Blinn College football coach Ronny Feldman knows the Tyler Junior College Apaches are playing with a lot of confidence going into Saturday’s game against his Buccaneers.
Then again, his Bucs are riding their own wave of momentum. After all, they’ve won two straight games, including a 28-23 win against then-No. 17 Northeastern Oklahoma A&M on Saturday.
“They’re well-prepared and they play well, but our guys have some confidence too and we feel good about ourselves,” Feldman said of the 10th-ranked Apaches.
Against Tyler, Blinn will rely on a defense that had five takeaways from the Golden Norsemen, three of which came in the red zone. Linebacker Keil Heidman out of Clear Lake leads the defense with 33 tackles.
Blinn has nine fumble recoveries this season, tied for second most in the nation, and seven interceptions. The defensive line’s 13 sacks on the season is fourth-best in the country, including six from lineman Kyle Homes.
The Buccaneer offense, especially its running game, has been able to convert those turnovers to points. Blinn turned two of NEO’s turnovers into 14 points to turn a 7-0 deficit into a 21-0 halftime lead. A third-quarter touchdown by sophomore running back Klartel Claridy put the game out of reach.
The running game – anchored by Claridy, Spencer Cowley and quarterback Garry Kimble – is averaging more than 190 yards and two touchdowns per game.
“Our kids are playing really well on both sides of the ball,” Feldman said.
The Bucs will contend with sophomore quarterback Randy Price on Saturday, a player who’s completing 54 percent of his passes while averaging 168 passing yards a game. Freshman running back Terrance Taylor has rushed for 223 yards on the season while averaging 7.4 yards per carry.
Freshman linebacker Jaylin Minor has recorded 21 tackles and broken up two passes for the Apaches. Sophomore defensive back Kenny Iloka has two sacks and 27 tackles.
“It’s going to be a dang good game,” Feldman said.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. in Tyler. For more information on Blinn football, visit www.buccaneersports.com.