BRENHAM, Texas — After an emotional victory in week seven, the 15th-ranked Blinn College football team is hoping to avoid a hangover in week eight.
The Buccaneers travel to Tyler Junior College for a Southwest Junior College Football Conference showdown at 3 p.m. Saturday, just seven days after upsetting then-No. 4 Trinity Valley (21-14) in Brenham.
Blinn has also cracked the NJCAA Division I Top 15 rankings for the first time this season, while Trinity Valley fell to No. 8.
“The thing is, we never get complacent,” said freshman linebacker Nate Dyman, who recorded 15 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery against Trinity Valley. “We got our first big win of the season against Cisco, and that’s kind of been the turning point for us. Your first big win and how you react to it … and we never got complacent; we just said, ‘All right, who’s next?’
“Well, Tyler’s next.”
That mentality seems to have fueled Blinn’s recent surge, as the Buccaneers are now 4-2 overall and 3-2 in the SWJCFC after winning four of their last five games.
Tyler (3-3, 2-2 SWJCFC) will play host to the Buccaneers fresh off a tough 49-13 loss to conference leader New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI).
The Apaches, despite fielding one of the NJCAA’s top quarterbacks in General Booty (1,730 passing yards and 19 touchdowns), were unable to muster much against NMMI. Booty was limited to just 141 yards on 11-of-23 passing against NMMI, while the Apache defense surrendered 423 yards of offense, including 244 on the ground.
Despite its recent setback, Blinn head coach Ryan Mahon believes Tyler is still set up to provide the Buccaneers a formidable challenge come Saturday.
“They’re well-coached, and they do some things that are going to give us some intrigue and some difficulties,” Mahon said. “But that’s why we go to practice every day.
“Offensively, they’re going to throw the ball a bunch; they’ve got a great quarterback and two or three really good receivers. And then on defense, they’ve got a couple of good defensive linemen and a linebacker that’s one of the best in the conference. So we’ve got our work cut out for us.”
Under Mahon, Blinn is 2-3 against Tyler, with all five matchups decided by 15 points or less. The Apaches escaped Brenham with a 37-31 victory during the 2021 spring season.
Blinn has been forced to play quarterback musical chairs as of late due to injury and internal decisions, and that could lead to shared time under center Saturday between freshman Jalen Early and sophomore Logan McDougald.
Early played a role in the Buccaneers’ win over Trinity Valley, using his legs to get Blinn on the board in the first quarter.
Blinn could continue to use an effective backfield of Joshua Berry and Terrance Keyes, who have provided the Bucs with a potent 1-2 punch. Keyes tallied 40 yards on 14 carries against Trinity Valley, while Berry totaled 88 on 18 touches, including a 24-yard game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Berry, much like Dyman and their head coach, said this week’s conference bout is Blinn’s central focus this week, but the running back admitted practicing after a big victory fills the work-week with a little more electricity.
“It was a good victory for us and a good team win, but we’ve got to put that behind us,” Berry said. “We’ve got Tyler this week and that’s just as big of a game for us … it determines our season for us.
“We’ve got a bunch of energy right; practice is going good for us and we’ve got a bunch of energy on the field … everybody is feeling good and feeling good about our season, and that’s going to help a lot going into this week’s game.”Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 42 NJCAA national championships since 1987. For more information, visit www.buccaneersports.com.