Kilgore College, your Rangers are the Southwest Junior College Football Conference champions.
And it wasn’t close.
The Rangers got over 220 yards rushing and three touchdowns from quarterback Quez Allen and blasted Northeastern Oklahoma A&M (NEO), 62-19, here at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium on Saturday in the SWJCFC’s championship game. KC has won seven straight games – including beating NEO twice – and is now ranked fourth in the nation, shooting up the poll all the way from 10th after the win.
The Rangers have accepted a bid to play 20th-ranked Pima (Ariz.) Community College in the TIPS-CHAMPS Heart of Texas Bowl, now played at Waco ISD Stadium. That’ll be Saturday, Dec. 1, an 11:05 a.m. kickoff.
Tickets will go on sale beginning Monday at the KC athletic office in the student support building. All tickets are $20.
KC and Pima have met before; the programs faced off in the Pilgrim’s Pride Bowl in 2004, with Pima taking a 10-7 win.
Undefeated and top-ranked East Mississippi Community College (11-0) will face second-ranked Garden City (10-0) in the NJCAA’s national title game, to be played in Pittsburg, Kan., on Nov. 29.
In the seven straight wins, KC has scored over 40 points in five of them, and has beaten their last three opponents – Tyler, Navarro, and NEO – by 32, 31 and 43 points, respectively.
The Rangers had only beaten NEO by a touchdown, 31-24, in the regular season – that was actually the first game of the winning streak. But there was way more than a touchdown victory on Saturday. KC led 21-0 at the end of the first quarter, and 34-6 at halftime.
KC had 510 yards of total offense, and Allen only threw the ball seven times. He was 4-of-7 for 84 yards and a touchdown (a 30-yarder to Omar Manning).
But as mentioned, Allen’s legs were in demand. He ran for a whopping 224 yards and three scores, and teammate De’Montre Tuggle ran for 134 more, plus a touchdown in which he looked to be going out of bounds, then contorted his body to get the ball into the end zone in mid air.
Carlos Frank had 49 yards rushing and a score, and Scooter Adams also ran for a touchdown and 40 yards. Roger McCuller had five carries for 24 yards.
Four different receivers caught passes: Manning, for the 30-yard score; Chris Shaw, a 44 yard pass; Tuggle, one for 14 yards, and McCuller, one for -2.
Kicker Jose Goite got into the act, hitting a pair of field goals (a long of 40), but also nailing all eight of his extra point attempts. And it wouldn’t have been KC football without a defensive score – Kaleb Ford-Dement, who had four interceptions this season, got number five in tall order against NEO, returning it 75 yards for a touchdown.
The Rangers’ defense pretty much kept the Golden Norsemen in check. KC recorded five sacks in the game, four tackles for loss, two interceptions (Jon Alexander joined Ford-Dement in that category) and three fumble recoveries, incredibly all three by linebacker Brian Holloway.
Morgan Vest and Adrion Robertson led KC with 10 tackles each. Vest also had three pass breakups. Robertson had a sack and a half, and Sam Johnson had a sack and two tackles for loss.
KC had won the regular-season conference title, too, finishing with a 6-2 conference record and earning the number one seed in the playoffs. Then, the Rangers whipped both Navarro and defending conference champ NEO in the playoffs (NEO had defeated Blinn last week to earn its spot in the title game).
After the game, KC players, family and friends celebrated with the conference title trophy – the Roark Montgomery III Trophy – and KC head coach J.J. Eckert was presented with the coach of the year trophy.
In 12 seasons at KC, Eckert has guided the Rangers to the playoffs eight times, and has won both the regular season and conference playoff titles – this was the first time KC did both in the same season under Eckert, who now has a 65-49 record here.