Marshawn Lynch is known for being in beast mode.

Jordan Spieth is sometimes in Speith mode.

For TJC, new coach Thomas Rocco said his Apaches are in football mode.

“We’ve had a lot of fun this week,” the Tyler Junior College chief said. “Summer school classes are finished and we’re in football mode. It’s been a great week of practice.”

Rocco takes over for longtime TJC coach Danny Palmer, who stepped down after last season. Palmer, the former John Tyler and Southern Mississippi standout quarterback, is an ambassador for the Apache athletic department.

Injuries felled the Apaches last year and one of the offseason goals was to find help.

“I think we addressed our depth issue,” Rocco said. “The coaching staff has done a good job with that.”

The Apaches lost their final three games of the 2018 season and are ready to get back on track. Before the three-game loss skid, TJC had won four straight.

TJC opens the 2019 season in 15 days, Aug. 24 against Kilgore College at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium in Kilgore. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. It is a non-conference game.

The Apaches play their first four games on the road, including three Southwest Junior College Football Conference matches, before getting to play their first contest in Tyler — Sept. 21 vs. Texas A&T.

SMOKE SIGNALS: The Apache Ladies volleyball team is scheduled to host their Alumni Game on Saturday at Wagstaff Gymnasium. The exhibition is set to start at 2 p.m. TJC then opens the regular season on Aug. 16 against Brookhaven College in Farmers Branch. The Apache Ladies will host the Rose City Volleyball Classic Aug. 23-24. TJC’s games on Aug. 23 include: vs. Frank Phillips (1 p.m.) and vs. Polk State of Florida (5 p.m.). The Apache Ladies games on Aug. 24 include: vs. Missouri State-West Plains (11 a.m.) and vs. Temple (3 p.m.). Both Wagstaff Gymnasium and the Ornelas Heath & Physical Education Center will be used.


2019 TJC Football


Aug. 24 — at Kilgore 7 p.m.

  • Aug. 31 — at Blinn 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 7 — at Trinity Valley 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 14 — at Navarro 7 p.m.

Sept. 21 — Texas A&T 7 p.m.

  • Sept. 28 — at New Mexico Military TBD

Oct. 5 — open

  • Oct. 12 — NE Oklahoma A&M 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 19 — at Cisco 3 p.m.
  • Oct. 26 — Kilgore 3 p.m.

Nov. 2 — SWJCFC Semifinal TBD

Nov. 9 — SWJCFC Championship TBD

All home games at Christus Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium, Tyler

  • Southwest Junior College Football Conference game


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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