A tall challenge

Rangers take on Clemens for their second district game


Paul Tubridy

Quarterback Jalen Nutt releases the ball at home against Wagner, in which the Rangers lost in overtime, 27-24.

Emma Siebold, Staff Writer

With an evenly-matched district, Clemens will prove to be tough opposition as the Rangers ride the road to playoffs.   

This week, Jalen Nutt is back at starting quarterback, and junior Derek Mata will be his second. Head Coach Larry Hill states that Mata has had an impressive season thus far.

“Derek has a really good fall,” Hill said. “We feel good about all of our quarterbacks, but he throws the ball well and he’s a very bright kid.”

Clemens’ quarterback, Max DiDomenico, has completed 41 passes out of 81 attempts, with a 50.62 percent completion rating. He, like Nutt for the Rangers, also has the second most rushing yards on the team, averaging just under 3 yards per attempt. DiDomenico has rushed for 123 total yards this season, with 1 rushing touchdown. 

DiDomenico has a solid receiving core, with 5 receivers having over 50 yards for the season. His main man is Andrew Edwards, who has 12 receptions for 176 yards. He averages 15 yards per catch, and has scored 2 touchdowns. Jameer Dudley is another key player, with 9 receptions for 126 yards.

In last Thursday’s game, the Buffs lost to the Judson Rockets, who were quarter finalists in last year’s state playoffs. Judson dominated the game in yardage, first downs, and rushing, though DiDomenico kept Clemens afloat with three touchdowns and 249 passing yards.

Defending such a versatile quarterback will be one of the Rangers’ top priorities this game, and Coach Hill elaborates on the challenges DiDomenico presents.

“It’s a tall challenge,” Coach Hill said. “Anytime a quarterback can throw the ball and hurt you with his feet, it’s tough because you can’t afford to commit everybody to the rush or contain him in the pocket because he does throw the ball so well, and their receivers are talented at the same time. We simply can’t allow him to take the snap and unload quick and just nickel and dime us to death.”

Clemens is a worthy opponent, and while a win against the Buffs foretells future success, the Rangers still have to face Judson, South San, East Central, New Braunfels, and Steele. Tonight’s game will test the power of the Ranger defense against Clemens and the pressure of the reigning district offensive player of the year, Max DiDomenico.