Rangers flex on Buffaloes

Football blows out Clemens, 51-0


Davis Kuhn

Behind the defense, Dylan Domel runs for a 57-yard gain against New Braunfels on Sept. 23. Domel caught three passes for 58 yards and two touchdowns on Friday against Clemens.

Jackson Posey, Sports Director

It would’ve been easy to overlook a Clemens team that entered district play winless and earned its two wins against two teams (South San and Judson) in deep ruts.

Instead, the Rangers spent their bye week preparing for revenge against the Buffaloes, whom they’d lost to in three of the past four years.

It showed.

The Rangers didn’t waste any time getting on the board, scoring on the game’s first drive. Four skill players touched the ball on the 16-play, 71-yard drive, capped off by Clayton Amaya’s 21-yard field goal. After an opening possession which lasted over eight minutes, a “3” appeared on the scoreboard.

After gaining negative yardage on two of three plays, the Buffaloes decided to cut their losses and punt. Unfortunately for them, they kicked the ball to star returner Brayden Bafidis, who wove his way 66 yards up the right sideline to the end zone. It was his third return touchdown of the season. Amaya missed the extra point, leaving the score at 9-0.

The Buffaloes punted again, and this time got enough air under the ball that Bafidis fair-caught it – at the Clemens 38-yard line. In his first offensive possession of the game, Malachi Lane turned five carries into 32 yards and a touchdown, extending the lead to 16-0. (“Extending the lead” is something the Rangers did consistently in the first half, as they scored on four of their five possessions.)

The Rangers held their foes to a three-and-out, and offered spectators a jolt of déjà vu, as Bafidis again raced up the right sideline. The Buffaloes forced him out at their own 8-yard line, but the damage was done; two plays later, Derek Mata tossed a 5-yard touchdown pass to Dylan Domel in the right flats.

For all his exploits, Bafidis was not the Rangers’ only punt returner. After their fourth three-and-out, Clemens punted the ball to Kyler Clarke, and he proved just as dangerous as his backfield mate. Thirty-one yards after the catch, the coverage team shoved him out of bounds at their own 12-yard line. The Rangers again needed just two plays to score, this time on a 7-yard dive by Travis McCracken.

For their fifth and final time in the first half, Clemens punted the ball, which bounced out of bounds just shy of midfield. Their offense struggled mightily in the first half: in six drives, they racked up more runs for negative yardage (six) than first downs (zero). They finished the half with four total yards.

The second half was a little kinder to the Buffaloes, but not by much. They managed to gain 31 yards on their opening drive, but the drive stalled out and they were forced to punt yet again. Lane affected (if not blocked) the punt, which flew out of bounds just seven yards past the line of scrimmage.

Mata orchestrated yet another quick drive for the Rangers, this time thanks to Domel, who caught a screen in the right slot, worked his way to the sideline and outran the entire defense for a 49-yard score. It was his second touchdown of the game, doubling his previous season total.

For the second time, the Buffaloes began to gain momentum, but it didn’t last long. An apparent miscommunication on second-and-8 led to the snap flying past third-string quarterback Brandon Wright, who was forced to eat a 21-yard loss. But suddenly, deus ex machina, Wright hit a streaking Frederick Dubose down the left sideline for a 52-yard gain.

That hope was short-lived, however. Just three plays later, Ranger linebacker Kolton Sheppler recovered a muffed handoff at the Smithson Valley 19-yard line, the only turnover of the game.

With nearly three minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Rangers put in their second unit with a cushy, 37-point lead. Led by Doug Lantz, they drove down the field and scored; they scored again after Clemens’ seventh and final punt of the night, as Isaiah Vivians ran for multiple explosive plays and his first touchdown of the season.

The Buffaloes failed to convert a late fourth down in their own territory, and Chase Senelick kneeled out the clock. 

It was about as statistically impressive a game as a team could play. They won the offensive yards battle 330-99, scored and (perhaps) blocked a punt on special teams, recovered a fumble and committed just two penalties, both in garbage time. The 51-0 final score was the Rangers’ highest-scoring game since 2019, and biggest blowout victory since Sept. 29, 2017 at East Central (54-0).

They’ll look to keep the good times rolling next Friday at South San (0-3, 0-6). Meanwhile, Clemens will head back to Lehnhoff Stadium to take on fellow Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD member Steele (3-0, 6-0).