MILES MARABLE and DEVIN BROOKS
The KC Rangers lost its season opening game Saturday on a road trip to the Dodge City (Kansas) Community College Conquistadors, 27-16.
Coach J.J. Eckert was disappointed in the loss. “The first game of the year you have to be very sound in regards to not defeating yourself, and we did not do that,” he said. “I’m talking about turnovers. I’m talking about field position. I’m talking about over all conditioning. Those are three areas that we did not do a very good job.”
KC scored first with a 98-yard drive capped off with a touchdown pass from quarterback Tanner Tausch to tight end Andrew Peterson to give KC a 7-0 lead.
After a Dodge City touchdown, cornerback Daniel Lopez returned a blocked point-after try for two points to give KC a 9-6 lead.
Going into the half, KC was down 19-9. KC’s only other score came from a blocked field goal by defensive lineman Cliff Butler, which was returned 85 yards by linebacker Joe Lynch for a touchdown.
Offensively KC had 321 yards of total offense but committed four costly turnovers. Eckert said anytime you commit four turnovers you’re not going to win many games.
Tausch threw for 225 yards along with one touchdown pass and two interceptions. Running back Eddie Smith rushed for 97 yards on 17 carries averaging 5.7 yards per carry. He also had two fumbles.
Dodge City quarterback Deondre Ford threw for three touchdowns over the KC defense. Lynch and Butler highlighted the Ranger defense with a combined 22 tackles and five tackles for losses totaling 21 yards.
KC will play archrival Tyler Junior College in the home opener at 7p.m. Saturday at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium.
Eckert said the 1-0 Apaches will pose a challenge. “We will have our hands full and I hope that we’re able to step up to the challenge as a football team and hopefully we can go out and play a lot better as a football team,” he said.