The KC Rangers, one year after opening the season with four straight losses, have jumped out to a 2-0 record in 2012 with wins over Dodge City (Kan.) Community College and nationally-ranked, arch-rival Tyler.
KC 38, TJC 30
KC traveled to Tyler Sept. 8 to take on No. 13 TJC in their first of two meetings this season, and the 112th meeting between the two teams became an instant rivalry classic.
Getting his first start of the season was freshman quarterback Tanner Tausch, who was named Southwest Junior College Football Conference Offensive Player of the Week, completing 19 of 29 passes for 293 yards.
Tausch got going with a 55-yard pass to wide receiver Ed’Marques Batties, who took it in for the score. Tausch later hooked up with tight-end Steven Borden for a 20-yard scoring strike and Darrin Brown for a 68-yard touchdown. KC had a 21-0 advantage in the first quarter.
The three extra points came from kicker Dylan Nowak who later booted a 39-yard field goal.
Momentum switched to TJC in the second quarter, where the Apaches scored a pair of touchdowns to make the score 24-14 at halftime.
Starting the second half at quarterback was sophomore Emory Miller, who got into the scoring act quickly with a short touchdown run to put the Rangers on top 31-14.
Early in the fourth quarter, TJC cut the deficit to a touchdown (31-24), but with less than a minute remaining, a fumbled snap by the Apaches and a recovery and touchdown by KC’s Daniel Lopez extended Kilgore’s lead.
TJC responded with another touchdown from star quarterback Tyrik Rollison which cut the lead to eight points after the extra point failed.
To add to the drama, TJC recovered an onside kick, but the Apaches threw incomplete with eight seconds remaining (the receiver caught the ball but was unable to keep a foot inbounds.)
“A lot of mistakes, but by keeping and continuing to fight we found a way to ultimately win the football game,” said KC head coach J.J. Eckert.
KC 26, DODGE CITY 15
The Rangers started their winning streak by defeating Dodge City, 26-15 – the first KC win in the SWJCFC vs. Kansas Jayhawk Conference series since it began in 2006.
The KC defense played a major role in the win by letting Dodge City score only one offensive touchdown. Lopez also came up big for the Rangers, returning an interception for a score and recovering a fumble.
Also recovering fumbles were sophomore cornerback James Jones and defensive lineman DeAngelo Brooks.
On the offensive side of the ball, Miller threw for 136 yards and a touchdown, connecting with Batties five times, one for the score.
Tailback Karrion Morrisey gained 46 yards and contributed two rushing touchdowns.