It's homecoming weekend for Tyler Junior College.
With alumni returning, the football and soccer teams want to put on a good show.
Both Danny Palmer's football Apaches and Steve Clements' soccer Apaches will try to please the alums with key games on Saturday.
The TJC football team meets Kilgore College in a 3 p.m. Southwest Junior College Football Conference game at Christus Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium, while the TJC soccer squad plays Coastal Bend College in a Region XIV semifinal at Pat Hartley Field.
Both teams need a win to keep playing.
The Apache football squad needs to defeat rival Kilgore for the second time this season and hope for a little luck in New Mexico.
TJC is 5-3 on the season and 3-3 in SWJCFC play, while the Rangers are 4-4 and 3-3.
Blinn College leads the league at 5-1, followed by Northeastern Oklahoma A&M and Trinity Valley at 4-2. TJC, KC and Navarro follow at 3-3.
Dr. Tim Drain, TJC athletic director, said if the Apaches defeat Kilgore and Navarro falls at New Mexico Military Institute, then TJC will make the postseason. He said Tyler would lose the tiebreaker if NEO, Navarro and TJC are tied at 4-3. TJC beat NEO by six and Navarro beat Tyler by 11.
The top four teams in the SWJCFC make the playoffs.
NEO visits Blinn on Saturday while TVCC plays host to Cisco.
"It's tough losing a game, let alone three straight," said Palmer, who has experienced that only once in his 11 years at TJC and that occurred in his first year at the helm of the Apaches. "I've been really impressed how the men have prepared this week. The coaching staff has stayed positive and kept the men positive."
The Apaches have had a rash of injuries, including starting quarterback Brennen Wooten, who went down with a leg injury in the loss to Trinity Valley two weeks ago. The team has also been felled by injuries to the offensive line, running backs and defensive backs.
"In my 46 years as either head coach in high school or TJC or as an assistant college coach, this is the first time I've lost a starting quarterback," Palmer said. "Some years, everything goes well and you avoid injuries or the calls go your way and everything works your way."
TJC opened the season with a 22-8 win in Kilgore en route to a 5-0 start before the injuries caught up with the Apaches.
Kilgore is coming off a big upset of TVCC, 37-31, last week.
The defending national champion Apaches play host to Coastal Bend on Saturday at Pat Hartley Field. The Region XIV championship is scheduled for 6 p.m.
If the Apaches win, they advance to the district championship against a Mississippi school for the right to move on to the NJCAA National Tournament.
TJC is 16-2 on the season and has recorded eight straight shutouts. However, one of those losses was to the Cougars (3-1) in Beeville on Sept. 8. The Apaches did beat CBC 2-0 on Oct. 7 in Tyler.
The national tournament is scheduled for Nov. 13 to 18 in Prescott, Arizona. Yavapai College is the host.