Concluding a three-week homestand, the Northeastern A&M Golden Norsemen entertain the Cardinals of Trinity Valley Community College on Oct. 9 at 3 p.m. as part of homecoming festivities at Robertson Field.
Third-year head coach Brad Smiley and his staff return more than 45 sophomores from a team which finished fifth in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference with a 1-5 record. The Cardinals finished 4-5 overall.
During Smiley’s first season, he guided the Cardinals to a berth in the SWJCFC post-season playoffs en route to a 6-4 overall mark. The Cardinals finished 4-3 in the conference before dropping a 31-20 decision to Navarro College in the conference semifinals.
Trinity Valley finished fourth in the conference by averaging 452.3 total yards per game on offense and although graduation cost the Cardinals’ running game with the departure of tailback Chad Winbush, there is still plenty of talent in the cupboard.
Expected back at tailback is Josh Johnson (5-10, 185 of Richardson, Texas) who finished behind Winbush’s 935 yards on 99 carries and eight TDs.
Johnson gained 615 yards on 95 carries with seven touchdowns while catching 10 passes for 88 yards.
Johnson also led the Cardinals with 18 kickoff returns for 413 yards and returning 13 punts for 210 yards.
Transfer Aron Franklin (6-2, 180 of Golad, Texas) joined TVCC after attending Southern Methodist University along with recruits Mason Hayes (5-9, 205 of Cedar Hill, Texas) and Ashton Jefferson (6-1, 200 of Alvin, Texas) are expected to challenge at running back.
Redshirt Garrett Beal (5-11, 215 of Channelview, Texas) should return at quarterback after guiding the Cardinals last season. Beal completed 109 of 215 passes for 1,405 yards and 12 touchdowns with nine interceptions. He also rushed for 159 yards on 35 carries.
Another redshirt player returning at quarterback is Tyler Little (6-1, 200 of Colleyville, Texas). Little completed 23 of 45 passes for 278 yards and one TD with three interceptions.
The Cardinals picked up Si’Darius Blackshire (6-1, 225 of Carthage, Texas) from arch-rival Kilgore Texas to play quarterback along with freshmen Tucker Carter (6-2, 205 of Allen, Texas) and Deric Davis (5-10, 190 of Arlington, Texas).
Graduation has changed the makeup of the Cardinals receiving corps with the loss of Chris Young (30 receptions, 462 yards and three TDs) and Darnell Williams (24 catches, 288 yards and three touchdowns).
Two sophomores expected back as receivers are Jared Williams and Jeremiah Williams.
Jared Williams (5-9, 190 of Fort Bend, Texas) caught 16 passes for 279 yards and four TDs last year while Jeremiah Williams (5-11, 190 of Allen, Texas) made 15 receptions for 232 yards and one touchdown.
Three transfers and three freshmen recruits are expected to bolster the Trinity Valley receiving corps at the start of fall preseason.
Another area hit hard by graduation was the interior offensive line. The Cardinals recruited six incoming freshmen to fill some holes at guard and tackle.
Trinity Valley’s defensive unit was also decimated by graduation with the loss of two starting linebackers and four starting defensive backs. The end result was the recruitment of six linebackers and eight defensive backs.
All-SWJCFC performer Austin Luke (6-3, 235 of Houston, Texas) is expected to return at defensive end. Luke received second team honors after recording 41 total tackles and three quarterback sacks.
Transfer Quinton Winfrey (6-1, 325 of Fort Bend, Texas) is expected to be an impact player at tackle after spending last season at Marshall University.
Returning at inside linebackers are Everett Daniels and Beck Coulter. Daniels (6-0, 205 of Sachse, Texas) recorded 38 total tackles and three quarterback sacks as a freshman starter while Coulter (6-2, 255 of Pago, Pago, Samoa) made 14 total tackles and one quarterback sack.
Providing experience in the Cardinals secondary are Ronnie Ford, Xavier Brown, David Curley and Kenneth Pinkard along with transfer Raphael Hendrix.
Ford (6-0, 195 of Dallas, Texas) recorded 27 total tackles while Brown (5-10, 170 of Channelview, Texas) posted 20 tackles.
Curley (5-10, 190 of Lewisville, Texas) led the secondary with 37 total tackles while Pinkard (5-10, 180 of Dallas, Texas) finished with 20 total tackles.
Hendrix (6-2, 195 of Marshall, Texas) joined the Cardinals after one year at the University Arkansas-Pine Bluff.