The Kilgore College Rangers were hampered by only a couple of stumbling blocks this season – and neither of them were named Tyler Junior College.
The Rangers ran through, over and around archrival TJC on Saturday, 49-17, here at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium, clinching the Southwest Junior College Football Conference's regular season championship – and the number one seed in the conference playoffs – with a 7-2 record.
KC will host fourth-seeded Navarro this Saturday, a 3 p.m. kickoff, and the winner will play either Blinn or Northeastern Oklahoma A&M next Saturday in the conference's championship game. If KC wins, that title game will also be here.
Although KC is the top seed and actually defeated NEO during the regular season, in the latest NJCAA national poll, KC is 10th -- and NEO is ninth.
Read a preview of KC-Navarro, one of just two teams to beat the Rangers this year, inside today in the Game Time Weekly section. It'll also be online at kilgorenewsherald.com, at the bottom of the front page under special sections.
The only section the TJC Apaches got on Saturday was the blowout section.
The Rangers outscored Tyler, 35-17, in the first half, then added 14 second-half points for good measure.
The Apaches (4-5 to complete their season) scored first on a 1-yard run by Kevon Thompson, but there weren't many TJC highlights after that. The Rangers put together a five-play, 77-yard drive that ended with a 20-yard touchdown un by Quez Allen, and then Allen had another first-quarter touchdown run that put KC into the lead for the rest of the game. That score came after a TJC fumble, which was caused by Adrion Robertson and recovered by Devin Mitchell.
TJC got another score, this time a 36-yard field goal by Blake Patterson, to stay within four points (14-10), but KC would get 21 more in the first half to blow the game open.
Scooter Adams scored on a 4-yard run; Kyshawn Smith scored on an interception return for a touchdown of 58 yards; and then Raudel Alvarez intercepted a pass for KC and Allen scored his third rushing touchdown of the game.
Tyler added another second-quarter touchdown to trail 35-17 at the half, but after a huge halftime show by the Rangerettes, Apache Belles and both bands, it was all KC. The Rangers scored on the first possession of the second half, Allen's fourth and final touchdown run of the game, and then scored in the fourth quarter, a 58-yard run by Adams.
KC finished with 430 total yards, 347 on the ground.
KC whipped Tyler both times this year: the non-conference game to open the season, played at Lindale due to construction at Rose Stadium, and then last Saturday. KC outscored TJC, 91-27, this season.
When KC and Navarro meet this Saturday here, the other conference semifinal will be played in Miami, Okla., with NEO hosting Blinn. Blinn beat unheralded New Mexico Military, a conference newcomer, on Saturday, 58-35, to finish third in the regular season standings, and NEO beat Cisco, 49-12, to clinch the second seed.