Berths in NJCAA national tournaments are on the line this weekend for the Tyler Junior College volleyball and soccer teams, while the football squad awaits word if they will go bowling — and not at Green Acres Bowl.
Two berths to the national tournament will be decided this weekend in the Region XIV Tournament at Wagstaff Gymnasium on the TJC campus.
Of the eight teams entered, five are ranked in the top 20 of the NJCAA poll, led by No. 1 Blinn (28-2) and No. 2 Tyler (34-3). Also rated are No. 11 Paris (27-6), No. 13 San Jacinto (20-8) and No. 19 Trinity Valley (19-13).
Dr. Tim Drain, TJC athletic director, said it is like a mini-national tournament.
The national tournament is scheduled for Nov. 21-23 in Casper, Wyo.
TJC opens play at 3 p.m. Friday against Wharton. If the Apache Ladies win they will play at 11 a.m. Saturday, however a loss would mean playing at 7 p.m. Friday.
The first match on Friday has Paris vs. Laredo at 9 a.m., followed by San Jacinto vs. Trinity Valley (11 a.m.) and Blinn vs. Panola (1 p.m.). There will be elimination matches at 5 and 7 p.m. on Friday.
The championship match is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday.
A tournament pass is $15 (adults only). Day passes are $6 for adults, $3 for students with ID and children under 18 are free.
Tyler Junior College is hosting the men’s national soccer tournament Nov. 18-23 at Pat Hartley Field.
For the Apaches to participate on their home turf, they must first travel to Mississippi.
TJC, ranked No. 3 in the nation with a 15-2 record, will meet Hinds (Miss.) Community College (7-8-4) at 6 p.m. Friday at Tom Shepherd Field in Raymond, Miss. The winner of the match advances to the national tournament from the South District.
The Apaches, defending national champions, were the Region XIV champions for the fifth straight year, holding the tiebreaker over San Jacinto. Hinds was runner-up in Region XXIII.
The other South District semifinal has Pearl River hosting San Jacinto at 6 p.m. Friday in Poplarville, Miss. Pearl River was champion of Region XXIII, while the Coyotes were runner-up to TJC.
The district semifinal winners will not play a district final as both teams will advance to the national tournament.
The Apaches, ranked No. 14 in the NJCAA poll, have finished their regular season with an 8-2 record and a share of the Southwest Junior College Football Conference championship with Trinity Valley.
Now, coach Danny Palmer and his squad are awaiting word if they will go bowling.
Drain said the school has received inquiries from bowls in Kansas, Arizona and Texas with interest in the Apaches. It all depends how things fall this weekend.
The SWJCFC championship is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday as No. 8 Trinity Valley plays host to No. 13 Navarro at Bruce Field in Athens. It is the seventh straight year for Navarro to be in the title game.
The bowl announcements will be made at noon Tuesday.
The SWJCFC Players of the Week are:
Offensive — Tim Wright, RB, Navarro and Jarvis Baxter, WR, TVCC: Wright established new single-season school marks in rushing (214-1.392) and touchdowns (20) with an 187-yard, one-touchdown performance in the Bulldogs’ 33-24 win over Tyler. Baxter had a season-high 10 catches for 204 yards and two TDs in a 38-7 semifinal win over Blinn.
Defensive — Duval Jackson, DE, TVCC: Jackson paced the Cardinals with 15 tackles, two tackles for loss, two sacks, three quarterback hurries and forced a fumble.
Special Teams — Carlos Macias, K, Navarro: Macias booted a career-high four field goals against the Apaches. Macias had first-half field goals of 27 and 25 yards and then booted field goals of 42 and 36 yards in the fourth period.
Two TJC players were considered for the awards — defensive back Kenny Iloka and quarterback Randy Price.
Iloka led the Apaches with 18 tackles, while Price was 18 of 31 for 243 yards and two TDs against Navarro.