Editor's note: This is a story on the Kilgore College-Tyler Junior College game from last Saturday, Aug. 25, the season opener for both teams. For a KC preview, see the News Herald's annual football preview, a part of today's print edition. It will also be placed online at kilgorenewsherald.com.
You might say Kilgore College was prepared for Tyler Junior College to open the 2018 season.
The Rangers, taking on TJC in the somewhat-strange setting of Lindale’s Eagle Stadium due to renovations at Tyler’s Rose Stadium, jumped all over Tyler, beating their rival 42-10 in front of an apparently-stunned Apaches home crowd on Saturday night.
KC (1-0) heads to Corsicana this Saturday for its Southwest Junior College Football Conference opener against Navarro, a 7 p.m. kickoff. Tyler (0-1) will host Blinn, presumably at Rose Stadium, also on Saturday night. The KC-TJC game was a non-conference contest; the two meet with a conference win on the line in the final game of the regular season on Oct. 27, here at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium.
The game was close enough early, although TJC could have been up two scores. Defensive lineman Sam Johnson caused a TJC fumble inside KC’s 5-yard-line, giving the Rangers the ball. KC took the ball down the field and scored, a 47-yard reverse pass to Lucky Daniels from fellow wide receiver J.T. Mackey. KC quarterback Jacob Frazier was injured in the contest, forcing coach J.J. Eckert to go a different path.
Later in the first quarter, that path included a pass from Dakota Michaels – listed on the roster as a halfback – to running back De’Montre Tuggle, a 37-yarder that gave KC the 14-7 advantage. KC kicker Benji Peralez, from Kilgore High School, would go 6-for-6 in extra points against the Apaches.
In the second quarter, more of the same: Mackey recovered a fumble in the end zone, putting the Rangers up 21-7, and TJC closed the half with a 24-yard field goal. They wouldn’t score again.
It was all KC in the second half. Gilmer native Aaron “Poppy” Brown, now at QB, scored on a 6-yard run three minutes into the third quarter, and the Rangers added a pair of fourth-quarter scores: one on a 3-yard fumble recovery and return by Johnson – yes, him again – and then a 30-yard run by Scooter Adams.
KC had some impressive numbers in the game: they converted 8-of-16 third downs, had a few fumble recoveries, and sacked TJC’s quarterback three times. Adams led the way with 115 yards rushing and the score on 14 carries. Carlos Frank had 47 yards. Tuggle had 38. Brown finished with 22 on just three carries.
Through the air, it was by committee: Brown finished 7-of-13 for 81 yards; Michaels was 7-of-11 for 61 yards and the score to Tuggle; Mackey was 1-of-1 for the 47-yard score to Daniels; and Frazier was 3-of-3 for 42 yards.
Daniels had four catches for 73 yards. Omar Manning had three, for 43, and Tuggle three, for 47. Mackey had three for 41; DeAndre Rachal, two for 13; Frank two, for 12 yards; and Kevin Jones one catch for 2 yards.
TJC didn’t help itself with a massive number of penalties: 14, for 150 yards.