MIAMI, Okla. — Tyler Junior College exploded for 28 third-quarter points and the No. 8 Apaches scored an impressive 63-49 victory over the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M Golden Norsemen on Thursday at Red Robertson Field.
The Apaches offensive unit — led by quarterback Randy Price, running backs Leroy Dobbins and Terrance Taylor, and a stout offensive line — along with the kick returns of Lamar Carraway propelled the unbeaten squad past their Oklahoma rivals.
TJC improved to 5-0 on the season and 2-0 in Southwest Junior College Football Conference play, while the Golden Norsemen fell to 2-3 and 0-2. The Apaches return to action on Saturday, Oct. 5, playing host to No. 1 Navarro at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
The Golden Norsemen play the same night and will entertain Trinity Valley Community College. Kickoff will be 2 p.m.
Along with the offensive outburst, special teams and defense played key roles in the high-scoring affair.
TJC’s Andre Sanders had a blocked punt for TJC and Tre Rosser recovered a fumble that set up a TD, while Savion Brown had a pick-six on a 55-yard return.
The Apaches went from trailing 35-21 late in the second quarter to leading 56-35 in a matter of 15 minutes and 13 seconds midway through the game.
NEO scored with 40 seconds left in the first half to take the 14-point lead.
After another nice return by Carraway to near the 40, TJC scored in a matter of seconds as Price hit Jonathan Epps with a 35-yard TD pass with just 13 seconds left in the first half and Tyler trailed 35-28 at halftime.
TJC then outscored the Golden Norsemen, 28-0, in the third quarter to take a 56-35 lead into the final period.
The Apaches took the second-half kickoff and scored with 11:52 left in the third quarter on Taylor’s 2-yard dash.
The Tyler defense then came through as NEO attempted a trick play. QB Tony Kiefer threw a backward pass to Austin White who then tossed it back to Kiefer, but the ball hit the turf and Rosser recovered at the 7-yard line for TJC.
The Apaches took advantage as Dobbins scored on a 1-yard run seconds later for a 42-35 lead with 4:58 showing — Tyler’s first advantage since the first quarter.
After the kickoff, TJC added another TD a minute later as Brown scored on a 55-yard interception return for a Tyler lead of 49-35.
A 10-yard punt set TJC up near midfield and at the 2:11 mark, Taylor hit paydirt from a yard out and the Apaches led 56-35.
NEO would not give up as Kendall Holmes made it into the end zone from 5 yards out as the fourth quarter began and the Golden Norseman were within 56-42.
But with Matt Davis running the offense, the Apaches marched down the field and Dobbins scored from 3 yards out with 13:42 to go.
Lumi Kaba, a freshman from Robert E. Lee, made his ninth extra point and TJC led 63-42.
NEO scored with 5:19 left as Elliot Hawkins gathered in a 46-yard pass from Kiefer. That got the Golden Norsemen within 63-49, but that was as close as they would get.
In the first quarter, NEO took a quick lead as Dawson Myers scored on the first play from scrimmage, gathering in a 78-yard TD pass from Mitch Manley, a freshman transfer from Pittsburg High School and University of Memphis, with 19 seconds gone in the game.
TJC bounced back to score two quick TDs to take a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter as Dobbins scored on a 6-yard run and TJC defensive lineman Wawa Leota gathered in a 4-yard pass from Price on fourth-and-1.
Also, Carraway scored on a 20-yard reverse in the second quarter.
Last year, the teams had two shootouts with Tyler winning 65-59 in double overtime in Tyler, while NEO held off TJC 37-35 in Miami.