Rangers triumphant in Homecoming contest

The Rangers take the field in their Homecoming victory. Photograph by Sara Holmes / THE FLARE
The Rangers take the field in their Homecoming contest against the Oklahoma A&M Golden Norsemen. The Rangers won 43-14. Photograph by Sara Holmes / THE FLARE

The Rangers mauled the Northeast Oklahoma A&M Golden Norsemen 43-13 in their Homecoming contest to move into a tie with Tyler Junior College for second place overall in the conference.

Defense was the best policy early in the game for both teams; neither of the offenses was able to score for more than half of the first quarter. The first score of the game was courtesy of defensive end Ricci Simmons. Simmons intercepted NEO’s quarterback Dezmond Stegall and ran it back 85 yards for the touchdown. Simmons almost lost his footing midfield, but his teammates were there to keep him balanced and he made his way into the end zone. This gave KC a 7-0 lead with 5:22 left in the opening quarter.

Later in the second quarter KC’s offense got on the board when quarterback Javelle Allen found receiver Dequann Ruffin for a 12-yard touchdown pass. KC’s lead increased to 14-0 with 7:45 left in the first half. Just before the half ended Gladewater sophomore Corey Davis punched in a two yard run following a two-point conversion play trick play that had quarterback Averion Hurts pass to kicker Luis Sanchez for the score. That gave KC a 22-0 lead going into the half. KC scored three more times in the second half including two touchdown passes from Hurts to receivers Garrett Barton and Joe Lewis, plus a three-yard touchdown run by Davis. NEO got on the board once in the third quarter and once in the fourth with two touchdown passes from backup quarterback Devin White.

Allen went 8-16 with 110 yards and one touchdown while Hurts went 11-19 with 113 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Davis had 15 carries for 74 yards and to touchdowns while Eddie Smith had six rushes for 56 yards. Barton had 2 catches for 39 yards and one touchdown. KC’s defensive unit gave the entire team a spark just when they needed it. They held one of the conferences’ top rushers, Cameron Booty, to 59 yards on the ground on 18 carries. Booty is. Cornerback J’Marcus Rhodes had one pick while safety Jordan Burton had one fumble recovery after a big hit by the KC defensive line. Cliff Butler, Sherodric Russell, Demontrai Lewis, and Simmons all recorded one sack.


Win over Blinn means playoff berth for Rangers

Gladewater freshman Corey Davis bullies his way into the edge of the end-zone for a KC touchdown late in the second half of action against NEO. Photo by Tory Van Blarcum / THE FLARE
Gladewater freshman Corey Davis bullies his way into the edge of the end-zone for a KC touchdown late in the second half of action against NEO. Photo by Tory Van Blarcum / THE FLARE

This week the Blinn Community College Buccaneers come to R.E St John Memorial Stadium for the Rangers Hall Of Fame game. Blinn is coming off a heart-breaking 42-41 loss to the Trinity Valley Community Cardinals last week. As for the Rangers, they are coming off a 48-14 win over the Cisco Wranglers.

The Blinn offense so far this season is the key to most of their victories. Blinn is second in the nation in points per game (60) and in yards per game (635). The offense is also fourth in the nation in total offense with a total of 3,810 yards. Most of the yards gained for Blinn were through the air.

Jake Hubenak is one of the top rated quarterbacks in the nation. Hubenak is first in the nation across three categories. He is first in yards thrown with 2,890; first in passing yards per game with 480; and first in the nation with 36 passing touchdowns.

Another name for Blinn is sophomore receiver Dede Westbrook. Westbrook has 58 receptions for 1,131 yards and 10 touchdowns, which is around 10 receptions and 190 yards per game.

The Rangers are coming into this game averaging 41 points per game while gaining 428 yards per game. The Rangers offense is sitting at 2,999 yards for the season, nearly eclipsing 3,000 for the year.

The Ranger offense gets a huge boost this week as they get back their top quarterback in Javelle Allen. Allen did not play last week in Cisco due to injury. Allen, who has played in six games this season, has thrown for 1,002 yards and 11 touchdowns. In Allen’s absence last week, Averion Hurts took charge.

Hurts has played in all seven games this season and has thrown for 884 yards and 12 touchdowns. Both of these quarterbacks have given the opposing defenses trouble with not only their arm, but also their legs.

The Rangers passing game couldn’t be complete without their trio of tailbacks. Corey Davis leads the way with 77 rushing attempts for 453 yards and seven touchdowns. Eddie Smith is next with 53 rushing attempts for 391 yards and four touchdowns. The last is Keevon Aldridge who has 34 carries for 170 yards.

