Two of the top teams in the country clash Saturday with an eye on the prize.

The No. 6 Tyler Junior College Apaches and the No. 15 Navarro College Bulldogs meet in a Southwest Junior College Football Conference semifinal at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.

Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Earl Campbell Field. Tickets are $5 (reserved) and $3 (general admission).

The Apaches (8-1) are the No. 2 seed in the playoffs, while the Bulldogs (7-2) are No. 3.

The other semifinal has No. 1 seed and 10th-ranked Trinity Valley (7-2) meeting fourth-seeded Blinn (4-5). The contest is at 3 p.m. at Bruce Field in Athens.

The semifinal winners meet next week for the conference championship at the site of the highest-remaining seed. Also, semifinal winners are assured of a bowl bid.

Tyler snapped an eight-game losing skid to Navarro on Oct. 5 in Tyler, winning 17-10 in a smash-mouth game.

That was the first start for Bulldogs QB Carson Earp, and TJC coach Danny Palmer said Earp has progressed since then.

Last week in a 62-16 win over Northeastern Oklahoma, Earp completed 15 of 24 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns.

The Bulldogs have a number of weapons, including running back Tim Wright, the leading rusher in the conference.

Wright, who Palmer said could start for Alabama, has rushed for 1,205 yards and scored 19 TDs on 182 carries.

But the Apaches can’t just concentrate on Wright as Cameron Washington can also tote the football — he has 766 yards and nine TDs on 120 carries.

TJC will counter with quarterback Randy Price (69-127, 1,143 yards, 14 TDs, 7 INTs). The Apaches also have all-everything Lamar Carraway, who can rush, catch, throw and return.

Complementing the ground game will be running backs Terrance Taylor (176-893, 10 TDs) and Leroy Dobbins, who missed last week’s game. Dobbins has 882 yards and 10 TDs on 121 carries in just seven games. The Apaches have one of the top offensive lines as well.

The standout line includes Drew Sarvary, Frank Kee, Conner Groom, Sam Jenkins, Caleb Brady, Idong Okon, Kevin Vaitai and William Vaitai.

Taylor, a freshman from Diboll, and wide receiver Joshua Reynolds, a freshman from San Antonio, shared SWJCFC Offensive Player of the Week honors in the Apaches’ 42-12 win over Kilgore last week.

Taylor rushed a season-high 39 times for 187 yards and two TDs. With Dobbins out, Taylor stepped up in his absence and is the second-leading rusher in the conference (176-893, 10 TDs).

The fleet-footed Reynolds added five catches for 172 yards and two TDs, including a 67-yarder. On the season, Reynolds has 10 touchdown snags with 32 receptions for 642 yards (20.1 average per catch).

TJC’s Larry Thomas, a sophomore linebacker from Longview, earned Defensive Player of the Week honors. Thomas recorded 14 tackles and four sacks for minus-30 yards in a dominant performance.

Other Apaches who stood out were:

Caleb Tuiasosopo, LB, Copperas Cove — The sophomore recorded 13 tackles, a tackle for loss, recovered a fumble and had one pass defensed;

Tre Rosser, DB, Clarksville — The freshman returned an interception 75 yards for a TD. Rosser also defended one pass and had three tackles.


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