Tradition and history will be in the air on Sept. 18 as Tyler Junior College gears up for the 50 anniversary celebration of the national championship football team and the homecoming game against Navarro.

Former wide receiver and member of the 1960 Apache Football Team Gene Staples is organizing this year’s reunion for the 1960 team that went 12-0 on their way to winning the national championship. As a result, TJC was invited to go to California to play at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena against Long Beach City College. But TJC ended up losing the game 38-16.

“This event is a great way for all of our teammates to get to see each other one last time,” Staples said. “We really cared for each other and really stuck together as a team.”

Alumni events for the 2010 Homecoming weekend include the Founder’s Day Memorial Service on the TJC main campus and the Mixer and Classic Car Show on Sept. 17. On Saturday, Sept. 18, the day will kick off with the Alumni Awards Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. in the Apache Rooms followed by the Tailgate Barbecue from 5- 7 p.m. in the parking lot at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium; before the kickoff of this year’s homecoming game between TJC and Navarro College.

Over the years, TJC’s homecoming opponent has varied year to year. Every opponent has seemed to develop some sort of rivalry.

“TJC’s fiercest homecoming rival has always been Kilgore,” former TJC linebacker Aaron Bonds said. “Homecoming was one of the biggest games there was and when it was homecoming, my parents would drive six hours to watch me play.”

Meanwhile, this year’s opponent, Navarro, is a familiar foe to the Apaches. Starting the season ranked No. 4 in the country, this will no doubt be a competitive game for the Apaches.

“We are playing Navarro, so it’s a very important game and plus it’s homecoming,” TJC Head Coach Danny Palmer said. “Navarro is ranked in the top 10 and we haven’t beat them since 2005, so we definitely have to show up and play hard.”

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