Redemption awaits Rangers

Quarterback Javelle Allen, of Prosper takes the ball past a Cardinals defender for a fourth quarter touchdown. PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHAEL BROWN / THE FLARE
Quarterback Javelle Allen, of Prosper takes the ball past a Cardinals defender for a fourth quarter touchdown. PHOTOGRAPH BY MICHAEL BROWN / THE FLARE

The KC Rangers look to redeem themselves from last Saturdays 52-35 loss to Trinity Valley Community College. The Ranger will be hosting Navarro Community College at home this Saturday.
Both of these teams have an overall record of 3-1 and are looking to add a win to their conference record. Navarro is coming off a 62-14 win against Southeastern Prep, who Kilgore recently beat 52-14.
Through its first four games the Navarro offense averaged 47.5 points and 588 yards per game. Most of the offense for the Bulldogs was covered on the ground.
The majority of the yardage gained came from running back Keaun Kinner, who is averaging around 160 yards a game this season. Other notable names for Navarro are Bivins Caraway, sophomore quarterback, and Austin Collins, sophomore wide receiver, who has snagged six touchdowns for the Bulldogs.
The Navarro defense this year has surrendered an average of 24 points a game. Key names for the Bulldog defense are: Jayd Kirby, sophomore linebacker; Ben Jones, sophomore linebacker; Quincy Vasser, sophomore defensive tackle, Kendrick Johnson, sophomore defensive end.
The Rangers, on the other hand ,are still having a great offensive and defensive season despite their recent loss. Through their first four games the Ranger offense is averaging 40 points per game while averaging nearly 300 yards per game.
The Rangers look really strong on the ground and in the air this season. They have a pretty well balanced run game and passing game and are ranked 14th in the NCCJA poll.
Key players for the Ranger offense this season include the QB duo of Averion Hurts and Javelle Allen. So far both Allen and Hurts have thrown five touchdowns a piece.
The running game features a trio of backs including Keevon Aldridge, Corey Davis and Eddie Smith, who lead the way with 213 total yards on the ground.
The Ranger defense is looking to bounce back from last week’s breakdown versus the No.3 ranked Cardinals. The defense is led by Jordan Burton, sophomore safety; Joe Lynch, sophomore linebacker; and DQ Osborne, freshman defensive lineman.
Come out and watch the two teams go head-to-head at 7 p.m Saturday in R.E St. John Memorial Stadium in Kilgore.

Rangers 6-3 after doubleheader

A Ranger batter swings for the fences during a KC softball game. PHOTOGRAPH BY MICHAEL BROWN / THE FLARE
A Ranger batter swings for the fences during a KC softball game. PHOTOGRAPH BY MICHAEL BROWN / THE FLARE

A late run came in the late game on Wednesday to give the Kilgore Rangers Softball team a hard fought victory over Murray State in the second half of the day’s doubleheader.
Murray State was able to take the first game with a walk-off home run, ousting the visiting Rangers 4-3. After falling to an early three run deficit, the Rangers were able to battle back to tie the game up behind Marisa Ledkins’ two RBIs and a solo homer from Renee Jones. Despite the valiant rally from the visitors, Murray State was able to deliver a killing blow with a late seventh inning homer to end the game.
Taylor Sieber led the Rangers with two hits in the late game, and Hayley McCullers, Kelsey Ancelot and Lexi Lopez were each able to drive in runs for a 4-3 victory of their own. Jordyn Rodgers earned the win for the rangers, allowing no runs and just three hits in the first three innings. Hayley Vavra relieved in the sixth, finishing with five strikeouts, one hit and three walks. Renee Jones closed out the seventh for the save.
The evening’s conclusion leaves the Rangers with a 6-3 record heading into their Saturday matchup against the LeTourneau University Yellowjackets. Game time is noon in Longview.

Stadium scores jumbotron

Scoreboard Installation, 2014
Dion Burns, left, and Charlie McGinnis of Texas Scoreboard Services, Conroe, install the new scoreboard at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium in Kilgore. The scoreboard contains a large LED video display. PHOTO SPECIAL TO THE FLARE

A new football season always requires changes. R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium is shared by the Kilgore High School and KC, and now both teams will be able to enjoy the brand new state-of-the-art jumbotron scoreboard.

The scoreboard was installed during the summer and it’s almost impossible to miss. Its measurements are 32’W x 24’H x 8”. The digits on the scoreboard will be presented in red and the custom striping will be cardinal red.  The biggest feature on this scoreboard is the Custom Video Display.

