KILGORE — While the Tyler Junior College Apaches have clinched a playoff spot, there’s still plenty to play for today against Kilgore College.
There is the matter of seeding. Win and the Apaches could very well host a Southwest Junior College Football Conference semifinal contest. Lose and TJC will meet the No. 1 seed on the road — either Kilgore or Northeastern Oklahoma A&M.
The rivalry game is set for 3 p.m. at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium.
The Apaches enter the game at 5-3 overall and 3-2 in league play, while No. 12 Kilgore is 7-1 and 4-1.
The other big game has No. 7 Navarro (7-1, 4-1) visiting No. 8 NEO (7-1, 4-1). That contest is at 2 p.m. today in Miami, Okla.
“We can either be second, third or fourth,” TJC coach Danny Palmer said. “If we beat Kilgore, we will be at least second or third. If Navarro beats NEO and we beat Kilgore, we would be second since we beat NEO.”
If that scenario happens, TJC would host NEO in a semifinal game Nov. 3 at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.
However, if NEO tops Navarro and Tyler beats Kilgore, TJC must visit Navarro in the semifinals next week.
A Tyler loss to Kilgore means the Apaches will play either at Kilgore again (if Navarro beats NEO) or at NEO (if NEO beats Navarro).
The semifinal winners would play in the title game Nov. 10 at the home of the highest remaining seed.
But first there is KC.
“Kilgore is a lot like us,” Palmer said. “They are an opportunistic team. They like to go for the big play on first down. Their defense has kept them in a lot of ballgames and gotten them several turnovers. It will probably come down to the last play again, like it has five of the past six games we have played. It might even be an overtime game.”
The two clubs met on Sept. 8 in Tyler as the Apaches fell to the Rangers, 38-30.
Kilgore leading rusher Karrion Morrisey (85-340, 2 TDs) missed the Southeast Prep game, a 53-0 KC win, with an injury. Emmanuel Roland stepped in and rushed for 111 yards.
Tanner Tausch (81 of 150, 941 yards, 11 TDs, 8 INTs) is the signal-caller. His favorite receiver is Ed’Marques Batties (43-603, 7 TDs).
Defensively, linebacker Charles Woods is the leading tackler with 92.
TJC’s rushing attack is paced by Ryan Young (119-578, 6 TDs) and Leroy Dobbins (68-382, 8 TDs). Tyrik Rollison is the signal-caller, passing for 2,421 yards (160 of 259, 20 TDs, 3 INTs). Jeremey Chappelle is the leading receiver with 51 catches for 691 yards and eight TDs.
Week 8 Superlatives
Offensive Player of the Week
Clayton Mitchem, QB, NEO — Mitchem completed 17 of 27 passes for 229 yards and four TDs as the Golden Norsemen routed Cisco, 49-21. Mitchem had scoring passes of 56, 9, 10 and 19 yards.
Defensive Player of the Week
Cord Fletcher, LB, Tyler — Fletcher contributed 12 tackles, a tackle for loss, an interception and a sack in the Apaches’ 37-16 win over Trinity Valley. Fletcher is a sophomore from Henderson.
Special Teams Player of the Week
Lamar Carraway, KR, Tyler — The backup quarterback, who doubles as a kick returner, had three returns for 126 yards, including a 78-yarder for a TD in the fourth period of the Apaches’ win. Carraway is a freshman from Lake Providence, La.