Malakoff sets record, beats Elkhart 75-0

By Michael V. Hannigan/HCN

That sound you heard in Malakoff Friday night was the Tiger offense exploding.

The Tigers finished the regular season at home with a 75-0 beatdown of visiting Elkhart to push their record to 9-1.

Malakoff football historian Benny Rogers said the Tigers set a school record for single-game scoring (previous high of 73) and have won 16 straight home games.

Continue reading “Malakoff sets record, beats Elkhart 75-0”

TVCC to take on NEO in regional championship game

The Southwest Junior College Football Conference regional championship game is scheduled Saturday at Bruce Field. The Cardinals (8-2) take on Northeastern Oklahoma (8-2) at 3 p.m.

The Cardinals, who entered the playoffs as the top seed for a fifth straight year, were a 47-34 winner against Navarro in semifinal action at Bruce Field. NEO took care of Blinn, 38-34.

The winner of Saturday’s game earns the host role in the C.H.A.M.P.S. Heart of Texas Bowl in Copperas Cove on Saturday, Dec. 2, though NEO is scheduled to host the inaugural Midwest Fall Classic Bowl on Sunday, Dec. 3.

During the regular season, the Cardinals were a 27-14 winner against NEO at Bruce Field.

In this week’s NJCAA rankings, the Cardinals are No. 6. It marks the 59th straight poll in which the Cardinals have appeared — 21 straight in the Top 10.

Handing out award from TVCC’s 47-34 win over Navarro

TVCC Cardinal QB Shelton Eppler pauses for a prayer next to the jerseys of Bryce Cook and Tyler Spillman before Saturday’s game. (Michael V. Hannigan photo)

By Michael V. Hannigan/HCN

The Cardinals are just one game away from adding yet more championship hardware to the field house.

Saturday, TVCC dispatched Navarro 47-34 in the SWJCFC semifinal game played at Bruce Field in Athens. NEO beat Blinn, 35-26, in the other semifinal to set up next Saturday’s NEO vs. TVCC Regional Championship game at Bruce Field.

But first, let’s hand out some awards from yesterday’s game.

The Fast Start Award – The Cardinals

TVCC started on fire Saturday in all phases of the game. Tony Mullins had a nice return on the opening kickoff (more about him later), the offense scored on the very first play from scrimmage, and the defense forced the Bulldogs into a 3-and-out on their first possession. You can’t do much better than that.

The Reading Is Fundamental Award – Shelton Eppler

Cardinal fans have gotten used to seeing the offense score often, but there’s still something special about breaking the 40-point barrier. QB Shelton Eppler accounted for five touchdowns (four passing, one rushing), turning the scoreboard into a pinball machine. Multiple times on Saturday the sophomore saw what the Navarro defense was doing and made great decisions. In the video below, watch as Eppler sees the Bulldog linebackers show the blitz and signal out to his left before throwing a TD to Kam Williams.

The Spin Cycle Award – Kam Williams

Speaking of Williams, he had three touchdown receptions and on two of them left the defender grasping air with a wicked spin move. If football doesn’t work out for him, Williams might have a career as a politician’s spokesman. … Oh, and happy birthday, Kam.

The Special Forces Award – Tony Mullins

Big returns by Tony Mullins gave the Cardinals great field position, including the punt return below that set up a field goal. Navarro became so concerned by what Mullins could do that they started kicking out of bounds, often very short. SPECIAL MENTION: J.R. Blades, who downed a Cardinal punt on the Navarro 1 yard line, setting up a safety.

Tony Mullins sets up @tvccfootball with a big punt return.

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The Manumana Sack Attack Award – Marvin Terry

When the fictional Fightin’ Armadillos needed a big defensive play from the defensive line, it was Manumana The Slender who came through. Coming off a six-sack performance last week, Marvin Terry added at least another four this week, including one that looked just like Manumana’s sack in “Necessary Roughness.” He also added a forced fumble and a safety.

And yes, you have to go all the way to Hollywood to find a way to describe just how good Terry has been the past two weeks.

The Gabe Kotter Award – Greg Eisworth II

The absence of safety Greg Eisworth II from the line up the past two weeks has been noticeable. His return Saturday was just as noticeable. His signature play was a tipped pass interception that he returned 21 yards for a touchdown and had his teammates singing, “Welcome Back.”

The Game via Twitter

8 awards from TVCC’s conference-clinching win over Cisco, 31-21

By Michael V. Hannigan/HCN

The Trinity Valley Community College Cardinals brought home another trophy, earning a regular season title and the first seed in the playoffs with a 31-21 win over Cisco Saturday afternoon. The Cardinals will host the Navarro Bulldogs at Bruce Field Saturday, Nov. 4, in a SWJCFC semifinal match-up.

But first, let’s hand out some awards from this Saturday’s win.


