Bolt from the blue

KC whips Navarro, 45-14, to host NEO in title game

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Round one of the Southwest Junior College Football Conference playoffs is over, and the two best teams throughout the regular season survived.

And now it’s a heavyweight matchup in the conference title game this Saturday.

Both Kilgore College and Northeastern Oklahoma A&M delivered knockout blows last weekend – KC blew out Navarro, 45-14, and NEO took care of Blinn, 35-21. That means the winners meet. KC (8-2) will host NEO (8-2) here at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium this Saturday at 3 p.m in the SWJCFC title game.

For a preview, see Game Time Weekly inside now, or the special sections on kilgorenewsherald.com.

Kilgore College downed Navarro in short order. The Rangers blew open a 7-7 first-quarter tie into a 24-7 halftime lead, then outscored the Bulldogs 21-0 in the third quarter. Navarro’s only other touchdown came in the fourth quarter, well after the outcome of the game had been decided.

It was the Rangers’ sixth straight win, dating back to, ironically, a home win over NEO on Sept. 22. KC held off the Norsemen that day, 31-24, starting the hot streak. KC hasn’t scored less than 28 points in any of the six games won in a row, and has scored at least 45 in three of them.

KC got 81 yards rushing and a score, and 154 yards passing and two more touchdowns from quarterback Quez Allen, who was difficult for Navarro to wrap up all day long. Also, Aaron “Poppy” Brown came in later to go 2-of-3 for 85 yards and a touchdown to Omar Manning.

Manning had just two catches, but for 106 yards and the score. Running back De’Montre Tuggle had two catches for 36 yards, and also ran for 65 yards on eight carries, and a touchdown. Scooter Adams had 56 yards on five carries.

Chris Shaw had a 22-yard catch. J.T. Mackey had three catches for 20 yards, and DeAndre Rachal had three for five yards.

Jose Goite was good on all six of his extra points, and also hit a 25-yard field goal.

Raudel Alvarez had an interception for the Rangers’ defense. Jadrian Taylor and Devin Mitchell shared a sack. Adrion Robertson and Elery Alexander each had a tackle for loss, and Alexander had a 32-yard fumble recovery. KC only sacked Navarro quarterbacks one time, but had nine hurries.

Navarro’s Parker McNeil, who threw for over 500 yards the week before, was held to 212 yards, no passing touchdowns, and the interception by Alvarez. Keaton Dudik had 50 yards rushing, which led Navarro, and Travell Lumpkin had 38, and a touchdown. Michael Massarella had the Bulldogs’ other touchdown in the game.

Win or lose, KC is likely to be invited to one of several NJCAA bowl games. There are a handful of possibilities, including the CHAMPS Heart of Texas Bowl, now in Waco (formerly in Copperas Cove), and that’s Dec. 1; there are other games in Illinois, Kansas, two in Arizona, a couple in Iowa, one at NEO’s home field in Miami, Okla. (the Midwest Classic Bowl), and one in Mississippi. All of the bowls are scheduled either Dec. 1 or Dec. 2.

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