No. 9 TJC travels to No. 4 Trinity Valley; special pregame ceremony will honor two Cardinal players who died in wreck


ATHENS - It will be another top 10 juco matchup on Saturday as No. 9 Tyler Junior College and No. 4 Trinity Valley Community College meet on the gridiron.

The contest is set to kick off at 3 p.m. at Bruce Field.

Pregame is scheduled to begin at 2:35 p.m. Part of the pregame will include a memorial to two Trinity Valley football players who died in a car accident earlier this week.

Bryce Cook and Tyler Spillman lost their lives in a two-vehicle collision in Freestone County early Monday morning. Both were freshmen from Spring, located in the Houston area. They were en route to Athens from their homes in Spring.

Benny Rogers, TVCC sports information officer, said both the TVCC and TJC teams are scheduled to enter the field at 2:51 p.m. as both teams will walk two-by-two to their respective sidelines.

After the national anthem, both teams will move out in unison onto the field to the numbers. Captains will proceed to the center of the field with Cardinal captains carrying honorary captains’ jerseys (30 and 90). Public address announcer Tom Sheram is scheduled to read a script provided by TVCC head coach Brad Smiley, which will be followed by a moment of silence with players on both teams taking a knee.

Although it will be tough, both teams will be ready to play, TJC head coach Danny Palmer said.

Palmer and his players sent two flower arrangements for the memorial which was held Thursday night at the TVCC practice field.


Palmer said he expects his Apaches to bounce back this week after a disappointing second half against Navarro, a 37-26 loss last week.

“I’m really proud how the team prepared this week,” he said.

Brennen Wooten, TJC’s quarterback, is averaging 166 yards per game, while TVCC QB Jaylon Henderson averages 161. Wooten has connected on 82 of 147 pass attempts for 996 yards and 12 TDs. Henderson has hit on 88 of 164 pass attempts for 966 yards and nine TDs.

Both teams love to rush the ball - Khalil Banks of TVCC is fifth in the conference with 412 yards and eight touchdowns on 66 carries.

The next three rushers in the league are all Apaches - J.T. Smith (53-358, 3 TDs), Shannon Vaughns (53-334, 2 TDs) and Logan Fuller (47-293, 2 TDs).

TJC receiver Joseph Ward is third in the conference with 35 catches for 436 yards and four TDs.

TJC linebacker Cody Fletcher is third in the league in tackles, averaging 10.7, while teammate and linebacker Daquaylyn Thomas is next at 9.8.

SMOKE SIGNALS: No. 1 East Mississippi was upset by Northwest Mississippi, 61-38, on Thursday. EMCC’s winning streak was snapped at 17 games.


NEXT UP: The No. 9 Tyler Junior College Apaches (5-1, 3-1) and the No. 4 Trinity Valley Community College Cardinals (5-1, 3-1) will meet in a Southwest Junior College Football Conference game on Saturday in Athens. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. at Bruce Field, 480 Royal St., Athens 75751. The game will be broadcast on KTBB 97.5-FM, 600-AM with Bill Coates and Kevin Simon on the call. The TVCC broadcast is on KCKL 95.9-FM, Malakoff-Athens.


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Sports Editor

I am a native Tylerite and I grew up reading the Tyler Morning Telegraph and The Tyler Courier-Times. My parents took both the morning and afternoon papers. I came to work here 35 years ago at the age of 23, right after college.