BRENHAM, Texas – The No. 6 Blinn College Buccaneers suffered their first loss of the season after falling to No. 4 Tyler Junior College Apaches, 34-22, on Saturday night at Cub Stadium in Brenham.
The Buccaneers held a 22-14 lead late in the game, but couldn't hold on as the Apaches scored 20 points in the final quarter to come out on top.
"We didn't execute very well at times and we left a lot of points on the field, but we kept fighting and never gave up, which is a good thing." Ryan Mahon, Blinn head coach said. "Tyler is a good quality team and hopefully we are going to see them again in the playoffs."
The Buccaneers entered the fourth quarter with a 15-14 lead and increased it to 22-14 after a 42-yard pass from freshman quarterback Devin Williams to sophomore wide receiver Dandre Reed led freshman tailback Carlos Grace to score. Grace trotted the ball in from the one-yard-line with 12:52 remaining to give Blinn a cushion.
Williams, Reed, Grace, and Keric Wheatfall led the Buccaneer offense with one touchdown each. Williams completed 10-of-28 passes for 225 yards, Grace rushed for 119 yards, while Wheatfall received 88 yards in four catches, and Reed caught three passes for 85 yards.
However, less than a minute after the Buccaneers went up 22-14, Tyler pulled within one point of Blinn. A 30-yard rushing touchdown allowed the Apaches to narrow in 22-21 with 11:59 on the clock. The Apaches continued to gain momentum, scoring during their next possession, on an eight-yard touchdown pass to take a 27-22 lead for the first time in the game with 7:51 left.
The Buccaneers had a chance to answer back as Williams connected with Reed on a 50-yard pass to put Blinn in the red zone, but the Apaches defense came up with the stop. Tyler scored the final touchdown of the game on a 14-yard run for a 34-22 lead with 3:18 left.
The Buccaneers and Apaches defenses opened the game strong as neither team allowed a touchdown in the first quarter. Blinn managed to get on the board following an interception caught by freshman defensive back Vonte Davis that led to field goal. Blinn's sophomore kicker Ryan Buckley kicked a 27-yard field goal for the Buccaneers to take a 3-0 lead with 5:49 remaining in the opening quarter.
In the second quarter, Davis once again came up with a turnover that led the Buccaneers to score. After Davis recovered a fumble, Buckley propelled Blinn to a 6-0 lead with a 29-yard field goal with 11:20 left in the first half. Blinn's second interception of the game caught by freshman cornerback Ricky Thomas, led to the Buccaneers first touchdown. With 4:02 remaining in the half, Reed rushed in the ball from seven yards out for Blinn to take a 13-0 lead.
The Buccaneers added onto their lead as they opened the second half with a safety during Tyler's first possession in the third quarter to take a 15-0 lead with 11:15 on the clock.
Tyler landed on the board for the first time with 7:22 left in the third quarter. Following a caught interception, the Apaches rushed the ball in from the one-yard-line to trail 15-7. The Apaches gained momentum after stopping the Buccaneers and scoring again on their next drive, this time on a 10-yard passing touchdown to enter the fourth quarter trailing 15-14. The Apaches outscored the Buccaneers 20-7 in the final quarter.
The Buccaneers record dropped to 4-1 in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference. Blinn will take on Arkansas Baptist College on Saturday, Oct. 7 at 1 p.m. on the road.
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 36 NJCAA national championships since 1987.