Its measurements are 13.01’ H x 22.02’ W 20mm. (192 x 336 pixel matrix).

The video display will replay game action and will also display names and pictures of the players throughout the game.

Other features include a non-illuminated sign, Decorative Truss, Decorative Truss Backlit Logo, and a Custom XSB-10 Sound System.

All the features that go along with the scoreboard itself, except for the sound system, was provided by NEVCO, which is the Integrated Display and Scoring Solutions Company.

The jumbotron scoreboard cost an estimated $300,000. It was paid for by supporters from the Kilgore community.

According to athletic director Jimmy Rieves, eight businesses bought advertisement for static signage that will always remain on the scoreboard to help pay for it.

Opportunities exist for video commercial advertisements to generate revenue every year.

“It brings a new way to bring the experience closer to the fans,” Rieves said.

Both teams will get to try their hand at the new scoreboard this Friday and Saturday when they take the field for the first time at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium.

Road trip awaits Rangers

Head Coach teaching wide receivers. FLARE PHOTO by MICHAEL BROWN
Head Coach teaching wide receivers. FLARE PHOTO by MICHAEL BROWN

The Kilgore College Rangers will begin the 2014 football season unranked in the national polls but are expected to battle for one of the Southwest Junior College Football Conference’s four playoff spots.

The Rangers, coming off a 4-5 season a year ago (3-3 in the SWJCFC), open the season with back-to-back road games outside the state – visiting Arkansas Baptist College on Aug. 30 and then trekking to Milledgeville, Ga. to take on No. 5 ranked Georgia Military.

Kilgore’s first home game is set for 7 p.m. on Sept. 13 against Southeast Prep at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium.

The Rangers opened the 2013 season with back-to-back losses before defeating eventual SWJCFC champion Trinity Valley on the road (24-19). KC then went 1-2 over the next three games before closing out the season by winning two of its final three contests – defeating Northeastern Oklahoma on the road (35-21) and Southeast Prep at home (58-13).

Kilgore ended the season with a 42-12 loss to arch-rival Tyler.

Coaches at SWJCFC Media Day back in July picked Trinity Valley as the preseason favorite. The Cardinals finished the 2013 season with a 10-2 record, defeating Blinn and Navarro in the SWJCFC playoffs before earning a 72-23 win over Mesa in the Heart of Texas Bowl.

Navarro was picked second by the coaches, followed by Tyler, Kilgore, Blinn, Northeastern Oklahoma and Cisco.

Trinity Valley (No. 4), Navarro (No. 8) and Tyler (No. 13) are all ranked in the preseason NJCAA poll.

Kilgore head coach J.J. Eckert will be starting his eighth season as head coach of the Rangers. He has compiled a 37-34 record, leading the team to a pair of eight-win seasons during his tenure. KC finished 8-3 under Eckert in 2012, earning a berth in the first Brazos Valley Bowl played at Kyle Field in College Station.

As a program, Kilgore has a 471-276-14 record, winning national championships in 1966 and 1978. KC has played in 19 bowl games, carving out an 11-8 record.

Rangers hit tough patch in April games

Photo by Kristopher Dobbins / The Flare Bianca Bianca Van Vlerah swings during a game earlier this season.
Photo by Kristopher Dobbins / The Flare
Bianca Bianca Van Vlerah swings during a game earlier this season.

The KC softball team has hit a dry spell during the month of April. With the season nearing a close, KC will not be participating in the Region XIV postseason tournament. They have lost seven of their last eight games this month. With only two more doubleheader games left in the season, KC’s playoffs hopes have vanished.

The team has a conference record of 2-14 and an overall record of 8-31 on the season.

KC opened up the month with a doubleheader game against conference foe Trinity Valley Community College. They lost the first contest 8-6. Both teams’ bats were hot, but TVCC was able to outlast KC for the victory. In the second game KC was shut out, 8-0.

KC faced off against Bossier Parrish Community College on April 5, which was the first American Cancer Society Strikeout game hosted by KC. They lost both games to Bossier Parrish, 10-5 and 10-6. The real story in that game was that KC was able to donate a total of $979 to the American Cancer Society. Paige Wood, a volunteer for the American Cancer Society, won the pink genuine Louisville Slugger bat that was raffled off as a gift by the KC softball team.

The inning sponsors donated $600 to the American Cancer Society, which totaled up to $979. The inning sponsors were: Trinity Mother Frances; Mark & Reinter Dickey; Classic Chevrolet at Sugarland; Jan & Craig Jaynes; Klassic Touch Salon; Jackie Ford A/C Heat; Steel & Pipe Supply. The KC softball team would like to thank all the sponsors for the donations and their participation in the cancer strikeout game.

