A blowout win at home and a one-point win on the road: that’s the Kilgore College Rangers’ spring football season so far.
But the bottom line: they’re 2-0, and game three is here on Saturday.
The Rangers, ranked second in the nation with the release of the NJCAA’s latest poll on Monday, made their first road trip of the season last Saturday to Miami, Okla., to face Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, and came away with a 14-13 win. A missed extra point by the Golden Norsemen kept NEO from tying the game in the third quarter.
KC continues its Southwest Junior College Football Conference schedule this weekend. Coach Willie Gooden’s Rangers are back at home at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium Saturday for a 3 p.m. kickoff against New Mexico Military Institute, who only joined the conference in football just a couple of years ago.
There will be another tailgate party, with the community welcome to attend, on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at the south end parking lot at R.E. St. John.
Also, Saturday is employee appreciation day at the game, and KC employees will be admitted free with their employee ID.
New Mexico Military is 1-1 on the season to date, having lost their opener at Cisco, 31-20, but pulled a big upset last week, beating (previously top-10-ranked) Navarro, 56-38.
The Broncos dropped 28 points on Navarro in the second quarter alone, and held Navarro to just 14 second-half points. NMMI running back Anthony Grant scored four touchdowns and finished with 283 yards rushing on 21 carries. The Broncos as a team had 437 rushing yards.
NMMI quarterbacks Chandler Galban and Diego Pavia combined to go 7-of-14 for 137 yards and an interception, so the Broncos’ passing game didn’t exactly light it up. Kicker William Testa didn’t miss an extra point (8-of-8), but missed two field goals.
Navarro’s defense did have some success against the Broncos’ offensive line: they had four sacks, and an interception.
But New Mexico Military had 15 quarterback hurries, two interceptions, 10 pass break-ups, three sacks and three tackles for loss – in short, a bad day for Navarro.
As for KC, at NEO last Saturday, the Rangers scored both their touchdowns in the first half, and had to play stiff defense to hang on. KC scored a touchdown in each of the first two quarters, and led 14-7 at halftime. The Golden Norsemen added a third-quarter touchdown, but KC shut them out the rest of the game.
The Rangers held NEO to just 204 yards of total offense. NEO wasn’t able to force a turnover: the Rangers threw no interceptions, and the one fumble was recovered by a KC player.
Again, the Rangers only put the ball in the air a handful of times – they had 225 rushing yards.
Chance Amie completed 2-of-6 passes for 42 yards. But he ran for 113 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Garrison Johnson had 67 yards and another KC touchdown on nine carries. Brandon Webb had 29 yards rushing and Bailee Davenport had 12.
Kenny Pham only kicked two extra points, but hit them both. He averaged 40 yards per punt, though, on eight punts, including a booming 74-yarder.
Defensively, the Rangers had two sacks: one by Charles Hill, a loss of 14 yards, and one by Fred Hill, for a loss of 4. They had three tackles for loss: one by Keith Harris, for a loss of 12, and the other two by Tristan Driggers and Derrick Martin.
Antonio Brooks and Darrien Crawford each had a fumble recovery. Crawford also had three pass break-ups; Brooks had two, and Quinton Sharkey, Charles Hill and Tiji Paul each had one.
Maurice Westmoreland, Devonte Keys, and Marcus Wiser each had two quarterback hurries; Charles Hill, Warren Robinson, and Tavonn Alexander each had one.
It was good enough, though, to keep hold on that number two spot in the NJCAA poll.
Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College is number one, and Kilgore College is number two.
Garden City (Kan.) Community College is third in the poll, followed by Snow (Utah) College at four, Lackawanna (Penn.) College fifth, and Iowa Western at six.
Trinity Valley, one of KC’s biggest rivals in conference, checks in at seven. Independence (Kan.) sits at eight. Another one of KC’s conference rivals, Cisco, is nine, and Iowa Central is number 10.
The Mississippi conference elected to play its football last fall at regular time, and are not playing a spring season.