Football outmatches Mavericks

Rangers improve to 2-0 ahead of Homecoming game


Davis Kuhn

Travis McCracken cuts upfield against Warren. McCracken, a senior, led the Rangers in rushing yards in Friday night’s 28-0 win over Madison.

Jackson Posey, Sports Director

It didn’t take long for football to find its footing against Madison, as the Rangers smacked their long-time rival, 28-0.

On the game’s first drive, Zack McDonald beat his man on the outside, and Derek Mata delivered a strike for an easy 38-yard touchdown. And so it was that less than three minutes into the game, the Rangers took a lead which they would never relinquish.

They weren’t quite ready to allow the Maverick offense on the field, though. Madison’s kick returner dropped the ball at his own 5-yard line, and it bounced to the 18-yard line, where the Rangers scooped it up.

The momentum came to a halt, though, as on the third play of the ensuing drive, Mata took a hard hit on a sack and stayed down. The trainers helped him off the field, and backup Chase Senelick entered the game in relief. The offense failed to convert a 4th-and-24 try at the Madison 32-yard line, though, granting the Mavericks their first offensive possession of the game.

They punted after gaining two yards on three plays.

Back in the saddle, the Rangers worked their way down to the Madison 16-yard line, but Clayton Amaya’s kick flew wide left, and they again left Madison territory with nothing to show for their feat but confidence and good defensive field position.

The defense forced another three-and-out, and Senelick took the field once more. (Mata returned to the sideline, but in shorts.) The drive initially looked to be in jeopardy, as Senelick threw a deep interception into double coverage with the clock winding down, but the play was called back on account of a roughing the passer call.

The field flipped for the quarter change, and then the Rangers began to march. An encroachment call granted them a first down; Travis McCracken’s 4-yard run on 4th down granted another. McCracken nearly scored on the next play, but a holding penalty knocked the offense back to the 24-yard line. No matter – Dylan Domel’s catch radius is as expansive as anyone’s, and he hauled in longshot sideline pass for a 24-yard touchdown, extending the lead to 14 points.

Samuel Sifuentes-Shaffer worked a sack to force Madison’s third three-and-out in as many drives, and Malachi Lane capitalized on the resulting possession by gliding 14 yards, untouched, into the end zone. Rangers lead, 21-0.

With just under four minutes remaining in the first half, a Madison running back rushed for an 8-yard gain, octupling the Mavericks’ prior total yardage output (1 yard). Then, they worked a 16-yard gain to move the chains for the first time all game. A 15-yard facemask penalty put them in business.

But Kolton Scheppler sacked Caden Mata third and fourth down to end the possession, and return the ball to his offense at their own 35-yard line.

They didn’t keep possession for long. On 2nd-and-10, McCracken ran 13 yards, only to lose the ball and watch the defense run it 13 yards the other direction. 

Back at the Rangers’ former line of scrimmage, the Mavericks mounted a final charge to the end zone as the first half’s clock ticked down. They drove all the way to the Ranger 11-yard line, exhausting all of their timeouts in the process. 

And with nine seconds left, Brock Whiteaker threw Madison’s quarterback – and their hopes of scoring – onto the ground behind the line of scrimmage.

The Rangers entered halftime with a commanding 21-0 lead, and milked the clock throughout the final two frames. They nearly scored at the end of the first quarter, but Senelick underthrew Brayden Bafidis in the end zone, allowing a Madison defensive back to tip the pass to himself and run it out to the Smithson Valley 22-yard line.

The Rangers did score on their next possession, as defensive end Doug Lantz lined up in the backfield and took six carries for 31 yards and a touchdown. Manuel Osorio gave a poock punt on the ensuing kickoff, which Garrison Eggleston fell on top of, the Rangers’ second recovered kickoff of the night.

That drive ended in disappointing fashion: Isaiah Vivians ran for 19 yards on 4th-and-7, which would’ve given the Rangers their fifth fourth-down conversion in as many chances. (Plus, they drew an encroachment penalty on a sixth.) But a holding penalty called the run back, and both teams ran out the clock.

The story of the game was one of dominance, in all facets of the game. Smithson Valley won the total yards battle 357 to 69, and stole possessions on multiple special-teams miscues.

With the win, the Rangers improve to 2-0 on the season. They’ll look to finish their preseason strong in a Homecoming matchup against El Paso Eastwood on Sept. 10.