On April 9, KC battled Navarro College, and they lost both games 3-0 and 11-2. It was once again a tough day offensively. It’s hard to win games when the team can’t put runs on the board.

On April 15, KC faced off against TVCC again, and they lost both games. In the first contest KC led TVCC 6-1 going into the sixth inning. TVCC scored seven runs in the last two innings to narrowly escape KC for the 8-6 victory.

Catcher Mariah Goguen recorded a home run in the first inning that sparked KC’s early run, and she brought in two runners in the process. Marsia Ledkins had two singles, while Bianca Van Vlerah, Lakin Kerby, and Lexi Lopez all had one single each. Center fielder Jalla Johnson had one double. Pitcher Lara Lewis pitched five innings with eight hits allowed with seven walks two strikeouts and six runs allowed. She was battling soreness in her pitching arm all game and was pulled early.

Head Coach Leslie Messina felt like her team did all they could do.

“We did great the first part of the game, but we became too content and lost control of the game,” said Messina.

KC was shut out the second game, 8-0, despite Lopez going 2-for-3 from the plate with a double. They got runners on base, but were unable to put runs on the board.

Messina knows her team missed the postseason, but her comments were positive and she is very excited for what is ahead in the future.

“I am disappointed because I know that we didn’t meet our goals that we set for the season, but overall my team fought hard all year. We had a lot of bad luck with injuries, and we were very inconsistent at times, but my team never gave up and we will continue to finish out the season on a strong note,” said Messina.

KC had a number of injuries to the pitching staff. Kari Courtney, the starting pitcher, is out for the remainder of the season due to a concussion.

Messina is excited about her team for next year, and she knows that they will be ready.

KC played Navarro College on April 23, and they will finish the season against Paris Junior College at home, which is Sophomore Day. That doubleheader begins at 1 p.m. on Friday at Stream Flo-Field.

Coach speaks at convention

Photo by Michael Brown / The Flare. Rangers basketball coach Brian Hoberecht talks to his players during a timeout last season.
Photo by Michael Brown / The Flare. Rangers basketball coach Brian Hoberecht talks to his players during a timeout last season.

KC men’s head basketball coach Brian Hoberecht was chosen to speak at the National Association of Basketball Coaches annual convention that was held April 7 at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel.

Hoberecht was the only junior college basketball coach to speak at this event, which was a part of the Personal Development Series of the National Association of Basketball Coaches Convention.

This event, held April 3-7, was the largest event held for basketball coaches of its kind in the United States.

This year’s convention was held in conjunction with the NCAA Men’s Final Four.

Hoberecht spoke at the convention, which is only open to basketball coaches and specific guests of their choosing.

Hoberecht was among some of the most successful coaches that college basketball has to offer.

Included were Dave Odom former head basketball coach for East Carolina University, Wake Forest University, and the University of South Carolina; Gregg Marshall head men’s basketball coach of Wichita State University; Bob Hoffman, head men’s basketball coach at Mercer University: and former NBA coach Herb Brown who was presented with the NABC’s lifetime achievement award.

Hoberecht has coached for 19 years, and mentored more than 20 players who have gone on to play professionally; 30 All-Conference players; and 17 All-Region players. Hoberecht has had 10 student athletes from the KC men’s basketball team sign Division 1 college scholarships over the past two seasons.

More than 90 percent of all players have graduated from KC since Hoberecht began coaching at KC in 2008. Hoberecht’s teams at KC over the previous two seasons have a total record of 53-11 and a conference record of 29-9. KC has been ranked 24 straight weeks in the NJCAA national poll and has a 28-2 home record during the previous two seasons.

Last year’s team made it to the Sweet Sixteen of the National Junior College Association National Tournament and finished the season ranked 15th nationally.

Hoberecht is very humbled to be in this situation.

“It’s a very neat privilege and a honor to represent the NJCAA Region 14 basketball conference and Kilgore College in this National Coaches Convention,” Hoberecht said prior to the event.

“It doesn’t make me feel special that I’m the only JUCO coach to speak throughout the Final four among other Division one college coaches; it’s just a great honor. My family is very happy to be at KC, and I’m working hard to develop this program to be at its best. I feel comfortable here.”

Softball team gets conference win

Photo by KRISTOPHER DOBBINS / THE FLARE Second baseman Sara Aguilar takes the throw as a runner slides in during an earlier-season game.
Photo by KRISTOPHER DOBBINS / THE FLARE Second baseman Sara Aguilar takes the throw as a runner slides in during an earlier-season game.