Hard to beat the tweet by @TVCCFOOTBALL Sunday afternoon of the regular season trophy strapped into the car seat for the ride home. That’s five straight conference titles for the Cardinals, something that had never been done before. #17DRIVEfor5

THE BOOKENDS AWARD — Prince Robinson

Cardinal CB Prince Robinson started the scoring on the afternoon, returning an interception 35 yards for a touchdown late in the first quarter. He also sealed the game for the Cards with an interception late in the fourth quarter. In between he made any receiver in his area wish they had stayed in Cisco. Maybe I should have called this the ROBINSON ISLAND AWARD.


Luke Termin hit Cisco’s Henry Allen so hard on a sack in the fourth quarter that the entire crowd groaned in pain for the Wrangler QB. It wasn’t long afterward that Robinson got his second interception.


Dhailon Philips had some very patriotic shoes for Saturday’s game. Probably not a coincidence that I noticed them during the National Anthem.

Great kicks on TVCC's Dhailon Phillips Saturday afternoon.

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On a day when the offense struggled to score in the red zone and turned the ball over four times (twice in the end zone), the Cardinals still put up three touchdowns and a field goal. Quarterback Shelton Eppler had two TD throws to Torin Justice (6 and 14 yards), Aphonso Thomas had a 27-yard touchdown run, and Angel Sevier had a 34-yard field goal.


The Cardinal defense came up huge Saturday. Two of Cisco’s three touchdowns came on a Pick 6 and after a blocked punt set the Wranglers up in a first-and-goal situation. The Cardinal defense also added a touchdown of its own. Kenneth George Jr. had an interception to go with Robinson’s pair, as well.


TVCC President Dr. Jerry King was on the field before the game Saturday for homecoming festivities and low-fived the players as they left the field after warming up. I couldn’t help but wonder how many college presidents were on the field with their team this weekend.

TVCC President Jerry King greets the Cardinals.

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THE AUTHENTIC REACTION AWARD — Defensive Coordinator Will Reed

There were 5-10 minutes between the end of the Cardinal game and word on the final of the NEO v. Blinn game. NEO had to win for the Cardinals to get the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. When the final score was announced (NEO 35 – Blinn 26), Coach Will Reed pumped his hand into the air in a moment of pure exuberance that let you know just how important winning is at TVCC.

Handing out 8 awards from Malakoff’s win over West

By Michael V. Hannigan/HCN

The Malakoff Tigers stayed perfect by beating the West Trojans (6-2) Friday night, 40-27.

The win improves Malakoff’s record to 8-0 overall, 6-0 in District 9-3A and sets up a huge game next Friday for the Tigers, who are on the road at Teague (6-2, 5-1).

But before we move on to Teague, let’s pass out awards from this week’s win over West.


Malakoff’s quarterback Judd Miller was a touchdown machine when the Tigers got close to the end zone, scoring on runs of 11, 12 and 6 yards. He scored the last three touchdowns for Malakoff.


The Tigers opened up the scoring on their first possession when Jake Lee beat one-on-one coverage and threw up his hand to let Miller know he was open. Lee made a nice catch and did a great job keeping his feet in bounds at the back of the end zone.

Moving the pile in Malakoff.

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Zee Bailey wins this award so often I may have to come up with an oak leaf cluster system for him. Friday night, he provided a toughness edge as evidenced by one run where he disappeared under a pile of defenders at the 19 yard line, but the pile kept moving. With some help from his friends Bailey wound up at the 8, gaining 11 yards after being swarmed by defenders. He also scored on a 46-yard run.


Coach Driskell has turned the point after attempt this season into a strategic moment, often going for 2. On one memorable conversion Friday, Miller handed off to Bailey, who took a step to his left then ran right before pitching the ball back to Miller in what turned into an option play. Driskell not only scores more points, he makes sure the opposing coaches have one more thing to defend.

BIG LEG AWARD — Everardo Garcia

Punter Everardo Garcia proved himself a valuable weapon for Malakoff in the second half. On his first punt, he drew a roughing penalty after fielding a high snap. After that he had kicks to the West 1 yard line, 9 yard line, and 24 yard line with no return on any of them. The field position Garcia provided was a big part of the win.


Whether you thought a particular call was correct or not, there is no debating that the referees were a big part of the game. Both teams had touchdowns called back and were hit with penalties at key moments.

TOUGH ENOUGH AWARD — Malakoff Flag Corps and Dance Team

It was cold Friday night … 40-degree cold. But when the band hit the field at halftime, the Malakoff Flag Corps and Dance Team were there to perform like always in their very pretty, but very thin, costumes. If you don’t think that’s a display of toughness, you weren’t on the sidelines last night trying to stay warm.

DO IT ALL AWARD — Adonia Dixon-Thomas and all the others

Through more than 20 years of covering football in Texas, one of my favorite sights is seeing a student in a different uniform in the band at halftime. In Malakoff, WR Adonia Dixon-Thomas took off his pads after the first half to perform his duties as drum major and lead the Pride of Malakoff Band. There were also cheerleaders marching in the band. Kudos to all of you. … We love football, but many of students involved in making Friday night special never play the game. Thank you to them, as well.