Rangers open season against Dodge City Saturday on home turf

Kris Dobbins / THE FLARE
Head Coach J.J. Eckert motions his instruction to the team for a drill during a two-a-day practice. Eighteen players are returning for the season.

KHANDICE HORN
Staff Writer

Practicing in 100-degree heat, the Ranger football team knows each sprint, kick and pass will help them in the coming season. The Rangers will open their season by hosting Dodge City (Kan.) 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1, at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium.

“It is a great advantage having our first game at home,” said head coach J.J. Eckert. “We do not have to travel, and having a crowd here is a huge plus.”

The team started practice Aug. 13. The Rangers have 18 returning players, eight defensive, eight offensive and two specialties, but the spot for quarterback is open.

“We have many quarterbacks that came out to practice and we haven’t picked one yet,” Eckert said. “We have a scrimmage that will give us a better idea.”

Offensive coordinator Josh Pruitt and other coaches spent nine months recruiting the players.

“We have offensive players returning from last season. However, the majority of them will all be new to their starting roles,” Pruitt said. “Key players to keep an eye on would be Darrin Brown and Ed’Marquis Batties as our only returning wide receivers. We also have sophomore running back Jameel Woodard that will be leading our running back core and should see significant time carrying the ball.”

The coaches of the Southwest Junior College Football Conference ranked KC sixth in their annual pre-season poll.

The coaches picked Trinity Valley Community College and Blinn College as tied for first place pre-season. Navarro came in third, Northeastern Oklahoma placed fourth and Cisco was ranked last behind KC.

“We are in a very tough conference this year and can’t single out any team,” Eckert said. “We just have to be the best team we can be.”

Pruitt said the team is excited.

“We are looking forward to having a great season. Go Rangers,” Pruitt said.

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