The Navarro Bulldogs scored three times in the fourth quarter to rally past the Trinity Valley Community College Cardinals, 21-10, at rain-soaked Bruce Field Saturday.
And just like that, the Cardinals are in red-alert mode.
TVCC (2-4) dropped its fourth game in a row and is now 0-3 in Southwest Junior College Football Conference play with three games left.
For the Cards to have a shot at making the conference playoffs, which begin November 3, they’re very likely going to have to win their final three games.
That stretch starts Saturday at home against Northeastern Oklahoma and ends with a home game against Blinn and a road game at Tyler. Tyler and NEO are the highest-scoring teams in the conference heading into this weekend’s games.
Saturday’s game against Navarro had no chance of being high scoring, with sheets of rain falling non-stop for three hours. Even so, the Cardinals held a 10-0 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs (4-1, 2-1 in SWJCFC) finally got on the board about three minutes into the fourth on a 1-yard run from Traylon Shead — a former Cayuga product who transferred from the University of Texas. Patrick Sohrt’s PAT trimmed the TVCC lead to 10-7.
The teams traded fumbles three minutes later, with Navarro handing the ball to TVCC on the Cardinal 41, and then TVCC handing it back three plays later on the Navarro 49. Those miscues were two of 12 fumbles combined for the teams.
The Bulldogs drove the remainder of the field in seven plays and took a 14-10 lead on Stump Godfrey’s two-yard plunge on first-and-goal. The drive was helped along by a pair of TVCC personal fouls.
Shead applied the finishing touches with 5:19 left when he took a handoff 80 yards for a score on the first play of Navarro’s next drive to push the lead to 21-10.
The Cardinals never could get re-started after halftime. They managed just 53 yards of offense in the second half — with 47 of those coming in the final five minutes.
Instead of scores, the Cardinals had a string of near-misses that haunted them when they needed points to keep up in the second half. They started four drives in Navarro territory in the first half — including one from the Bulldog 8 and one from the Bulldog 4 — and managed just three points on a 29-yard field goal by Saul Martinez.
Their final drive of the half ended with a lost fumble at the Navarro 29, and at the beginning of the second quarter, Davonte McMillian appeared ready to return an interception for a touchdown until he was knocked down by his own teammate at the Navarro 8. TVCC failed to score on the drive.
Navarro 21, Trinity Valley 10
Navarro 0 0 0 21 — 21
TVCC 7 3 0 0 — 10
T — Javia Hall 1 run (Saul Martinez kick), 9:31
T — Martinez 29 FG, 4:49
N — Traylon Shead 1 run (Patrick Sohrt kick), 12:47
N — Stump Godfrey 2 run (Sohrt kick), 6:25
N — Shead 80 run (Sohrt kick), 5:19
First downs 16 8
Rush-yards 64-266 43-82
Passing yards 32 51
C-A-I 3-9-1 7-18-0
Fumbles-lost 6-4 6-2
Punts-avg. 4-28.7 6-40.5
Penalties-yards 10-62 4-48
Rushing — NC: Traylon Shead 21-179; Stump Godfrey 8-(-2); Tyler Middleton 2-(-2); Tony Drake 12-48; Tim Wright 17-78; team 4-(-35). TVCC: Rufus Mason 13-49; Thad Stewart 17-59; Javia Hall 5-(-3); Andrew Robinson 4-1; Vedial Johnson 1-(-1); team 3-(-23).
Passing — NC: Stump Godfrey 3-9-1-32. TVCC: Javia Hall 7-18-0-51.
Receiving — NC: Tyler Middleton 1-4; Gerard Shillow 1-14; Traylon Shead 1-14. TVCC: Buddy Nunn 1-0; Cade Carter 1-0; Adrian Henderson 2-33; Drew Hellreigel 2-6; Anterrie Maxey 1-12.
Season Conf. PF PA
Kilgore 5-0 3-0 172 110
Navarro 4-1 2-1 206 103
Tyler 3-2 1-1 225 146
NEO 4-1 1-1 223 136
Blinn 2-2 1-1 138 118
Cisco 1-4 1-2 73 160
TVCC 2-4 0-3 170 135