KC football

Scenes like this one, from last year’s Kilgore College-Cisco game, may not play out until the spring. That’s what’s on the table for the NJCAA Board of Regents on Monday, a proposal that would have junior college fall sports (including football, from all indication) move to spring for this school year. Other sports that are played in fall include volleyball, although KC doesn’t have a volleyball program, as well as softball and basketball.

There is a real possibility that Kilgore College football fans may have to wait for the Rangers to hit the field – after Christmas.

The NJCAA – that’s the National Junior College Athletic Association, the governing body of all things junior college sports – will vote Monday on a proposal that would move football to next year, due to the COVID-19 virus.

The association’s Presidential Advisory Council has recommended just that, as the NJCAA released a statement Thursday stating that a vote would happen Monday.

Although Kilgore College doesn’t have volleyball, the institution does, of course, have football and softball, albeit softball’s main season is in the spring. The NJCAA had previously, just a few weeks ago, moved basketball up to begin a little earlier than normal.

If there’s no football until sometime next spring, that not only means football fans are missing out for the time being, but it also means anyone wanting to see the Kilgore College Rangerettes – who perform at halftime of all of the Rangers’ home games and are an iconic American tradition – may have to wait until other public performances, or even for spring football

There’s really no clear statement yet. Will all NJCAA sports that begin in fall (football, volleyball, softball, even basketball) all move to spring 2021? Will it just be football? Will it be all sports except football? Will the decision be to leave the calendar like it is for the time being?

It’s difficult to say, and obviously, even with all the second-guessing and armchair-quarterbacking, no one will know for sure until Monday, when the NJCAA Board of Regents meets.

The Rangers have gone 18-4 the last two seasons combined, including an 8-2 season a year ago, Gooden’s first year as head coach after many years as a player, then as an assistant. The Rangers have won the Southwest Junior College Football Conference’s regular season title the last two years, and lost to New Mexico Military in last year’s SWJCFC playoffs.

KC is currently scheduled to open the season at home, here at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium, on Saturday, Aug. 22 against Tyler Junior College (also in the SWJCFC, although that is a non-conference meeting). KC hosts Blinn on Aug. 29, then travels to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M (NEO) on Sept. 5.

The remainder of the nine-game regular season schedule has KC hosting NMMI on Sept. 12, visiting Navarro Sept. 19, hosting Cisco Sept. 26, playing a homecoming game against Community Christian College (La.) on Oct. 3, a contest at Trinity Valley Oct. 17, and winding up the regular year with a conference game against Tyler at Rose Stadium there on Oct. 24. The SWJCFC playoffs would begin the following week.

Other preparations have been made, too, of course. The Rangerettes just completed tryouts for their 81{sup}st{/sup} line and named them this week (see that story elsewhere in the News Herald today), and obviously, the KC band has begun making its own preparations for fall games and performances.

Right now, though, there is at least a perception that Texas is one of the states hardest-hit by the virus, and Gov. Greg Abbott has asks everyone in Texas to not only social distance, but to wear masks in public to slow the spread.

Earlier this week, the city of Kilgore announced that there were 39 cases within city borders. And Gregg County and Smith County – which include Longview and Tyler, respectively – both announced hundreds of positive test results.

Also earlier this week, it was announced that the annual KC boys basketball camp scheduled to begin this coming Monday has been canceled.

Although the KC men’s and women’s basketball schedules aren’t on the college’s website (kilgore.edu), it should be noted that the NJCAA said a few weeks back that basketball practices could begin Sept. 14, and competition could start Oct. 16. And as of this writing, the tryouts scheduled for today at Masters Gym for the men’s program are still on.

The News Herald will, of course, have an update on this developing story on Monday, following the NJCAA Board of Regents meeting.


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