Thank u, nest

Rangers clinched a playoff after win over East Central


Davis Kuhn

Malachi Lane stiff arms defender at the last home game of the regular season

Dylan Smith, sports writer

In a turnover-filled game, football beat East Central on Friday, 21-3, to bounce back from their first loss of the season last week against Judson.

The contest started out well for the Rangers, as Stratton Davis took the opening kickoff out to the 38-yard line. After three run plays, the offense went for it on fourth-and-1, and Malachi Lane got the first down and then some. After a long opening drive of Doug Lantz and Lane splitting carries, Derek Mata ran it in for a touchdown from the 1-yard line. 

East Central returner Jonathan Martinez ran the kickoff out to the 40-yard line, but a face mask penalty advanced it to the Smithson Valley 45. The Hornets started their drive with three first downs from quarterback Caden Bosanko, who spread the ball around, before Kenyon McClure’s 15-yard run set them up in the red zone. But David DeHoyos, falling out of bounds at the goal line, caught a diving interception to take possession.

As the first quarter came to a close, Mata threw a comeback pass to Zack McDonald for six yards to get the Rangers off the 1-yard line. A defensive holding penalty by Jonathan Martinez gave the rangers a first down. A few plays later, Dylan Domel caught a 17-yard pass to put the Rangers in the red zone, but East Central forced and recovered a Mata fumble after a 6-yard run.

After the turnover, Austin Vivier and Bosanko ran for 28 yards each to reach the Rangers’ 36-yard line. Vivier caught a 33-yard pass but was tackled at the 2-yard line. A holding penalty brought a touchdown back and put East Central back at the 12-yard line. After a long scramble on 3rd-and-11, Andrew Montalvo picked off Bosanko in the end zone.

On the next drive, Mata fumbled again. Abel VasQuez recovered it and lateralled it to Treshawn Johnson, who nearly ran it back to midfield. On fourth down, Chase Senelick – a nominal quarterback lined up at safety – recovered a Bosanko fumble. Three incompletions later, the Rangers went into halftime up 7-0.

A face mask penalty on the kickoff gave East Central the ball at the Smithson Valley 29-yard line. Bosanko threw a 20-yard pass to Jack Stewart, but the defense held strong and forced a three-and-out. Daniel Gauna made a 20-yard field goal to give the Hornets their first points of the game.

The Rangers took back over at the 36-yard line. A 20-yard pass to McDonald was called back for holding, before a sack brought up fourth down and the first punt of the game, which Manuel Osorio kicked down to the East Central 42-yard line. The Hornets’ drive didn’t last long, though, as Malachi Lane recovered a botched snap on the second play of the possession.

On fourth-and-1, Mata snuck the ball up the middle to convert in East Central territory. A block in the back penalty would have set the Rangers back 10 yards, but a personal foul on the Hornets after the play gave Smithson Valley a 5-yard gain and a first down instead. Doug Lantz ran 26 yards to the 1-yard line, then powered it in for a touchdown.

East Central started their drive at their 39-yard line after a 23-yard return. On third-and-15, the Rangers forced a Bosanko fumble behind the line of scrimmage, which Samuel Sifuentes-Shaffer recovered. On the next play, though, Lantz fumbled to give back possession. Back to back sacks brought up fourth down, and the Hornets were forced to punt for the first time. 

After the punt, Lane ran for 29 yards. Mata dropped the ensuing snap, but quickly picked it up and passed it to a wide open Domel for a 54-yard touchdown to make the score 21-3, a lead which would hold to the final buzzer.

Camden Egli recovered a fumble on the following kickoff, giving the Rangers the ball at the 33-yard line. Kyler Clarke worked the team into the red zone for a first down, and Senelick moved the sticks again on a 12-yard run. He took a knee and the clock hit zero, with the Rangers leading 21-3.

The win clinched the Rangers a playoff berth and home-field advantage in the first round. Their final regular season  test comes Nov. 5 at Steele, a de facto district title game.