Tyler Junior College hit the practice field on Monday in preparation for the 2022 football season under new head coach Tanner Jacobson.
On July 27, the Apaches joined area high schools at Christus Orthopedics and Sports Medicine for a preseason media day as Jacobson, Austin Skoglund, Jordan Wallace, Markendrick Beall and Graceson Jackson-Smith were all in attendance.
“It’s just a great group of guys,” Jacobson said. “We have a great coaching staff and great players. It’s all about the players. It’s all about the Jims and Joes, not the Xs and Os. I think the previous staff and our current staff have done a great job of bringing in great people and great players, so we’re just really excited to get going.”
TJC went 7-5 last season, falling to eventual national champion New Mexico Military in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference championship before taking a 28-7 win over Coffeyville (Kansas) in the Heart of Texas Bowl in Commerce.
But there are also several players back, looking to mix with the newcomers to put a winning product on the field.
“With a new team, there’s a lot of new people here,” linebacker Skoglund said. “With the success we had last year, we want to build on that. We always want to get better as time goes on, and I feel like we’re pretty motivated to do that.”
Skoglund, a sophomore from Austin Vandegrift High School, had 52 tackles last season.
Former Tatum standout Beall and Jackson-Smith are back on the offensive line.
“I’m really looking forward to just going to war with my brothers and seeing how things go with the new coaching staff,” Beall said. “We had a successful season last year, but this year, we want to do bigger and better and put our own spin on it.”
“We are beyond excited,” said Jackson-Smith, a sophomore from Wossman High School in Monroe, Louisiana. “We are ready to go. We’ve got a lot of doubters, so we are ready to get it rolling.”
Wallace, a sophomore receiver out of Calvary Baptist Academy in Shreveport, Louisiana, had 55 receptions last season for 549 yards and four touchdowns.
“I’m ready to be explosive and ready to get out there and win some games,” Wallace said. “I am excited to build off of what we had last year, coming off the bowl season and things like that. Hopefully we get a chance to compete for a national championship this year.”
TJC will open the season against Resolution Prep at 7 p.m. on Aug. 27 at Christus Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium. The Apaches will then face rival Kilgore on Sept. 3 at Longview’s Lobo Stadium.