Thu, Sep. 27, 2012 - [Football]
Article Courtesy of Phil Hicks, Tyler Morning Telegraph
After dropping their opening conference game, the Tyler Junior College Apaches want to make sure they get back in the win column tonight.
With the East Texas State Fair as backdrop, the Apaches play host to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in a rare Thursday game on Earl Campbell Field at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.
Kickoff for the Southwest Junior College Football Conference matchup is 7 p.m.
TJC has won five straight over the Golden Norsemen, including last year's 31-26 decision in Miami, Okla. The last time the Apaches fell to NEO was in 2006, 35-27, in Tyler.
The two teams have been playing since 1954, with Tyler owning a 23-20-1 advantage.
It is always one of the top games in the juco ranks with the aspect of Texas vs. Oklahoma as a side note.
NEO has been the surprise of the conference, jetting out to a 4-0 record (1-0 in conference) and a No. 9 national ranking. TJC is 2-2 and 0-1. They have two common opponents - SE Prep (Tyler won 68-7, NEO won 38-9) and Blinn (TJC lost 35-27, the Golden Norsemen won 42-31). Both of those games against Blinn were in Brenham.
Dale Patterson is in his second stint as NEO coach. He left in 2004 to become director of football operations at Oklahoma State. He returned to NEO before last season to help provide stability for the former powerhouse. From 1996 to 2003 he led the Golden Norsemen to a 60-26 record and three conference titles.
"They are just like us," TJC coach Danny Palmer said of NEO. "They are wide-open. They run a little more than us - they run about 78 percent of the time."
Running back Gerald Howse tops the rushing attack with 432 yards and nine touchdowns on 85 attempts. Quarterback Clayton Mitchem is right behind with 251 yards and six TDs on 45 attempts. Mitchem has hit on 45 of 70 attempts for 683 yards and four TDs (one interception).
The Apaches are led by quarterback Tyrik Rollison, who threw for 309 yards last week against Blinn. For the season, Rollison connected on 73 of 118 pass attempts for 993 yards. He has thrown eight TD passes with only one interception.
Ryan Young tops the rushing attack with for 347 yards and two touchdowns on 64 totes. Leroy Dobbins is next with 265 yards and five TDs on 41 attempts. Dobbins had only one carry for eight yards against Blinn as he the Buccaneer defenders rolled over on his ankle after the one attempt. Palmer said Dobbins status for tonight is uncertain.
Jeremey Chappelle leads the receiving corps with 22 receptions for 333 yards and four TDs.
Palmer said the Apaches left 21 points on the field against Blinn, thanks to miscues.
"We have been in position to be 4-0; we have not been playing TJC Apache football," he said. "Our receivers are making great catches, but dropping routine ones. … Our offensive line did a good job. Our two young linemen Caleb Brady and Connor Groom played well. TC (Jones) was back after missing the Southeast Prep game. He played well.
"I do not have an answer defensively; except we were very, very poor tacklers against Blinn. … We did not wrap up; and there was a lack of aggressiveness."
Patterson has been impressed with the Apaches.
"They've got some very talented players on offense and do a very good job of mixing it up between the run and the pass," Patterson said. "After they spread you out with the pass, they come back with a two-back set and run right at you and dare you to try and stop them.
"The big part of the game will be our ability to control Rollison because he has the ability to scramble around so much. We've got to put some pressure on him and force him out of his comfort zone."
Offensive Player of the Week
Garry Kimble, QB, Blinn - Kimble accounted for 422 total yards in Blinn's 35-27 win over Tyler. Kimble gained 219 yards on 13 carries and scored twice. He also completed 8 of 20 passes for 203 yards and 2 TDs.
Defensive Player of the Week
Demetrius Woodard, DB, Blinn - Woodard had a team-high 12 tackles, caused two fumbles and recovered one for Blinn in its win over Tyler.
Special Teams Player of the Week
Joe Herrick, Kilgore - Herrick scooped up a blocked field goal attempt in the fourth quarter and returned it 27 yards for the go-ahead touchdown as No. 10 Kilgore defeated No. 8 Navarro, 45-35.