Andrew Henry

TVCC sophomore running back Andrew Henry fights through a Blinn defender in last week’s 31-14 victory at Bruce Field. Henry looks for another strong day Saturday at Navarro.

The final road game of this season takes place in the Highway 31 rivalry Saturday at Corsicana Tiger Stadium.

The No. 7-ranked Cardinals face the Navarro Bulldogs (3-3 overall, 3-3 in conference) at 1 p.m.

“I hope that we can come out and win some one-on-one battles,” TVCC coach Sherard Poteete said. “They are playing a lot of man defense the last few weeks and we have to win those battles. We have to have a big game out of our offensive line to push their defensive line around so we can run the football.”

Poteete said coming in at 5-1 overall and 4-1 in conference with the only loss being to Cisco, the guys have done an outstanding job of adjusting to this COVID season.

“I tell you what it has been good but not great,” Poteete said. “That one keeps it from being great. The kids have done a good job of coming out and adapting and overcoming adversity with playing on Thursday, Friday and Saturday this year. They are dealing with Easter and Finals and Mothers Day coming up. It is the springtime with a lot of thunder, lightning and rain and they have been flexible.”

The Bulldogs are currently tied for fourth with New Mexico Military Institute with one game to go.

“This is their last football game and they don’t play next week,” Poteete said. “This is it for them and it is their last game. Coach (Scott) Parr will have them ready to play and this is their momentum game going into the summer and spring forward into the Fall of 2021 season. They will be ready to play football.

Poteete said with them being the Highway 31 rivalry, the guys know each other and will be ready to hold home field as they average 40.8 points per game and 480.5 yards of offense.

“Navarro is good and they are a tough opponent,” Poteete said. “We can’t overlook them and look ahead to the next opponent. Their offense is explosive and throw it all over the field. They have some good athletes are receiver. We will have our hands full with them and they are giving up some points defensively.”

The Cardinals are currently third behind the No. 3-ranked Kilgore Rangers and the No. 5-ranked Cisco Wranglers at 5-0 in SWJCFC play.

“We have to take care of our business,” Poteete said. “That is what we have talked about this week with Navarro being our next opponent. It doesn’t matter what happens somewhere else or in two weeks. We have to take it one day at a time and make sure we get better at practice and focusing everything on Navarro.

Navarro currently has the top passer in the nation in yards per game in Dodge Delozier at 296 yards per contest. He is 108-of-175 with 12 touchdowns and five interceptions in four games this season. His 12 touchdowns are fourth in the nation.

“Their quarterback has done a good job of distributing the football,” Poteete said. “I think we will see whoever has the hot hand this week. It doesn’t matter and whoever goes out there can spin the football.”

Qua Gray is second on the team in passing as 63-of-105 for 733 yards with five touchdowns and four interceptions.

“We have got to do a great job on the back end of covering,” Poteete said. “Depending on how well we do up front will depend on how well they cover. It is very important this week of us getting to the quarterback. We have got to put some pressure on him to get rid of the football sooner than he wants to. If we can do that, then we will have some success.”

He said other than the normal keys to victory, one major area stands out this week.

“The turnover battle is huge this week. In this league, it is a battle every week and those who take care of the football will put themselves in a chance to win the game,” Poteete said. “We have to play four quarters and take care of the football. We have to focus on one play at a time and don’t think about what will happen down the road or next week. It is locked in on our job because every rep is a job interview.”

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