For four quarters of football Saturday night, it was about as intense as it could get here at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium.
The weather walked a tight-rope of a delay, and the Kilgore College-partisan crowd looked on as the Rangers overcame a gritty performance by visiting New Mexico Military Institute for an even-grittier performance of their own, as sophomore tailback De’Montre Tuggle and the Rangers’ offensive line put on a clinic. Tuggle rushed for 125 yards and all three of the Rangers’ touchdowns in a 21-19 KC win.
The Rangers, 2-1 overall and 1-1 in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference, will visit Cisco (2-0) for another conference game on Saturday, a 7 p.m. kickoff (see a preview in Game Time Weekly today).
New Mexico Military is a newcomer to the conference, having just joined last year, and didn’t fare well a year ago. But the Broncos brought some stiffness with them Saturday, in the form largely of tough quarterback Cody Frampton. Frampton had two touchdowns, including a 1-yarder in the second quarter to give his team the 7-0 lead.
Tuggle scored the first of his on a 1-yard run, still in the first half, to tie it up, and then gave the Rangers a 14-7 lead just over two minutes later on a 13-yard run.
In the third quarter, it was Tuggle again, this one with 10:55 left in the third, from 28 yards. KC led 21-7. That one came off a fumble recovery by Sam Johnson, who already had one for a score in KC’s win over Tyler in the season opener.
Frampton and his team wouldn’t go away. He scored again on another 1-yarder with five minutes left in the quarter. The Broncos trailed by seven.
But in the fourth, the defenses of both teams stiffened; Roland Tyson accounted for a 23-yard field goal that got the Broncos within four, 21-17. But KC’s Morgan Vest picked off a desperation pass by Frampton on what would be the Broncos’ final offensive play of the game. NMMI forced a KC punt, but instead of taking a chance of a punt return score, KC coach J.J. Eckert had Fernando Serrano step out of the back of the end zone, giving the Broncos a safety – but allowing KC to remain in front, 21-19, with just over two seconds left.
KC kicked off, and NMMI tried a hook-and-ladder-type play, but eventually it fell harmlessly to the turf at midfield, ending the game.
Tuggle wound up with 125 yards and the three scores on 19 carries. Dakota Michaels and Aaron “Poppy” Brown again split time at quarterback; Brown was 4-of-10 for 30 yards and two interceptions; Michaels was 6-of-8 for 82 yards.
J.T. Mackey caught four passes for 34 yards; Omar Manning and Kevin Jones each had two catches; and Scooter Adams and DeAndre Rachal each had one.
Kilgore High School’s own Benji Peralez was 3-for-3 in extra points, from the long-snap of another former KHS standout, Braden Grush.
Vest, Adrion Robertson, Jecorian Barnes and Sedrick Wiliams each had eight tackles. Robertson had a sack. Johnson had three tackles for loss.