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Spring forward for football

On a cool April morning at Pat Hartley Field, the sounds of pads crashing together created an echo that could be heard across the TJC campus.

It may be five months until football season in the fall, but the Apache football team has been hard at work preparing for the upcoming season.

The team finished a 20-practice schedule on April 25 with a controlled scrimmage.

“We are just trying to get better every day,” returning quarterback Matt Davis said. “We are really progressing as a team so that is the main focus.

“We can always get better and we always strive to get better, but I think we are making very good progress for the things that we wanted to accomplish this spring.”
TJC is coming off of one of its most successful seasons in recent years. The Apaches went 8-1 in the regular season before losing to Navarro in the semifinals of the SWJCFC playoffs.

Despite the loss, the team was selected to play in the Football Capital of Kansas Bowl and defeated Garden City Community College 47-21.
When Palmer looks at next season, the first player’s name out of his mouth is Davis.

The Texas A&M; transfer who saw some time as quarterback last season will have a huge impact on what the team does when competition begins in the fall.

“Matt Davis is of course our leader on offense,” Palmer said. “On defense, we have enough returning starters like (Tre) Rosser and (Savion) Brown and Motekiai (Maile) on the defensive line.

“What we are trying to do is rebuild our offensive line because we lost four guys to Division I, so that is coming along slow.”

Palmer said that Davis has had an unbelievable spring and said the sophomore will be the team’s “bell cow” – or leader – on offense next fall.

Davis has been satisfied with the way his spring has gone, as well.

“I feel like it has helped me a lot,” Davis said. “Just being out here with this group of guys and getting a good chemistry down as far as throwing the football and making sure everybody is getting better.”

Palmer is proud of where the team is now and is looking forward to summer workouts when the incoming freshmen are able to become involved.

He said Davis has had a lot thrown at him this spring but has responded like an experienced player should. It also helped that Palmer has been able to throw his whole defensive package at his quarterback.

“Our whole defensive package is in, so he has seen a lot,” Palmer said. “One day out here at spring training, the defense has a great day. Then the next day, it might be the offense. So that’s good.”

On defense, Palmer referred to defensive back Treavor Pugh as the team’s leader. The defensive back is the top returning starter on that side of the ball.
Palmer feels the same way. As the spring schedule neared its end, he couldn’t help but look forward to Davis leading his offense, Pugh taking charge on defense and the entire team making another run at a national championship.
The team will return to the practice field in early August to finalize their preparations for the 2014 season.


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