ATHENS, Texas – If there was a big winner in Saturday’s junior college showdown between Navarro College and Trinity Valley Community College, Mother Nature took that accolade. Torrential rain coupled with swirling winds made for a frustrating night for both football teams.
Navarro, however, seemed to make the necessary adjustments in the second half as it turned a first-half deficit into a 21-10 victory at Bruce Field. The Bulldogs (4-1, 2-1 in SWJCFC) scored all 21 points in the fourth quarter and found opportunities against the Cardinals (2-4, 0-3) using their run game.
Credit Navarro’s defense with an outstanding performance. Trinity Valley was held to only 148 total yards. The Cardinals fumbled eight times and lost two of them, and they only converted 2 of 16 third-down plays.
Here are 10 FBS recruits from Saturday -- five from Navarro, five from Trinity Valley -- who had notable outings:
DE Arnold Blackmon: Blackmon was one the biggest playmakers in Saturday’s showdown. Blackmon was everywhere on the field, finishing with six tackles, four for a loss, and a sack. He and Houston commit Michael Jolivet form a dangerous defensive end tandem. Blackmon has interest from New Mexico and Houston.
RB Traylon Shead: The former Texas Longhorn started slow but ended with a bang, rushing 21 times for 180 yards and two touchdowns. One of his scores was an 80-yard run that served as a dagger to Trinity Valley. Shead has offers from Arkansas, New Mexico and Purdue.
WR Tony Drake: He is listed at 5-foot-9 and 176 pounds, but he showed his versatility by lining up in the backfield. It was his second-half running that helped jump-start Navarro’s 263-yard rushing performance. Drake is at Navarro after spending time at Colorado State.
OLB Steve Orisakwe: Of all the players on the field, Orisakwe might have helped his recruiting stock the most with his performance. In front of Kansas Jayhawks recruiting coordinator Rob Ianello, Orisakwe recorded six tackles and played larger than his 6-foot, 205-pound frame.
OT Aleon Calhoun: Navarro has two Arkansas commits in linemen Mitchell Bell and Zach Fondal, and Calhoun (6-7, 345) is expected to be the next big commit. Calhoun, who has offers from Alabama, Florida State, LSU and others, was key in the second half, when the Bulldogs opted to predominately run the ball.
TRINITY VALLEY COMMUNITY COLLEGE
DT Quincy Russell: Russell is a former Texas pledge, and he looked like a high-major recruit Saturday. He finished with 11 tackles and made things tough for Navarro’s offense early. Russell has offers from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Kansas State, TCU and several other programs.
ILB Vedial Johnson: Johnson had his name called early and often, particularly for making tackles for loss. He finished with five tackles, and three of those were for negative yardage. Johnson also has seen time at running back for TVCC, but he is expected to shine as an inside backer on the FBS level.
ILB Davonte McMillian: With Johnson and Texas Tech Dakorey Johnson at the linebacker spots, McMillian doesn’t get a lot of publicity. The 5-9, 220-pound spark plug, however, made play after play at the right time Saturday night. McMillian had five tackles and a sack in the win.
OC Shawn McKinney: Aside from being wet from the heavy rain, TVCC quarterback Javia Hall’s jersey was relatively clean. McKinney deserves some credit for that. At 6-4 and 355 pounds, McKinney is a wide body who is deceptively quick off the ball. Utah State, Memphis, Oklahoma State and Baylor are showing interest.
DE Kewan Alfred: The defensive statistics will favor the TVCC linebackers, but Alfred deserves a big assist for that. Alfred’s play on the Navarro linemen allowed the linebackers to attack and make plays. Alfred has offers from Ole Miss, Louisiana Tech, UNLV and Utah State, and Texas has shown interest.