With three new assistant coaches and an entire platoon of fresh talent at his disposal, head football coach Danny Palmer is looking to stir up some noise in East Texas this Fall.
The Tyler Junior College Apaches are now 2-0. Coach Palmer mentioned that the addition of ex-Kilgore de- fensive coordinator Russell Thompson has been a com- plete 360 swing on the defen– sive side because of his knowledge and motivation.
“He has a true knowledge of the game and has what I like to call a ‘quick football mind’. He can see something and adjust to it, and not a lot of guys have that quality,” Palmer said.
After edging a 16-14 victory over No. 15 ranked Coffeyville Junior College in week one and a 34-31 win over the Kilgore Rangers in week two, there is a surplus of high expectations for the Apaches this football season. TJC, despite the absence of linebacker Rikko Harris and starting corners Richard Lyles and CJ Johnson, have been dom– inating defensively. Jacoby Alexander and Reggie Taylor are ex- pected to be the catabolic force of the defense, with Alexander blocking a punt in the endzone for a crucial safety against the Coffeyville Red Ravens and Taylor racking up multiple tackles in both games. Alexander said that he will contribute leader- ship, hard work, and dedication to this year’s team, and Taylor added that while TJC might have an extremely young team, they have enough veterans to make a playoff run.
Both Taylor and Alexan– der are expected to be key an- chors on the Apache’s defense this season.
“We have a lot of young guys on defense, but we also have Jacoby Alexander, Reg-gie Taylor, Pat Howard, and we’ll be even better when we get our two starting corners back from injury,” said Palmer.
TJC will look to sophomore running back Ryan Young to provide a much-needed offensive spark for TJC this year, some- thing the Apaches lacked a year before.
His 18 carries for 107 yards and two touchdowns proved to be vital in the win against Coffeyville.
“Well based on the Coffeyville game, we’re real glad to have Ryan Young,” Coach Palmer said.
As for the quarterbacking situation, TJC has seen split time between Uni– versity High School standout Randy Price and Ryan Black, the former dual- threat signal caller from Jacksonville. Both quarterbacks saw equal time against Coffeyville, but Price received the ma- jority of the play-calling duties against Kilgore, racking up 245 yards of total offense, throwing for two touchdowns, and he even took one in himself.
It is still too early in the season to tell what the future has in store for NJCAA football, but with TJC emerging victorious in their first two games, there is no scarcity of optimism for the Apaches as they travel to Corsicana to face the defending NJCAA champions and bitter rivals at Navarro Junior College. The game will start at 7:00pm on the 17th of September.