The KC Ranger softball team split its games against conference foe Northeast Texas Community College this past weekend. They lost the first game 11-2, but won the second game 3-2 — earning their first conference win of the season and breaking a 10-game losing streak.

The game was originally scheduled for Saturday, but it was postponed until Sunday due to weather conditions.

KC’s overall record is now 7-24, and their conference record is 1-5.

KC could not get anything going the first game against NTCC. KC was down 3-0 going into the bottom of the third inning. Lexi Lopez and third baseman Lakin Kerby both hit   home runs in the inning to keep KC in striking distance, but that was all the runs KC would get. NTCC scored a combined eight runs in the last two innings, sealing the deal for the game.

KC had six hits as a team and the defense only had one error. Pitcher Kari Courtney pitched five innings, allowing 11 hits, three walks, nine earned runs. She retired three batters.

In the second game, KC made sure that NTCC was not going to score many runs. The defense held them to just three runs and had no errors for the game. Lopez tied the game at one-apiece going into the second inning, thanks to her RBI single. The game was tied at two going into the last inning and KC’s defense stopped NTCC from putting any runs on the board. So it was all up to the offense to bring home the victory. Bianca Van Vlerah hit a triple late in the seventh inning to put herself in scoring position. Later, Kerby hit a RBI single that scored Van Vlerah and gave KC the victory.

Van Vlerah was on fire all day. She went 4-4 from the plate with three singles and a huge triple that set up Kerby’s game-winning hit.

Pitcher Lara Lewis got a win in her first start of the year since coming back from her shoulder injury. She pitched all seven innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits. She had one walk and one strikeout.

KC traveled to Athens to take on the Trinity Valley Community College Lady Cardinals on April 3.

(Because of early press deadlines for the A-section, those game results will be in the April 25 edition.)


Former high school star shoots for KC squad

Photo by Maria Zapata / The Flare.  Emanuel Black hopes to walk on as a KC football player this fall.
Photo by Maria Zapata / The Flare.
Emanuel Black hopes to walk on as a KC football player this fall.

When Emanuel Black was growing up in Houston, all he wanted to do was play football. But what he terms “personal issues” forced him off the field. Now Black, Crosby freshman, has a chance to make a comeback and join the KC Rangers.

Black is currently in his second semester at KC. The KC community, along with friends and family, know him as Manny, for short.

He loved playing football at a young age, but somewhere along his childhood journey he was forced to stop playing the game. His parents wanted him to get his life straight off the field before he could play again.

“I got into some trouble that I didn’t want to re-live again so I had to stop playing the game of football for a while to get my life back on track,” Black said.

While he was absent from football, he took up track and participated in band during junior high.

He played numerous instruments such as the drums, flute and many others. To this day he still plays these instruments for fun.

The sole purpose of engaging in track was to keep his body in shape so when the time came to return to football, he would be ready to jump back in full stride.

Black returned to the field his freshman year of high school and felt as though he was in another world. He was ecstatic to be back.

“I was just glad to be back out there on the field; it was great putting those pads on again,” Black said.

Black was a defensive tackle for the Crosby Cougars and though he was not the biggest player on the field, he gave it all he had. He used his smarts to outwit the offensive lineman.

“There were players that were bigger than me on the field, but I relied on my quickness and speed off the ball to outwork them each and every play,” Black said.

Black weighs a solid 285 pounds, stands at 6-feet tall and runs a five-second, 40-yard dash.

In high school, his coaches and the Associated Press frequently named him Player of the Week. He says he did not care about recognition; he just wanted to give 110 percent every game.

As his life was getting back on track, misfortune struck again.

On August 29, 2009 his mother, who had essentially raised Black by herself, died of a massive and unexpected heart attack.

Black, obviously devastated, did not know how to react. His mother was gone.

“I was very depressed for a long time, and I didn’t know what to do with myself,” Black said. “I wanted to drop out of school, but I decided not to because I knew that my mother would want me to stay in school.”

As Black continued life without his mother through his high school years, he encountered yet another setback.

In November 2012, his junior year, he was involved in a car wreck with his brother and a  friend. The car rammed the back of another vehicle head on with full force. Luckily, nobody was killed, just injured.

Black broke his wrist during the accident, which hindered his football career from there.

“It was nobody but God that got us through that,” Black said. ‘We could have easily died, but God managed to get all of us out of there safely. Even though I messed up my wrist, I’m still grateful because it could have been a lot worse.”

Once Black was back on the field, because of his injured wrist his playing time was limited.

The coaches and his parent guardians were very cautious about it, because he could not perform the way he once did before the injury.

