By Mike Alzamora/KTBB Sports
Hail Mary pray for us! As time expired for the Tyler Junior College Apaches, the prayer was answered. TJC Sophomore receiver Javante Mack caught a 52-yard touchdown pass from Tyler quarterback Tyrik Rollison as the clock ran out in the fourth quarter Thursday night at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium. The score sent a wild back and forth shootout into overtime tied at 52, after the Apaches appeared to be headed to an 0-2 start in conference play. Then after the teams traded touchdowns in the first overtime, TJC sophomore running back Ryan Young broke a 25-yard touchdown run up to middle, after Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College had turned the ball over on downs, to win the game for Tyler 65-59 over the nationally-ranked and previosly unbeaten Norseman. A rocous celebration ensued on the field as TJC delighted its fans to one of the greatest victories in the program’s recent history.
Offense was the name of the game on this night as the two teams amassed 1,150 yards of total offense and scored 124 points. Add a pair of 90+ yards kickoff returns for touchdowns by NEO’s Michael Thompson and we’re talking about more than 1,400 all-purpose yards when you add up all of the return yardage by both teams. Tyler’s total offense alone was 701 yards.
Rollison finished 30-of-55 for 503 yards passing and five touchdowns while he ran for another score. Apaches’ Sophomore receiver Tracy Smith caught eight passes for 174 yards and two TD’s inlcuding one in the first play of the first overtime for the TJC.
The victory improves Tyler to 3-2 on the season and 1-1 in Southwest Junior College Football Conference action, while the Norsemen fall to 4-1 on the year and 1-1 in league play. TJC travels to Corsicana next Saturday afternoon to take on the Navarro Bulldogs.