It’s a rare year when Kilgore College and Tyler Junior College don’t play one game here at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium, and another at Rose Stadium in Tyler. Well, this will be one of those rare years.
Construction at Rose Stadium is forcing the two rivals to relocate the TJC home game this year to Lindale’s Eagle Stadium. That’s the season opener for both teams on Saturday, Aug. 28, a 7 p.m. kickoff.
Rose Stadium is getting a major facelift, including a new press box, new entrance, expanded parking and handicap accessibility, some seating changes and new fencing.
As a result, it’ll be Eagle Stadium for KC-TJC I. That’s the non-conference game between the two. The Southwest Junior College Football Conference rematch between the rivals will be here at R.E. St. John on Oct. 27 – that game often has a big effect on the SWJCFC playoff picture.
Both KC and TJC are led by two of the conference’s elder-statesmen coaches: J.J. Eckert, of course, at Kilgore College, beginning his 12th season as the head coach of the Rangers, and Danny Palmer at TJC, also starting his 12th season in charge.
Last year, the teams split the series: TJC won the season opener here, 22-8, in a driving rain of weather off Hurricane Harvey, and KC won the rematch game, 31-20, in the last regular season game of the year. But in a very rare season, neither team made the playoffs: Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, Trinity Valley and Blinn each finished with 5-2 conference records, leaving only one playoff spot open, and Navarro took that. Both KC and TJC were on the outside, looking in.
The Rangers face Tyler in Lindale to open, then hit the road to Corsicana for the conference opener against Navarro on Sept. 1. KC’s first home game is Sept. 8 against New Mexico Military Institute.