KC suffers first-round stump

Kris Dobbins / THE FLARE || Quarterback Tanner Tausch battles off Navarro’s defenders in an attempt to carry the ball down field. The Rangers suffered a tough first-round Southwest Junior College Football Conference playoff loss to the Navarro Bulldogs last Saturday at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium, 42-14. A bowl game appearance for KC is to be determined.

Staff Writer

Kilgore’s post-season hopes are still alive as the team awaits news on a potential bowl bid. The National Junior College Athletic Association is offering nine bowl games, two of which are in Texas.

The Rangers’ conference championship hopes and an assured bowl invitation ended Saturday when a 22-point eruption by Navarro in the fourth quarter proved too much for another miraculous KC comeback. Navarro earned a 42-14 win over the Rangers and advanced to the Southwest Junior College Football Conference championship game against Northeastern Oklahoma.

“I give a lot of credit to Navarro,” said head coach J.J. Eckert. “They made some plays when they had to. It was a great game they played.”

The Navarro-NEO game is set Saturday in Miami, Okla.

When KC and NC met in the regular season on Sept. 22, KC trailed 35-30 heading into the fourth quarter before using touchdowns on special teams and defense to earn a 45-35 win.

Kris Dobbins / THE FLARE || Sophomores Ed’Marques Batties (left) and Dylan Dippel sit in disappointment as their bid for a conference championship slips away.

Navarro found the end- zone first when quarterback Darian Godfrey threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to tight end Gerard Shillow. Shillow ended the day with six catches for 53 yards.

The Rangers responded with an 82-yard drive that ended on an 8-yard scramble up the middle by quarterback Tanner Tausch to tie the game.

Navarro’s following two drives resulted in points.

Bulldog kicker Patrick Sohrt booted a 48-yard field goal, and right before the half Godfrey connected with wide receiver Markel Steward-Gillespie for the 23-yard TD to boost the lead to 17-7.

In the second half, Tausch threw a fade to the end zone and hit WR Darrin Brown to make the count 20-14 after Navarro’s previous drive was capped with a 26-yard field goal from Sohrt.

Later in the fourth, the Ranger defense forced Navarro to turn the ball over on downs on the KC 13-yard line, but KC failed to take advantage of the opportunity as Tausch fumbled the snap. Navarro recovered at the 9 yard line and Godfrey ran it in from there for the touchdown. A successful two-point conversion gave Navarro a 28-14 lead.

Navarro’s final two scores came on a 43-yard run by Tyler Middleton and a 29-yard halfback pass from Traylon Shead to Eddie Johnson.

Kris Dobbins / THE FLARE || Wide receiver Ed’Marques Batties squeezes through Navarro defenders Saturday at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium.

Tausch completed 15 of 29 passes for 202 yards and two interceptions, but the Rangers were held to negative rushing yards.

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