The Athens Review
The No. 10-ranked Trinity Valley Community College Cardinals punched their ticket to the Southwest Junior College Football Conference title game with a 38-7 thumping over the Blinn College Buccaneers Saturday afternoon at Bruce Field.
With the win, the Cardinal football team is 8-2 going into regional title game and has won seven straight games for the first time since 1998.
“The defense played awesome,” seven-year head coach Brad Smiley said. “That is two games against Blinn that minus the first quarter when we lost some focus and concentration at their place they stayed focused.”
TVCC will now face off against the No. 15 Navarro College Bulldogs (8-2) — who defeated No. 7 Tyler Junior College Apaches, 33-24, in the other semifinal Saturday.
The championship game is set for Saturday at 3 p.m. at Bruce Field.
“We did not play real well in the first half in the first matchup,” Smiley said. “Trinity Valley needs to have a good week of preparation. If we can do that, we feel like we have a good chance to beat anybody.”
TVCC put together an impressive second half against Blinn as they outscored the Buccaneers, 28-7. TVCC held a 10-0 lead at the half on a two-yard touchdown run by Ryan Polite and a 40-yard field goal by Dylan McLain to end the second quarter.
Smiley said during the half time chat, the coaches stressed the importance of winning the second half.
“We talked about that we have a 30-minute second half left to play,” Smiley said. “We told them to go out there and win the second half and play for a championship.”
TVCC was playing without the services of the conference’s leading receiver in freshman Tata Green. Smiley said he hopes to have Green back for the title game this week.
Freshman Jarvis Baxter filled the hole with his best game of the season hauling in 12 catches for 202 yards and two touchdowns.
After a 10-yard touchdown run by Blinn’s Klartel Claridy, Baxter put the game out of reach with back-to-back touchdown grabs.
He capped off a two-play, 59-yard drive with a 54-yard reception with 12:25 remaining in the third quarter. His second touchdown was a 42-yard pitch and catch from Polite with 3:31 remaining.
“Jarvis Baxter made some plays and Ryan Polite made some plays with his arm,” Smiley said. “The offensive line protected him (Polite) and I think they have only given up six sacks in 400 pass attempts.”
With the dangerous return game of the Cardinals, sophomore punt returner D’Nerius Antione scored his third touchdown of the season with a 47-yard punt return for the 31-7 lead in the third quarter.
Freshman wide receiver Paul Barksdale capped off the TVCC scoring with a nine-yard reception from Polite with 12:37 remaining. McLain drilled his fifth PAT good for the 38-7 finale.
The TVCC defense held Claridy to 90-yards on 14 carries. Blinn wide receiver Darrion Landry was held to 47 yards on four receptions. TVCC’s Seth Culp and Josh Scroggins had interceptions against Kimble in the game.
TVCC 38, Blinn 7
Blinn 0 0 7 0 — 7
TVCC 0 10 21 7 — 38
T — Ryan Polite 2 run (Dylan McLain kick) 1:25
T — McLain 40 FG 0:00
B — Klartel Claridy 10 run (Brett Kocian kick) 13:08
T — Jarvis Baxter 54 from Polite (McLain kick) 12:25
T — Baxter 42 from Polite (McLain kick) 3:31
T — D’Nerius Antione 47 punt return (McLain kick) 2:18
T — Paul Barksdale 9 from Polite (McLain kick) 12:37
First downs 16 25
Rush-yards 35-154 39-128
Passing yards 116 304
C-A-I 16-34-2 24-40-0
Fumbles-lost 2-0 0-0
Punts-avg. 8-35.5 6-31.8
Penalties-yards 16-141 13-125
Rushing — B: Klartel Claridy 14-90, Garry Kimble 10-39, Spencer Cowley 9-27, Kaylon Melancon 1-5, Logan Vinklarek 1-(-7). T: Monty James 6-26, Ryan Polite 9-26, Jeff Harris 4-24, Tavarreon Dickerson 5-15, Marquel McNac 6-14, Josh Caldwell 2-12, Luis Lopez 4-9, Jarvis Baxter 1-2, Franky Okafor 1-1, Trent Momon 1-(-1).
Passing — B: Kimble 13-29-2-91. Vinklarek 3-4-25, Melancon 0-1. T: Polite 24-34-304, Monty James 0-1.
Receiving — B: Darrion Landry 4-47, Melancon 5-29, Dean Johnson 3-27, Claridy 1-8, Cowley 3-5. T: Baxter 12-202, Barksdale 4-51, Nate Pickett 2-34, Christian Taylor 1-9, Okafor 2-5, Momon 1-3, Dickerson 1-0, Ricardo Barnett 1-0.