The Kemmerer Rangers traveled to Lyman on Friday, Sept. 8, fresh off a win against Saratoga that broke a historic losing streak. The Rangers fought hard, but lost to the Lyman Eagles 8–6.
“I think (a) positive mindset was key in allowing us to overcome the early touchdown we allowed on the punt,” said Rangers head coach Bart Jernigan. “In the past, Kemmerer teams have gotten down on themselves very quickly when opponents have made big plays. We did not do that. In fact, we did a great job of taking that punch and swinging back. The whole attitude and buzz around practices has been very good this season, and that continued coming off of the Saratoga win.”
Junior Hayden Walker scored the Rangers’ only touchdown on a pass from senior quarterback Josh Thatcher.
The Ranger defense showed up strong again, and they really wore down on the Lyman team.
“Defense is our central identity currently,” Jernigan said.
Jernigan addressed the offensive growth he saw from the Rangers this week.
“We still need to clean up (penalties) a little bit, but we did not take nearly as many big penalties as we did last week,” Jernigan said. “The offense did well, but the scoreboard did not bear that out as much. We controlled the time of possession and moved the ball pretty well against a Lyman team that has a defense built to stop offenses like ours.”
Jernigan said the biggest area the team needs to improve is the way they finish plays and ball games.
“We are going to really focus on finishing this week both on individual plays as well as on drives,” Jernigan said. “It seemed as if we would move the ball well, advancing it into Lyman territory multiple times. Then we would have a bad play or penalty that would kill the drive. When we break the opponent’s 40-yard line we have to be able to get points out of it.”
Jernigan said he was disappointed in the final score, but thinks the Rangers played in a way the team can be proud of.
“We obviously would have loved to won the game, but in the long run the way we play is more important,” Jernigan said. “Our boys played a very solid brand of football. If we continue to play the way we are right now and keep getting better week by week, the scoreboard starts to take care of itself.”
The Rangers play Pinedale this week in Kemmerer on Friday, Sept. 15, with kick-off set for 7:00 p.m.
Jernigan said he is excited for this game as another test for the Ranger team, especially the junior class, who has battled against the Pinedale junior class since they were Junior Rangers.
“Our junior class (the bulk of this team) and Pinedale’s junior class have clashed and challenged each other to get better all growing up,” Jernigan said. “This week is no different. The high level of football they play has us focused like I have never seen us. We are working hard to come out ready on our home field, under the lights, and battle them tooth and nail.”
In addition to the Pinedale game on Friday, Kemmerer has homecoming week from Monday, Sept. 18 to Saturday, Sept. 23.
Seniors will paint the “K” on the hillside and students will paint the windows of downtown businesses on Monday, Sept. 18.
The Rangers will host the annual car smash on Tuesday, Sept. 19 and will crown the Homecoming royalty on Wednesday, Sept. 20.
The homecoming volleyball game is on Thursday, Sept. 21, at 5 p.m.
The Homecoming parade will be on Friday, Sept. 22 at 1:15 p.m to get the town ready for Friday night’s game.
Coverage of homecoming events can be found on kemmerergazette.com and on the Gazette’s Facebook page.
Rangers quarterback Josh Thatcher (12) calls the play in the huddle. (GAZETTE PHOTO / Michelle Tibbetts)
Tanner Plowman puts some distance between him and the Lyman defense as he runs the route for a pass. (GAZETTE PHOTO / Michelle Tibbetts)
Jayden Boyd gets ready to make a tackle on a Lyman receiver. (GAZETTE PHOTO / Michelle Tibbetts)
Quarterback Josh Thatcher throws a pass to one of his Ranger receivers. (GAZETTE PHOTO / Michelle Tibbetts)
Anthony Tibbetts runs the ball in the game against the Lyman Eagles on Friday, Sept. 8. (GAZETTE PHOTO / Michelle Tibbetts)