.

“Our punt return group did a great job, the kickoff squad gave us good field position and the kickoff return team was solid,” Seven-year coach Brad Smiley said. “I thought the punt team was very disappointing and we spent time on film work this past week.”

Smiley said the game against SE Prep is business as usual.

Southeast Prep is comprised of players who attend school at locations including San Jacinto and Lone Star College.

It’s not unlike a junior college, in that the roster is comprised of many players who were academic non-qualifiers to play at the Division I level coming out of high school.

Kickoff for the non-conference finale at Bruce Field is scheduled for 3 p.m.

“We don’t know a lot about them,” Smiley said. “We know they have struggled and we don’t know much about them personnel wise.”

Southest Prep (0-8) quarterback Ben Holmes has led the offense this season for the Spartans.

His favorite offensive target has been 6-3 wide receiver Alex Pina-Rhoden.

Rhoden caught both touchdowns in the Spartans 58-13 loss to Kilgore last weekend.

“They play extremely hard and they have good numbers and size,” Smiley said. “The quarterback is good and their receiver caught a couple of touchdowns against Kilgore last week. They have a defensive end that I really like.”

Smiley said defensively, the Cardinals will see a mix of spred and I-formation throughout the contest.

“They will spread out and run some I-formation football,” Smiley said. “We have to be sound and have our eyes where they are supposed to be.”

Sophomore quarterback Ryan Polite will once again led the Cardinals offense on Saturday after he was named the Offensive Player of the Week last week in the conference.

Polite completed 29 of 53 passes for 393 yards and three TDs and added 21 yards and one TD rushing against Tyler.

Polite has thrown for 2,429 yards with 21 touchdowns to only eight interceptions in eight games this season.

The receiving core of Tata Green, Jarvis Baxter and Franky Okafor continue to led the conference in receptions as they are No. 1, 3 and 4 respectively.

Green has 54 receptions with four touchdowns this season for the Cardinals.

Defensively, the Cardinals are led by Josh Pickett — who is currently fifth in the conference with 70 tackles in seven games this season.

Two players that could cause havoc for the SE Prep quarterback is Jhaustin Thomas with 9.5 sacks and Duval Jackson — who is second in the conference with eight sacks.  

Notes: Per Southwest Junior College football conference rules, all playoff games will begin at 3 p.m. The Cardinals will have home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The last three playoffs spot will be decided between four teams on Saturday. ... The game against SE Prep will be aired on KCKL radio, with pre-game scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m.