He had a verbal commitment to the University of Houston, but he was not able to go because the coaches thought he was damaged goods.

He enrolled at KC to try and resurrect his football career. He played defensive lineman in high school, and he hopes to play that position again for KC; if not he’ll just do what the coaches say.  He is waiting for the fall tryout dates and will be there to give it his best.

“The coaches told me I would be a good addition to the team; they might switch my position around, but at this point I am up for anything,” Black said. “I just want to be back out there on the field with the big lights and the big crowds. That is what I live for.”

Black’s close friend, Joshua Young, knows how good a person he is.

“He is a real nice guy. He is always there for me, and he is always up to giving people advice and helping people out with their problems. He’s very outspoken and a huge hit with the ladies. He’s just an all-around great guy,” Young said.

Black’s major is nursing, and he is working toward a bachelor’s degree in the nursing field. Then he will try to switch to anesthesiology.

He loves to help people, and he is the fascinated with the human body.

Black’s objective is to be involved in people’s lives and help them achieve their goals, while succeeding in his life and making his mother proud.

He hopes to be back on the football field in KC’s blue- and- white colors in the fall.

Softball team drops four, returns home

Photo by Michael Brown / The Flare Mariah Gougen makes contact during a recent game.
Photo by Michael Brown / The Flare
Mariah Gougen makes contact during a recent game.

The KC Ranger softball team lost four games last week, two against Paris Junior College and two against Bossier Parish Community College.

KC is 0-6 in conference play and has an overall record of 6-23.

KC faced Paris Junior College on Wednesday. They lost the first game, 13-3.

Pitchers Kari Courtney and Kayla Calvert combined for 11 hits, five strikeouts, 13 runs scored, and nine earned runs.

KC had eight hits as a team, but only managed to score three runs. Third baseman Keke Hunter had two hits and one RBI while Lexi Lopez and Mallory Ford each recorded one RBI.

KC was completely shut out in the second game against PJC, losing 4-0. Courtney pitched all six innings. She allowed four runs on nine hits with four earned runs, three walks and two strikeouts.

KC took on Bossier Parish Community College on Saturday. They lost the first game 7-6. KC had 12 hits in the game as a team, but only mustered six runs. They had three errors during the entire game. KC was up early on BPCC, 3-1, before they fell behind in the fourth inning with four runs scored.

Catcher Asia Marshall went 2-4 from the plate with one single and one home run that kept KC in the game during the seventh inning. Calvert pitched six innings, walked four batters, and struck out three.

KC lost the second matchup between BCPP, 10-6. KC had 11 hits as a team, but only scored six runs off those 11 hits.

Lopez went 2-4 from the plate with one single, one home run and a RBI in the same play during a three score, fourth inning for KC. She also scored a run herself.

Third baseman Lakin Kerby also hit a huge two-run homer in the first inning to give KC an early lead, scoring Sara Aguilar in the process.

Courtney pitched six innings and allowed six runs with one walk, two strikeouts, 11 hits and six earned runs.

Head Coach Leslie Messina is content that her team will get better.

“We’re not a consistent team right now. We have games where we’re good at offense, but bad at defense and pitching,” Messina said. “We have problems with doing all three phases of the game right. We have to be more consistent in all three phases of the game every time we play. Pitching, hitting and defense.”

Messina says the upcoming game Saturday against Northeast Texas Community College is a very important game to win, because it will keep their playoffs hopes alive. KC will be without starting pitcher Calvert due to illness. Her return to the field is doubtful at this time. However pitcher Laura Lewis has been released from her shoulder injury and she will slowly make her return back into the rotation. Courtney will be the starting pitcher for KC’s next game.

On April 5, KC will face Bossier Parish Community College at home, and that will be their first Strikeout Cancer Game. The Strikeout Cancer initiative unites the American Cancer Society and the National Fastpitch Coaches Association to help raise funds and awareness to fight cancer.

The team will be selling raffle tickets around campus for a chance to win a genuine pink Louisville Slugger softball bat.

The match against NTCC begins at 1 p.m. Saturday at Stream Flo-Field.

Softball: Rangers have a tough time during pre-Spring Break stint

Photo by Michael Brown / THE FLARE Kayla Calvert pitches at the tournament on Feb. 28.
Photo by Michael Brown / THE FLARE
Kayla Calvert pitches at the tournament on Feb. 28.

The KC Rangers went 0-6 in their contests just before Spring Break. They played in the Region XIV Crossover from Feb. 28-March 1 that was held in Longview. They next played conference foe Northeast Texas Community College on March 7 and were defeated twice,  4-1 and 6-5. KC is 6-19 on the season and 0-2 in conference play.

