Big man in front

Kilgore College’s Melek Hamilton (10) gets a block from offensive lineman and Baylor University commitment Mose Jeffrey (far left) in the Rangers’ game against Navarro earlier this season. KC (4-1), ranked seventh in the nation, hosts non-conference opponent Texas A&T (0-4) Saturday at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium. KC hall of fame inductees will be introduced at halftime. (Photo by MICHAEL HAMPTON)

Did Kilgore College’s football Rangers just save their season last Saturday?

It’s very possible.

The Rangers went on the road and won in a difficult atmosphere, outlasting Northeastern Oklahoma A&M (NEO), 28-21. They got a little assist from former coach J.J. Eckert, who allowed the Rangers to practice in his new digs, at Northeastern State in Tahlequah.

The week before, things looked bleak for the Rangers after they lost a 38-23 game to Cisco here at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium. Not only had they lost a conference game, on their home field, as probably the favorite to win the conference, but they also dropped eight spots in the NJCAA’s top 20 national poll, from two to 10.

What a difference a week can make. KC beat NEO, is back up to number seven in the poll, and hosts non-conference, overmatched Texas A&T this Saturday, a special 5 p.m. kickoff.

This is also the Rangers’ annual hall of fame recognition game. KC will spend an entire weekend honoring former athletic greats. The golf tournament fundraiser is Friday at Tempest Golf Club off Highway 135, and then this year’s inductees will be feted at a luncheon on Saturday afternoon at the Devall Student Center ballroom, on campus.

Finally, during halftime of the KC-A&T game, they will be presented to the crowd (see the information box with this story).

On the field, there could likely not be a bigger mismatch. Save for stubbing its toe against Cisco, the Rangers have blown threw everyone else, averaging just shy of 33 points a game.

Texas A&T hasn’t won a game, and has lost to Blinn (62-7), Cisco (56-7), and Tyler (45-7).

The Rangers have a strong offensive line, and that line protects a good quarterback, sophomore Jacob Frazier. He’s 75-of-97 for 1,200 yards, 11 touchdowns and just four interceptions this season, averaging exactly 300 yards a game. He’s also rushed for 202 yards and three scores, and that yardage leads the team.

Frazier throws to a phenomenal crew of wide receivers, including Omar Manning, Gabe Douglas, Kevon Latulas, Da’Shawn Williams, Melek Hamilton and others. Manning leads the pack with 24 catches, and also leads in yards (510) and touchdowns (four). Douglas has 17 catches for 293 yards and three touchdowns, and Latulas, eight catches for 108 and a touchdown. Scooter Adams has two touchdown catches out of the backfield.

Defensively, linebacker Quinton Sharkey, just a freshman, leads the team in tackles (41) and he also has an interception. Fellow linebacker Keith Harris is second, with 27 tackles, and defensive back Jonathan Riley is third, with 25, and two picks.

Defensive linemen Kelton Moss and Sedrick Williams are co-leaders of the team in sacks 9three each), and Geovante Howard also has two interceptions.

The Rangers do get a breather this weekend from conference play, but then jump right back into it next week. And October looks brutal for KC.

They get two fellow conference teams both ranked in the top 15 in their next two games: at Trinity Valley in Athens next week (Oct. 5) and after a bye Oct. 12, it’ll be Blinn here Oct. 19.

KC closes the regular season out with a trip to Tyler on Oct. 26, a team they’ve demolished already in a non-conference game. KC ust finish in the SWJCFC’s top four to make the playoffs and possibly defend their championship..

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