Blinn kicks off at 3 p.m. vs. Cardinals in playoff opener
The last time the Blinn Buccaneers and Trinity Valley Cardinals took to the gridiron, the Cardinals bested the Bucs on their home turf, 34-18.
But Blinn coach Ronny Feldman isn’t worried about what took place in the past.
“It’s tough to beat any team in this conference twice in the same season, I don’t care who they are,” he said.
Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. Saturday at Bruce Field in Athens, Texas. The game will be broadcast on local radio KWHI 1280-AM and on www.kwhi.com.
The Bucs’ playoff fate was undecided going into their season finale against Cisco last Saturday. Blinn took care of its end by beating the Wranglers 44-34, but a playoff berth wasn’t guaranteed as the team needed Tyler to beat Kilgore. The fifth-ranked Apaches pulled out the assist and the Bucs jumped Kilgore in the conference’s final standings to snatch the final playoff berth.
Saturday, they’ll be looking to snatch a berth into the Southwest Junior College Football Conference championship game.
In their last meeting Oct. 12 at Cub Stadium, the Cardinals stormed out to a 27-3 lead at the end of the third quarter before Blinn put up 15 fourth-quarter points on a Klartel Claridy touchdown run and a 39-yard catch by Darrion Landry.
Since that game two weeks ago, Trinity Valley’s high-powered offense has yet to slow down. The Cardinals beat Tyler 55-31 the next week, then whipped Southeast Prep 86-7 to close out their regular season.
The Cardinals’ offense is putting up conference-best numbers: 525 yards per game, 323 passing yards and nearly 46 points per game. Sophomore quarterback Ryan Polite is throwing at a 67 percent completion rate (238 of 356) for 2,714 yards and 26 touchdowns.
“We’ve got to come up with third- and fourth-down stops,” Feldman said. “The game is no different on any level: those third-down conversions lead to first downs and more opportunities.”
To limit Trinity Valley’s time of possession, Blinn’s defensive linemen must get pressure on Polite, and defensive backs Ken Butler, Myles Curl and Keil Heidman must be there when Polite finds time. On the other side of the ball, the Bucs’ offensive attack must be able to control the clock and extend drives. That bodes well for the Bucs, as their running game has carried the team in past weeks.
Claridy, a sophomore from Brenham, leads the rushing attack with 855 yards and 13 touchdowns on 135 carries. Quarterback Garry Kimble has rushed for 397 yards in addition to a 93-for-171 passing performance for 1,160 yards.
Kimble’s favorite target: Landry, who’s grabbed 41 passes for 719 yards, five for touchdowns.
Their success Saturday heavily depends on how well the offensive line stacks up against two Trinity Valley defensive linemen who are committed to Division I programs next season.
“Our offensive line has got to play well,” Feldman said. “We’ve got to play really consistent at the quarterback position and the offensive line positions to give our running backs and receivers a chance.”
For more information on Blinn football, visit www.buccaneersports.com.