Kemmerer Ranger football ready for 2018 season

The Kemmerer Ranger football team at summer camp in July. The Rangers host Cokeville for a scrimmage on Friday at 7:00 p.m. (GAZETTE PHOTO / Michelle Tibbetts)

It’s finally time for another Kemmerer Ranger football season.

In an email to the Gazette, head coach Bart Jernigan discussed his goals for the team and how the Rangers are preparing for the season. This is Jernigan’s second year as head coach for the Rangers.

The Kemmerer Rangers host a scrimmage against the Cokeville Panthers on Friday, August 24, at 7:00 p.m. at the Kemmerer High School football stadium. The team’s first regular season home game is on Friday, September 7, against Lyman at 7:00 p.m.

“Our goals as a program remain unchanged,” Jernigan said. “We want to develop ourselves as better people, players, and students. We want to use the game of football to make a positive impact on the community, school, our families, and selves. Our goals for this season are to make the playoffs and compete for a conference title. I think it is well within our ability to do that.”

Jernigan said so far he is pleased with the performances by the Ranger seniors.

“I love the passion and leadership provided by our seniors,” Jernigan said. “This is a class of young men that means a lot to me; they were freshmen in my first year coaching in Kemmerer. I’ve had the opportunity to coach them all the way up in the high school.”

Seniors for the Rangers this season are Josh Thatcher, Tanner Plowman, Donny Proffit, Anthony Tibbetts, Hayden Walker, Lowell Ellis and Jeydon Boyd.

“I have always believed that you win Friday night with seniors,” Jernigan said. “If that is accurate. this group has the potential to have a great year. Combining the good number of seniors with a healthy number of juniors will be huge in reaching our potential.”

Even though the Rangers just started official practice on August 13, Jernigan said the team has been preparing for this season ever since last season closed out.

“We had a number of players do great things in other sports in the off-season. We are big believers in our kids getting out and participating in multiple sports because we believe in the value of being cross-trained,” Jernigan said. “I think that winning and competing at a high level in other venues benefits our kids under the Friday night lights.”

Jernigan said the boys were consistent in working out in the weight room during the offseason, so the team should be stronger and faster.

The Rangers hosted summer football camps in June and July.

“Camp is a really good opportunity for the team to get their feet underneath them in terms of the schemes and techniques that we are looking to employ during the season,” Jernigan said. “We had higher participation at that camp this year than last. The boys did a great job in developing their skills and knowledge.”

Jernigan said activities like camp help establish a connection among teammates.

As is the case with several Ranger sports, Jernigan said low participation numbers are an issue the team will have to deal with again this season.

“We will probably be at around 23 to 24 boys. We are currently sitting at only one member of the team in the sophomore class,” Jernigan said. “We have had some rough bounces losing two players to injuries that occurred before our season even started. We’ve also lost some kids that we thought would be coming out.”

“Ideally at this level, we would have a squad of 35 or more players,” Jernigan continued. “At some point, we will get there numbers-wise, but at the moment, the kids who are out there deserve the recognition and attention — they’re about to do some special things this season.”

Jernigan said the players have “given a ton of effort and intensity” to the start of the new season.

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