Back to a little normalcy.
The No. 8-ranked Cardinals return home to Bruce Field for the first Saturday afternoon game this season.
Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. against New Mexico Military Institute in TVCC’s second home game of this spring season.
“It will be a beautiful 70-degree Saturday afternoon of football and what else do you got to do in the spring but watch some football in Athens,” TVCC head coach Sherard Poteete said. “Come on out and let’s get after it. It is good to be at home finally at Bruce. We were there earlier but it was just for a little bit. With the band, cheerleaders, Cardettes and our hometown crowd there we are happy to be back at Bruce Field.”
This is the first of a two-game Saturday homestand as TVCC returns to Bruce Field next week to face the Blinn Buccaneers at 1 p.m.
The Broncos are 2-2 overall and 2-2 in Southwest Junior College Football Conference play. They are coming off of a 35-16 victory over Blinn last Saturday.
New Mexico Military scores 33.5 points per game, while allowing 29.8 points this season. The defense gives up 472.5 yards of total offense, while the offense puts up 408.5 yards of offense.
“Coach (Joe) Forchtner and his staff is doing a good job,” Poteete said. “Their kids are playing well and even the games that they have lost, it has been a tight game. They have played really well and their defense is playing good. They have some linebackers who are playing well and a long cornerback.”
TVCC is currently 3-1 overall and 2-1 in SWJCFC play. The Cardinals lost 24-7 to the Cisco Wranglers April 15 in Cisco.
“Cisco played really well,” Poteete said. “They came out and got after us and our keys that we talked about to win, we didn’t do them and they did. They came out and outhit us and were a more physical team than us on that day. They won the turnover battle, explosive plays and foolish penalty category. You got to find something to take away from it and they have done a good job of staying together.”
This week, the Cardinals look to contain the nation’s second leading rusher in sophomore Anthony Grant, who comes in with 70 carries for 594 yards and four touchdowns. He is averaging 8.5 yards per carry.
Grant is a Florida State transfer and is definitely on the radar of Poteete and defensive coordinator Will Reed.
Two other players to watch for are freshman quarterback Diego Pavia and Chandler Galban. The duo has combined for 404 yards passing and three touchdowns, while Pavia has rushed for 140 yards and four touchdowns.
“They are going to run the football. The quarterback runs it well and all of that running sets up the play action game,” Poteete said. “The guys in the back end have to do a good job of reading their keys and not getting their eyes in the backfield and bite on it and they slip a play action guy out behind you.”
Pavia’s top weapon is sophomore Quantavius Moore, with 12 receptions for 205 yards and one touchdown.
“Our defense has been playing really well,” Poteete said. “They have not given up a ton of points on the year, and we gave up our most points last week. We put them in some bad spots last week with some short fields. If we can contain NMMI, I like what we are doing offensively and we seem to be focused this week.
Defensively, the Broncos are having success with sophomore defensive lineman Leo Claussnitzer, who is currently second on the team in tackles with 17 and tied for third in the nation with five sacks.
“They have a defensive tackle that is leading the country in sacks and is playing well,” Poteete said. “They have a few other guys on the defensive front who are playing well.”
Linebacker Jimmy Harrison is first on the team in tackles with 18 to go with one fumble recovery and one pass breakup.
Defensive back Ratu Aumua-Tuisavura is third on the team in tackles with 16 to go with one fumble recovery and one pass breakup.
“NMMI is a very sound football team and very disciplined,” Poteete said. “The turnover battle is going to play a key in the game. We need to make sure who can win the turnover ratio and not commit the 15-yard foolish penalties will win the game.”