The Tyler Junior College Apache football team took the field for the last time this season on Nov. 7 against a number four-ranked Blinn College.
The team made it to the playoffs for the first time in years and had hopes of coming home with another win. The Apaches played a tough game but came up just short of the victory.
Ending the season on a 21-15 loss is tough for players and coaches alike, but coaches can’t help but be proud of how hard their team worked and how far they’d come.
“I’m proud of my players’ effort…” Head Coach Danny Palmer said. “We should’ve won that game. We played better than Blinn today.”
Missing their quarterback, Vincent McNeil on the final drive, Michael Cook had to take over and contributed to a huge first down for the Apaches. Continuing on that drive, running back Don Brown came up with another large gain down the field. However, the ball was fumbled and Blinn made the recovery on their own 34 yard line.
After the loss to Blinn, the Apaches’ final overall record became 7-3, including a home record of 4-1, which is the most effective season they have had since before 2005. Having a winning record, Coach Palmer was very pleased with the productivity of his team this year.
“I’ve really been pleased with our offensive production this year, rushing and passing,” Palmer said
Over the season, the Apaches averaged 41 points as well as 472 total yards per game. They also had a low turnover rate, which equaled more points on the board in their favor. One area that will most likely be focused on in the offseason is the kicking game.
“The kicking game has been embarrassing at times. When we’ve executed it well, it’s really changed field position for us,” Palmer said.
Although the loss is tough, many players have a somewhat positive spin on the season.
“I hate losing any game, but it’s an improvement from last year,” linebacker Garrett Roget said.
From the beginning of the year, players and coaches could see a playoff berth and possibly a bowl game win in the future.
Running back Don Brown and linebacker Garret Roget both had hopes of bringing the Apaches to the playoffs and beyond, including a bowl game win for TJC.
As the offseason begins, the Apaches have no time for rest. It is now time for them to start looking forward to the next season and begin preparation for another playoff run next year.