Editor's note: This is the final in a series of articles previewing the teams the Northeastern A&M Golden Norsemen play during the 2007 season.
Concluding the regular season at home, the Northeastern A&M Golden Norsemen will host the Tyler Junior College Apaches at 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 27.
Tyler Junior College has a long history of winning.
That, by itself, makes it odd to see the Apaches picked in the bottom half of the Southwest Junior College Football Conference.
TJC, which has missed the playoffs the last two years, was voted fifth by the media and seventh by the coaches.
Oddly enough the National Junior College Athletic Association picked Tyler 17th in their preseason poll.
Last season under former coach Jaime Critchlow, the Apaches finished 2-4 in the conference and 5-4 on the season. Critchlow was removed as head coach in January and replaced by Danny Palmer.
“I grew up really lucky to be around this conference,” said Palmer, a Tyler native. “ got to recruit the conference, I got to watch it when I was a kid. I'm very fortunate that (athletic director) Tim Drain and Dr. (William) Crowe have allowed me to be the head coach in my hometown.”
Palmer coached Division I football for eight years as an assistant at Houston. In that span, he signed 27 players from the SWJCFC.
“Our season is going to probably depend on how well our quarterback plays,” Palmer said of Steven Schwark (6-2, 200), a redshirt freshman from Mesquite Horn. “He's got good size, good speed; a strong guy.”
Palmer has said the offensive line and secondary are the team's strengths, but he was concerned about overall conditioning when the Apaches started preseason last week.
“We checked their weight every day to make sure we're not losing too much weight and end up getting dehydrated,” Palmer said. “We want to prevent that. The way the weather looks, it looks like it's going to remain hot for the next week or two.”
Based on what he has already seen, Palmer said he is expecting leadership from Schwark, offensive lineman Ryan Roget (6-4, 290 of Arlington, Texas), linebackers Josh Zamora (6-0, 200 of Mansfield, Texas) and Cordero Mumphrey (6-1, 215 of Kingwood, Texas), and defensive tackles Cammeron Hackney (6-1, 245 of Jacksonville, Texas) and Broderick Marshall (6-3, 280 of Austin, Texas).
Palmer said the offense will run multiple formations with an emphasis on throwing the football. Defensively, the Apaches will run a 4-2-5 scheme that TCU has been effective using.
Last season the Golden Norsemen earned a 35-27 win over the Apaches at Tyler's storied Trinity Mother Francis Rose Stadium. Deji Karim finished with 155 yards on 18 carries while Bo Bowling chipped in with 133 yards on 24 carries. The Norsemen wound up with 356 yards in total offense, with all but 56 coming on the ground.
The Apaches open the regular season on Aug. 25 by hosting Hutchinson, Kan. at 7 p.m.