The No. 17-ranked Trinity Valley Community College Cardinals have a chance this week to upset another top five ranked team on Homecoming/Hall of Fame day at Bruce Field this Saturday.
The No. 3-ranked TJC Apaches come to town with an undefeated record at 7-0 overall and 4-0 in Southwest Junior College Football Conference play.
Kickoff for the game is set for 3 p.m. with homecoming festivities to begin around 2:40 p.m.
“It adds to an atmosphere and there will be more people there, both bands will be there and I think this has an opportunity to be a big time atmosphere,” Seven-year head coach Brad Smiley said. “It will be a good crowd because of homecoming and the hall of famers being inducted.”
With a win on Saturday, the Cardinals will avenge a 37-16 loss to the Apaches last year and seal a big goal in their season
“Right now, all that matters to us is that we are playing for the regular season championship, the No. 1 seed and home field advantage throughout the playoffs,” Smiley said. “That is what we are looking forward to and that is what we are playing for this week.”
The Trinity Valley Cardinals (5-2, 4-1) defense has played huge this season under defensive coordinator Will Reed.
The defense has held offenses to 312.7 yards per game and will face the conference’s second leading rusher and offensive player of the week in sophomore Leroy Dobbins. He rushed for 120 yards and a season-high four touchdowns against Cisco last week.
“There is no question they are a great offensive team with a lot of playmakers,” Smiley said. “Leroy Dobbins leads this conference in rushing yards per game and he is up there in the country.
Smiley said the defense will also need to be focused on quarterbacks Randy Price and Matt Davis. Price has thrown 13 touchdowns to only six interceptions, while Davis has thrown five touchdowns in three games this season.
“The quarterbacks can throw it really well or they can pull it down and hurt you with their feet.”
Another player that brings concern to Smiley is sophomore Lamar Carraway.
Carraway is currently fourth in receiving behind TVCC’s Green, Jarvis Baxter and Franky Okafor in total receptions.
“Lamar Carraway is probably the most exciting athlete that there is in this conference,” Smiley said. “He is a guy that is second in the conference in kickoff returns behind Tata Green and he is first in punt returns ahead of D’Nerius Antione.”
Trinity Valley will be led offensively by sophomore quarterback Ryan Polite — who has 2,136 passing yards, 18 touchdowns and six interceptions in seven games this season.
Smiley said his keys to the game are the same as they have been all season.
“Defensively, we need to put them in long situations. I think early down success is key on defense,” Smiley said. “Offensively for me it will be our execution and ball security. That is priority No. 1 for us and the turnover battle will be huge.”
Defensively, the Cardinals are led by Joshua Pickett with 70 tackles, Courtney Finney with 53 tackles and Antione with 44 tackles.
Notes: The game between TVCC and TJC will be streamed online at www.ihigh.com/tvcc. .... KCKL 95.9 FM will also be broadcasting the game, with pre game starting around 2:30 p.m. ... The Athens Daily Review will also have twitter updates throughout the game at https://twitter.com/AthensReviewSpo. ... The sixth class of the Cardinal Hall of Fame will also be inducted at 11 a.m. in the Student Union Ballroom. The class consists of Carl Andress, Lakiste Barkus, Scott Williams, Carlton Booe, Angela Ortega, and Fabian Stegall. ... This is the final conference game of the year for the Cardinals as they wrap up the regular season next week at home against Southeast Prep. The game is scheduled to kickoff at 3 p.m.
Season Conf. PF PA
Tyler 7-0 4-0 314 160
TVCC 5-2 4-1 270 103
Kilgore 3-4 3-2 168 186
Navarro 5-2 2-2 300 90
Blinn 3-4 2-4 186 193
NEO 2-5 0-4 224 231
Cisco 1-5 0-4 124 232
This Week’s Games: Tyler at TVCC, 3 p.m.; Cisco at NEO, 2 p.m.; Navarro at Blinn, 3 p.m.; SW Prep at Kilgore, 3 p.m.