By Michael V. Hannigan

CORSICANA — The Cardinals only forced one turnover Saturday afternoon, but it came at the most important time.

TVCC’s Kendre Lackey pounced on a Navarro fumble at the Cardinal 17 yard line with under 2 minutes left in the game to preserve a 45-44 victory for the Cards.

The win improves TVCC’s conference record to 5-2 on the year and clinches the No. 2 seed in the playoffs. The Cardinals will host a playoff game Saturday, Nov. 2, at Bruce Field. The opponent had not been announced at the time of this column.

Saturday, the Cardinals were able to escape Corsicana with a win despite losing the turnover battle 4-1. TVCC also had a punt blocked.

Navarro used those mistakes, all but one of which came in the second half, to turn a 24-17 halftime deficit into a 44-31 lead early in the fourth quarter.

The Cardinals were able to claw their way back ahead mainly on the running of Nate Davis, who had 86 yards and a touchdown on eight carries in the fourth quarter.

But nothing was easy for TVCC in this game, so Navarro was able to drive one last time into the Cardinal red zone before Lackey’s fumble recovery secured the win.

Michael’s Notebook

– You can’t always sum up a football game with just one stat, but with this game you can: red zone efficiency. Both teams have five red zone possessions during the game. TVCC converted those into 31 points on four TDs and a field goal. Navarro got 16 points on one TD and three field goals. For the Cardinals, credit goes to both sides of the ball for taking care of business inside the 20 yard line.

– So why, then, was the game so close? Look no farther than those four turnovers and the blocked punt. Navarro was able to generate 31 points off those mistakes. The Cardinals are going to have to do a much better job of protecting the ball if they want to win next week and advance to the conference championship game.

– Nate Davis has really stepped up at running back for the Cardinals the past couple of weeks. Saturday, Davis carried the load in the fourth quarter when TVCC needed a spark. He finished the day with 130 yards on 17 carries and a 38-yard touchdown. Ja’Quan Tillis also had a good day with 79 yards on 13 carries.

– Quarterback Jeremy Hunt also had a pretty good day except for the two interceptions. He connected with 10 different receivers for 264 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for a touchdown.

– Eddie Godina only had one field goal, but it was an important one. With it he tied the SWJCFC single season record for field goals with 19.

– So we can’t just leave this as a scoring summary note. Early in the second quarter, the Cardinals had a first-and-goal on the Navarro 5 yard line. At the snap, Jeremy Hunt rolled right while his receivers all flooded the right side of the field. All but offensive lineman Makai Hart, who leaked out to the left side. Hunt threw back to Hart who ran in for the touchdown. Key to that play was that Hunt’s pass was backward, meaning Hart didn’t have to be an eligible receiver. It is also why you see it scored as a running play.

– Scoring Summary

  • N – Troy Edwards Jr. 16 pass from Parker McNeil. (Will McDaniel kick). 9:36, 1Q. Navarro leads 7-0.
  • T – Deshon Moreaux 25 pass from Jeremy Hunt. (Eddie Godina kick) 6:51, 1Q. 7-7 tie.
  • T – Jeremy Hunt 17 run. (Eddie Godina kick) 2:03, 1Q. TVCC leads 14-7.
  • N – Shadeed Ahmed 31 pass from Parker McNeil. (Will McDaniel kick). 14:12, 2Q. Score tied 14-14.
  • T – Makai Hart 5 run. (Eddie Godina kick). 12:40, 2Q. TVCC leads 21-14.
  • T – Eddie Godina 24 FG. 7:22, 2Q. TVCC leads 24-14.
  • N – Will McDaniel 27 FG. 4:42, 2Q. TVCC leads 24-17.
  • N – Will McDaniel 27 FG. 10:58, 3Q. TVCC leads 24-20.
  • N – Will McDaniel 31 FG. 8:34, 3Q. TVCC leads 24-23.
  • N – Tray Bishop 45 interception return. (Will McDaniel kick). 6:16, 3Q. Navarro leads 30-24.
  • N – Shadeed Ahmed 25 pass from Parker McNeil. (Will McDaniel kick). 4:35, 3Q. Navarro leads 37-24.
  • T – Keonta Fiakpui 14 pass from Jeremy Hunt. (Eddie Godina kick). 1:36, 3Q. Navarro leads 37-31.
  • N – Tru Edwards 70 pass from Parker McNeil. (Will McDaniel kick). 13:16, 4Q. Navarro leads 44-31.
  • T – Keonta Fiakpui 5 pass from Jeremy Hunt. (Eddie Godina kick) 11:33, 4Q. Navarro leads 44-38.
  • T – Nate Davis 38 run. (Eddie Godina kick) 5:11, 4Q, TVCC leads 45-44.