By Michael V. Hannigan
Real football is finally here.
The No. 7-ranked TVCC Cardinals will kick-off the regular season 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, at Bruce Field against No. 4 Snow College.
Snow College is located in Ephraim, Utah.
The game is the annual Battle in the Valley, sponsored as always by Virtual Communication Specialists.
Every year, the Battle in the Valley pits the Cardinals against a highly-ranked team that would not ordinarily play in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference, and this year is no different. The Snow Badgers finished the 2017 season with a 10-1 record, including a 43-41 win over Blinn College in the El Toro Bowl.
The Cardinals are coming off a 9-3 season and have appeared in 62 straight NJCAA polls, including the last 23 in the Top 10.
Saturday will also mark the TVCC head coaching debut of Sherard Poteete, who was the offensive coordinator the past two years. He takes over for Brad Smiley, who left to become the offensive coordinator at Northwestern State University.
Poteete told TVCCsports.com that fans shouldn’t expect a lot of changes.
“Being a Trinity Valley guy, we’re going to keep doing what we’ve always done,” Poteete said. “We’re going to be high tempo and put a lot of points on the scoreboard and on defense, we’re going keep attacking and flying around.
“Obviously, I’ll put my touches on some things, but, for the most part, it will continue to be Cardinal football as it has been.”
The Cardinals return four starters on each side of the ball, as well as all three specialists. They went 5-2 in SWJCFC play last year, earning the No. 1 playoff seed, and went on to a come-from-behind 48-41 win against defending national champion Garden City Community College College in the C.H.A.M.P.S. Heart of Texas Bowl.
Poteete knows the opener against Snow will be a test.
“Snow has great history and a great program,” he said. “Those guys up there have done a great job. They’re a Top 10 team.”
“You’re going to have two Top 10 teams in the nation here in Athens, Texas. You can’t get any better than that,” Poteete said.