Trinity Valley quarterback Tucker Carter completed a seven-play drive with a 1-yard touchdown with five minutes left, and the No. 9 Cardinals ran out the clock for a 35-28 victory over Tyler Junior College on Saturday night.
Carter, a sophomore from Allen, improved to 5-0 as a starter as the Cardinals moved to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference.
The Apaches, who saw their top two running backs leave the game with injuries, fell to 2-2 and 0-2.
For the second game in a row, the Apaches committed a crucial penalty to extend a drive for the opponent in crunch time.
Tied 28-28, the Apaches stopped the Cardinals at midfield before getting called for roughing the quarterback and giving TVCC an automatic first down at the Apache 34-yard line.
Rufus Mason then ran a cutback play 29 yards and Tucker crossed the goal line three plays later to give the Cardinals a 35-28 lead with 5:03 remaining.
The Apaches returned the kickoff 53 yards but then couldn’t pick up a first down. Quarterback Tyrik Rollison, under a heavy blitz, overshot Randall Weeks over the middle on a lofted pass on fourth-and-3.
The Cardinals sealed the win when Tucker completed a 12-yard pass to tight end Payton Owen on third down.
Rollison, the former Auburn signee from Sulphur Springs, threw a 77-yard bomb to Carthage’s Jalen Claiborne for an electric touchdown to pull the Apaches even at 28-28 with 8:38 to play.
Right before that, Rollison had led TJC on a 13-play, 96-yard journey and completed it with a 1-yard TD to get the Apaches within seven points at the 10:40 mark.
Trinity Valley dominated the third quarter for a 28-14 lead.
Vedial Johnson ran 70 yards for a touchdown on the second play after intermission and TJC’s only good drive of the quarter ended with an interception.
The first half was plagued by nine turnovers, which the teams turned into only 14 points.
The Cardinals’ first four possessions of the game ended with a turnover, but that led to only one score for the Apaches when linebacker Rikko Harris recovered a bad pitch from the quarterback in the end zone.
Likewise, the Cardinals scored only one touchdown off four TJC turnovers.
After TVCC’s third giveaway in the opening 5 ½ minutes, the Apaches advanced 25 yards to the 1 where the Cardinals stopped quarterback Randy Price on a fourth-down keeper.
Back up to their own end zone, the Cardinals turned to backup quarterback Deric Davis who picked up a first down before tossing an errant pitch from his own 13. The ball bounded toward the end zone and Harris fell on it for a touchdown at the 4:19 mark of the first quarter.
After forcing a punt, the Apaches marched 87 yards in seven plays for a 14-0 lead. Price hit Tracy Smith in stride for a 48-yard completion and then Price called his own number on a sweep for 26 yards.
TVCC jumped offsides to help TJC convert a fourth-and-1 and the Apaches also benefited from a pass interference penalty that set up a Ridge Wilson 2-yard TD run at the 14:15 mark of the second quarter.
The Cardinals’ first scoring drive was officially three plays and three yards after Rollison fumbled at his own 3.
No. 9 TVCC 35, TJC 28
At Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium
TVCC 0 14 14 7 -- 35
TJC 7 7 0 14 -- 28
TJC—Rikko Harris recovers fumble in end zone (Isaac Arellano kick), 4:19.
TJC—Ridge Wilson 2 run (Arellano kick), 14:15.
TVCC—Jack Brown 6 pass from Tucker Carter (Saul Martinez kick), 6:32.
TVCC—Derel Walker 68 pass from Carter (Martinez kick), 3:27.
TVCC—Vedial Johnson 70 run (Martinez kick), 14:11.
TVCC—James Jackson 15 pass from Deric Davis (Martinez kick), 1:30.
TJC—Tyrik Rollison 1 run (Arellano kick), 10:40.
TJC—Jalen Claiborne 77 pass from Rollison (Arellano kick), 8:38.
TVCC—Carter 1 run (Martinez kick), 5:03.
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