It was not smoke signals coming out of the Apache football camp on Sunday.

It was just a friendly cookout as the Tyler Junior College football players began reporting for training camp.

New TJC coach Thomas Rocco hosted the event as local supporters greeted the football players and ate a burger or two.

Also, Rocco gave tours of an improved TJC field house. The new coaching staff painted the field house and Rocco’s brother, Tony Rocco, and two of his business partners helped spruce up the place and modernized the facility with TVs and new sound equipment.

Tony Rocco owns Cable Guy in Scottsdale, Arizona and donated some $15,000 to upgrade the facility. There is a new sound system and TVs in the football conference room as well as the locker room.

Also the old theater seats from Wise Auditorium, which is undergoing a renovation, are now installed in the Apaches’ conference room.

On Sunday, the Apaches took drug tests and then got to enjoy the cookout. Fall Camp officially begins on Monday. The team will lift, go to study hall, have skill meetings and then have a walk-through Monday night.

On Tuesday, basically the same schedule with the first workout set for 7 p.m. at Pat Hartley Field.

Also, along with attending church on Aug. 11 and 18, Rocco has slated several guest speakers during camp.

The first game is less than three weeks away. The Apaches open on Aug. 24 at Kilgore College. Kickoff is 7 p.m.

TJC’s first four games are on the road. Following the KC game, which is non-conference, the Apaches play Blinn in Brenham (7 p.m., Aug. 31), meet Trinity Valley at Athens (7 p.m., Sept. 7) and take on Navarro in Corsicana (7 p.m., Sept. 14). All but the Kilgore contest is a Southwest Junior College Football Conference game.

Tyler’s first home game is against Texas A&T on Sept. 21 at Christus Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium. Kickoff is 7 p.m.

The remainder of the schedule includes: vs. New Mexico Military Academy in Roswell, New Mexico, time TBA, Sept. 28; home vs. Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, 7 p.m., Oct. 12; at Cisco, 3 p.m., Oct. 19; and home vs. Kilgore, 3 p.m., Oct. 26.

JUCO NOTES: Former John Tyler standout linebacker Tre Allison has transferred from Syracuse University. He is going to Kilgore College, JT coach Ricklan Holmes said.

TWITTER: @PhilHicksETFS

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.

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