KC played Angelina College to kick off the Crossover and lost 12-4. They started off the game strong but finished weak. They scored two runs in the first inning and two runs in the fifth inning. Second baseman Sara Aguilar was responsible for the runs in the first inning. She scored on a sacrifice fly that was hit by Lexi Lopez and she sent catcher Mariah Gougen home on a RBI triple. Third baseman Lakin Kerby had an RBI single, and Bianca Van Vlerah stole third base to score at home plate. Pitcher Kayla Calvert pitched four innings and allowed 11 runs with five walks with six strikeouts.

KC played Galveston College on March 1 the first game of  three that they would play and was defeated 4-2. It was a defensive battle the entire game. Aguilar recorded one single, while Mariah Gougen had an RBI single that brought two runners home for the only score of game for KC. Calvert pitched all eight innings and allowed only one earned run with eight hits, four walks, and she retired two batters.

KC then faced Alvin Community College in a high-powered offensive battle, but they lost 15-13. Both teams’ bats were hot, but KC’s bats ran out of gas at the wrong time. Everybody contributed in this game. KC mustered 13 hits, but as a team they needed some defense. Pitcher Kari Courtney pitched six innings and allowed 16 hits with four walks and four strikeouts. She allowed 15 runs and nine of them were earned.

KC played their final game of the crossover against Butler College and were shut out 8-0. Aguilar recorded the lone hit of the game for KC. Calvert pitched four innings and allowed seven runs with four walks and four strikeouts.

KC faced off against Northeast Texas Community College on March 7 and dropped both games.

KC faced off against conference foe Paris Junior College on Wednesday. They next travel to Bossier City to take on Bossier Parrish Community College. The game will be at 1 p.m. Saturday March 21 in Bossier City.

Season over for KC basketball teams

Photo by Kristopher Dobbins / THE FLARE Jamarcus Weatherspoon gets up high with a dunk.
Photo by Kristopher Dobbins / THE FLARE
Jamarcus Weatherspoon gets up high with a dunk.

Rangers’ season ends with 64-48 loss


The KC Rangers’ season came to an early end during the third round of the Region XIV tournament, as they could not overcome a tough Trinity Valley defense and lost, 64-48 at UT-Tyler. KC ended its season at 25-6 a year after making it to the NJCAA national tourney in Hutchinson, Kansas. This week, Paris is headed to the nationals after beating TVCC in the finals, 74-63. Jonathan Milligan led KC with 11 points, while Stefan Moody added eight. The Rangers opened the tournament with a pair of wins, beating San Jacinto, 78-65 in the opener. Stefan Moody was top scorer with 22 points, followed by Jamarcus Weatherspoon with 17 points and Milligan with 15. KC took the opening game over Panola, 73-71. Moody again was top scorer with 20 points, while Milligan added 19 and Weatherspoon had 13. |———| For the season, Ole Miss-bound Moody led all scorers with a 17.8 scoring average, followed by Weatherspoon, who averaged 13.6 points per game and Milligan at 8.79 points. Tom Wamukota, headed to Wichita State, led on the boards with 186 rebounds, followed by Kalif Wright with 157. The Rangers, who were ranked as high as No. 2 nationally during the season, shot 49.4 percent from the field for the season while holding their opponents to 38.8 percent. They dominated in rebounding percentage 59.6 percent to 40.4 percent and in total rebounds — 1,081 to 733.

Lady Rangers end season, lose to TJC


The KC Lady Rangers ended their season on a sour note, losing to rival Tyler Junior College Lady Apaches, 69-52, in the first round of the Region XIV Tournament at UT-Tyler last week.

KC started the game off behind, and they were not able to get themselves back in the game. KC trailed the entire game. They shot 30 percent from the field in the first half and shot 100 percent from the free throw line, but they trailed, 36-21, at the half.

TJC shot an impressive 40 percent from the field and 33 percent from long distance in the first half.

In the second half, KC made a run at TJC, but time ran out.

KC shot 41 percent from the field in the second half, improving their percentage from the first half, but TJC shot 48 percent from the field in the second half, also improving from their first-half shooting percentage.

KC was outrebounded 34-29, and turned the ball over 19 times.

Point Guard Sha ‘Georgia Williams recorded 12 points and two steals for the game, while shooting guard Imabong Akpan matched Williams’s 12 points and two steals and pulled down six rebounds. Post Pre’Franz Dominick recorded 10 points and grabbed eight boards.

