Ranger Carson Carlson runs the ball during Friday’s game against Greybull, with teammates Thomas Archibald and Dawson Schramm in the background. Kemmerer dropped to 3–2 on the season with Friday’s loss. (GAZETTE PHOTO / Michelle Tibbetts)
The Kemmerer Rangers were looking to bounce back from a Big Piney loss when they hosted Greybull on Friday, Sept. 28, but it wasn’t in the cards for the home football team. The Rangers fell to the Greybull Buffaloes 26–14.
Kemmerer started off strong in the first quarter. Junior quarterback Dawson Schramm pitched the ball to sophomore wingback AQ Martinez, who ran into the end zone for a 56-yard touchdown. Then Schramm passed the ball to senior Josh Thatcher for a 17-yard touchdown pass.
But after that, the Rangers couldn’t seem to make things work on offense. Greybull came back to tie the Rangers 14–14 heading into the locker room at halftime. In the second half, it was all Greybull, who scored 12 more unanswered points against Kemmerer.
The Rangers’ season record dropped to 3–2 with Friday’s loss against Greybull. In the 2A West conference, the Rangers are tied with Big Piney and Greybull, who also have 3–2 records on the season. Leading the 2A West conference is Mountain View (4–1), whose only loss this season was to 1A Cokeville.
“I saw a lot of improvement in our play from the week prior at Big Piney. The physicality that we brought was awesome,” said Rangers head coach Bart Jernigan. “We were the smaller team, but I felt as if our boys played with an intensity and effort that gave us a good shot at the game.”
Coach Jernigan said it’s hard to say there’s been improvement when only looking at the final scoreboard.
“We are still not where we want to be just yet, but if we can continue to take steps forward, I am confident that this will be a season to remember,” Jernigan said.
Kemmerer senior Anthony Tibbetts tackles a Greybull ball carrier in the game on Friday, Sept. 28. The Rangers scored early in the game, but ultimately fell to the Greybull Buffaloes 26–14. (GAZETTE PHOTO / Michelle Tibbetts)
Kemmerer had 366 total offensive yards in the game, including 212 rushing yards and 56 passing yards. Greybull had 230 total offensive yards, including 163 rushing yards and 60 passing yards.
On defense, Jeydon Boyd and Anthony Tibbetts led the Rangers in assisted tackles with 11 and 10, respectively. Donny Proffit contributed to six assisted tackles, Josh Thatcher had five, and Hayden Walker, Thomas Archibald and Lowell Ellis each had three.
Thatcher and Colter Brunski added three solo tackles each for the Rangers, and Ellis had two.
Jernigan said that Greybull is a good team, and the Rangers made several mistakes that turned the tide of the game.
“I thought our overall intensity and effort were great, but we did not execute at as high of a level as we would have liked to,” Jernigan said. “From penalties to turnovers to blown assignments, we just made a few too many mistakes in some very key situations.”
“There is a saying that big doors turn on small hinges, and that was the case in this game,” Jernigan continued. “Three or four plays where we were more precise in our execution would have changed that game to a blowout in our favor rather than a come-from-behind victory for them.”
Jernigan said the Rangers have been working hard this week in preparation for the Homecoming game against Glenrock on Friday. Glenrock is also 3–2 on the season, and is coming off a 76–20 win against Burns.
“Glenrock is a team that looks offensively very similar to us. They have two great running backs — I believe they were No. 1 and 2 in rushing yards in 2A last season — and a system that they have been executing for years,” Jernigan said. “They are well-coached and play as fast as anyone we have seen this season. We are focused on tackling well this week on defense and picking up their highly aggressive blitz packages offensively.”
Jernigan said in order to see some of the success the team enjoyed early in the season, they need to be more consistent.
“We are a good football team. We have some weaknesses in terms of size and numbers, but those are not things we can change or worry about,” Jernigan said. “We want to avoid the big week-to-week and play-to-play swings. We have done some really good things in our games, even the ones we have lost. But we need to be more consistent with our execution.”
Jernigan said the Ranger roster may be missing one or two players because of injuries, but it should be an “opportunity for our other players to step up to the plate.”
Senior Josh Thatcher runs the ball against Greybull on Friday, Sept. 28, at home. (GAZETTE PHOTO / Michelle Tibbetts)
The Ranger head coach discussed his approach in practice to prepare the team for game scenarios.
“Physical practices are great in driving up your readiness for the physicality of the games, but you can end up dinging kids up and aggravating past injuries, which with our numbers is highly problematic,” Jernigan said. “More mental-based practices are good in terms of getting assignments and fundamentals polished and learned, but they also can leave kids under-prepared for the physicality of Friday nights.”
“It is a very fine line that we walk in planning practice,” Jernigan continued. “We try to zero in on the needs of our team and go from there. There are elements of physical and mental practices in every day we practice. The balance shifts quite drastically and often depending upon the needs of the team and the health of the team.”
Jernigan discussed the excitement of Homecoming week and the festivities leading up to the game.
“The atmosphere of Homecoming is a special one. It is an opportunity to play for our town and alumni. With that comes some extra fanfare,” Jernigan said. “Our boys have been through this before. I felt like last year one of our strongest-played games was our Homecoming game, so I am hopeful our boys are able to come back this year and give another great effort.”
The Homecoming parade is on Friday, Oct. 5, at 2:00 p.m., starting at the high school and ending at the Ridley’s parking lot.
The Homecoming football game in Kemmerer on Friday is at the Kemmerer High School football stadium, at 7:00 p.m. against the Glenrock Herders.