Wearin’ out Warren

Football wins season opener, 32-13


Davis Kuhn

Malachi Lane rumbles up the middle against Warren. Lane, who rushed 10 times for 117 times, also captained the defense as a linebacker.

Jackson Posey, Sports Director

Football defeated Warren on Friday night, 32-13, thanks in large part to dominant performances from Malachi Lane and Brayden Bafidis. The Rangers improve to 1-0 with the win, and will host Madison (1-0) on Sept. 3.

    Early in the contest, Warren’s Nujaree Henderson made what appeared to be a momentum-shifting play. On second-and-1, Henderson popped the ball out of quarterback Derek Mata’s arms, catching the ball himself as he fell to the ground.

    But, although the snag was smooth, the Warriors’ next drive wasn’t. Gavin Woods and Malachi Lane alternated dominant snaps midway through the first quarter, bringing down Warren quarterback Antonio Meza behind the line thrice in four plays, forcing a punt.

    At this point, Lane made his offensive debut, launching right into his two-way career with a rumbling, 24-yard carry. He carried the ball five times for 42 yards, marching the offense all the way down to the 4-yard line. But it was tight end Cole Douglass who scored the team’s first touchdown of the year, using a little juke step to avoid an incoming defender and cross the plane. Sophomore kicker Clayton Amaya missed the extra point, leaving the lead at 6-0.

    Linebacker Kolton Scheppler sacked Meza on third down, forcing a punt, but the Rangers failed to capitalize on the possession. But they’d soon get another chance, as safety Camden Egli high-pointed an errant pass to the left sideline to force the first Warren turnover of the game.

    The offense nearly made it to the red zone, but turned the ball over on downs on the Warren 22-yard line. A 3-yard run and 5-yard completion later, Henderson took a handoff 70 yards to the house, weaving down the right sideline before gliding into the end zone between the hashes. A successful extra point try later, and suddenly the Rangers faced their first deficit of the season.

    The Ranger offense again drove deep into Warren territory, but Amaya missed the would-be go-ahead field goal, a 37-yarder. Still, the deficit wouldn’t make it to halftime. 

The Warrior offense stalled out late in the second quarter, and with 1:31 remaining in the half, they punted. But the ball didn’t get enough hang time for the coverage unit to fill their lanes, and Bafidis took full advantage, housing the return from 64 yards out. Amaya split the uprights on the extra point, his first career make as a varsity kicker.


    Whatever momentum the Warriors had before that return, disappeared, as they settled for running out the clock on the half. Then, on the next frame’s opening kickoff, disaster struck. Warren’s returner failed to corral the ball, and it hit the turf just past in front of his own end zone. He eventually got a handle on it – and promptly ran into his own blocker at his own 5-yard line, and again dropped the ball.

    The wave of oncoming Rangers failed to scoop up it up, but it did bounce through the Warren endzone for a safety. Amaya converted a 29-yarder on the free possession, and just like that, the Rangers were on a 12-point run, leading 18-7.

    Warren answered immediately, though, as Henderson rolled for 24 yards and Meza hit a wide-open Joaquin Gutierrez over the top for 50 yards and six points. A missed extra point try kept the gap at five points, 18-13.

    At this point, though, the Rangers started clicking. Bafidis returned the kickoff to the Warren 39-yard line, Lane rumbled for 28 yards, and then again for 11 yards and a touchdown. Actually, scratch that – the touchdown was called back for illegal motion before the snap, but the penalty only gave him more room to work with. Lane pulled away from tacklers and scored again on the very next play, this time from 16 yards out, to extend the lead to 25-13.

    The Warrior offense seemed to have found its groove, stringing together seven consecutive plays of at least six yards (primarily on passes to the flats), but that all went to waste when Meza left a deep ball just short, allowing sophomore cornerback Jackson Duffey to leap up and snag it in the end zone.

    A few drives later, Lane rushed thrice for 39 yards, setting up Mata to score on a 1-yard quarterback sneak, extending the lead to 32-13 and effectively ending the game.

    The story of the game boiled down to special teams and consistency. The Warriors won the total yards battle, but threw multiple interceptions and bobbled a kickoff into a safety. Meanwhile, Bafidis and Kyler Clarke repeatedly gave the Rangers excellent starting position, often in Warren territory, and Lane (117 yards, 1 touchdown) and Travis McCracken (108 yards) each passed the century mark with high yard-per-carry averages.

    The Rangers will open their home slate on Sept. 3 at 7:00 p.m. against Madison, who’s coming off of a slugfest victory over Clemens. The Rangers have won six of the teams’ past seven matchups, by an average score of 38-15.