KC finished the season with a record of 14-14 and a conference record of 8-10.

Williams finished the season with 198 points scored on 42-percent field goal percentage. She had 49 assists and 21 steals on the year. Akpan led the team with 336 points scored, and she averaged 13 points a game. She also led the team in rebounds with and steals with 111 and respectively 62.

KC shot 39 percent from the field for the season and 64 percent from the free throw line. They grabbed 873 rebounds as a team and averaged 34 rebounds per game. They scored 1,470 points for the season and averaged 57 points per game.

Softball: KC splits 4;hosts tourney Friday

Photo by Kristopher Dobbins / The Flare
Photo by Kristopher Dobbins / The Flare

The KC Rangers split their games in the KC Softball Tournament last weekend, splitting two of four. KC is 6-13 on the year with two games left before starting conference play.
KC played Highland Community College on Friday and lost 7-6. KC ahead for most of the game. They were leading 4-1 going into the sixth inning, until HCC’s bats caught fire, and they were able to sneak by KC in the end.
Third baseman Lakin Kerby went 2-4 from the plate, she had 2 RBI’s, one hit, and a home run in the fifth inning to keep extend KC’s lead. First baseman Lexi Lopez had one single off two RBI’s and catcher Mariah Goguen had two singles off two RBI’s. Pitcher Kayla Calvert pitched 6 2/3 innings with had four strikeouts allowed four hits and six walks.
On Saturday, KC battled with Grayson Community College and outlasted them 6-5. Kerby had a full stat line. She had two hits with another big home run, one triple three RBI’s and three runs scored. Center Fielder Jalla Johnson recorded two hits with one single, one double, one RBI and one run scored. Outfielder Mallory Ford had two singles, one double, and one RBI. Calvert pitched seven innings and allowed five runs off eight hits. She struck out three batters and she had three walks.
Later that day KC took on HCC again and were completely shut out. They lost 9-0 and nobody couldn’t get anything going at all. Kari Courtney pitched all six innings, and she allowed nine runs on two walks and three strikeouts.
KC played on Sunday against Eastern Oklahoma State College and they escaped with a 6-5 victory. KC scored three runs in the ninth to seal the deal for the victory.
Kerby had one RBI single and scored two runs for the game while Asia Marshall had one RBI double and Ford scored a run off of her. Calvert pitched all nine innings, allowed three runs off of nine hits with six walks and she retired eight batters in the process.
Head Coach Leslie Messina sees her team’s improving, and she wants them to keep it up.
“We took many steps forwards and a couple of steps back during this tournament, but in the end we came out ahead,’ said Messina.
“We had very few defensive errors so our defense has gotten better, but we need to be more consistent on offense and make adjustments at the plate sooner rather than later. If we do that we will be more effective. We got wins this weekend and it felt good to get wins. That’s what we play for.”
KC will host the Region XIV Crossover Tournament on Friday through Sunday in Longview at Lear Park.

KC Gun Club prepares for national competition after conference competition


Photo by Sara Holmes / THE FLARE  Caitlin Ross finished first in the Lower Midwestern Conference Championship in San Antonio.
Photo by Sara Holmes / THE FLARE
Caitlin Ross finished first in the Lower Midwestern Conference Championship in San Antonio.

A KC student took top honors in a major shooting competition recently, while the college placed high overall.
Caitlin Ross, Diana freshman, competed in a shooting competition last week in San Antonio and placed first out of 74 shooters and shot 98 out of 100 clays. She missed the second clay, then shot 98 consecutively.
Ross competed in her first shooting competition when she was age 13 and has had a passion for it ever since.
“It’s just something I love doing,” Ross said.
Ross uses a Browning 725 sporting 12-gauge shotgun in competition.
KC Gun Club finished third in the Lower Midwestern Conference Championship held in San Antonio last week out of 74 college and university shooters participating. The two KC students competing in the competition, Ross and Matthew Dutton, Kilgore sophomore, qualified for the national competition to be held in San Antonio on March 28 – 30.
“I did pretty well,” Dutton said. “I didn’t let my nerves get to me.”
Ross shot 99 out of 100 and finished first, while Dutton shot for the first time at competition and scored a 71.
The gun club has 10 members involved, and members meet every other Monday night.
“ I think that the team has a great potential to draw students from across the U.S. who would like to further their education and shoot competitively,” Mike Augustine, club sponsor, said. The members go to East Texas Rifle & Pistol Club for shotgun training on Monday nights and occasional Saturdays.
“We would love to have anyone interested in firearms come out and join us,” coach David Ross said. Contact him at 903-806-2772 for more information.