Rangers' road woes continue at Lyman

Kemmerer defenders Landon Heaps (No. 13) and Tanner Schramm (No. 67) bring down a Lyman ball carrier Thursday during the Rangers' 45-6 loss to the Eagles. Kemmerer hosts Pinedale Friday for Homecoming. (GAZETTE PHOTO/Don Cogger)

Kemmerer falls to defending champs 45-6; Pinedale next

The Kemmerer High School football team ran into a buzzsaw of sorts last Thursday at Lyman, falling to the defending 2A State Champ 45-6.
The loss drops the Rangers to 1-4 on the season (1-2 in 2A West), with three games remaining before the start of the postseason.
“It was a tough game, for sure – Lyman’s a pretty stout crew,” said KHS head coach Bart Jernigan. “You don’t get to be the two-time defending state champion without being stout. They wore on us pretty hard up front – I think we did some good things early on, we were able to get a couple of stops. But as the game wore on, their physicality wore on us.”
Kemmerer’s defense proved up to the task early, holding head coach Dale Anderson’s crew to eight points in the first quarter.
“I was proud of our kids, they battled – it wasn’t a lack of effort, which is good,” Jernigan said. “It’s more some technical stuff, a little bit of conditioning stuff that we need to make sure we’re able to sustain for 48 minutes, rather than petering out after a solid first quarter.”
Offensively, the Rangers moved the ball well in spurts in the first half, though drives typically ended before they reached the red zone.
“I thought our defensive effort to start with was good – for the most part, we improved a lot in some of our technique, which was a big key in that first quarter,” Jernigan said. “Offensively, I thought we moved the ball OK. I thought our passing game was able to come up with some key conversions, where maybe in the past couple of weeks, we haven’t been able to get those. I thought that was helpful.”
Lyman blew the game open in the second half, scoring 23 points and taking a 31-0 lead into the break. The Eagles would score two more touchdowns in the second half – one in the third quarter, and one in the fourth – en route to a decisive 45-6 win.
The Rangers’ lone score came on the final play of the game – a 48-yard touchdown run by Moises Herrera – that broke up the shutout. With that run, Herrera was Kemmerer’s leading rusher for the game, followed by Austin Ruvalcaba with 45 yards and Seth Krell with 31. Roany Proffit added 14 yards on four carries.
Under center, quarterback Landon Heaps completed four passes for 56 yards. Krell caught two passes for 16 yards, while Bryson Mcgill and Riggen Walker had a catch apiece, for 12 yards and 28 yards, respectively.
Defensively, Gabe Emery led the charge with 16 points, followed by Heaps with 14 points and Graison Kelley with 13. Proffit and Walker finished with 11 points apiece.
“I thought Gabe Emery had a really good game at Mike backer, in terms of getting to the ball,” Jernigan said. “I thought Riggen Walker played a solid outside linebacker, and I thought Landon Heaps had a pretty good game, as well. Seth Krell ran the ball really hard – he was getting blown up in the backfield quite a bit. Lyman’s defensive line was able to disrupt us quite heavily, but Seth was able to make some things happen, despite some circumstances with our blocking.”
Despite the score, Jernigan reiterated that he saw some good things out of his team, and the areas that need work will be addressed at practice this week.
“As for what we need to work on, we need to figure out how to maintain that physicality for 48 minutes,” he said. “Up front, we have to be a little bit more stout. That game was won in the trenches by linemen – they were so physical. We have a hard time replicating that in practice to get our kids ready for it, so we have to be able to find a way to get better in terms of physicality, and sustaining it over 48 minutes. We do OK sustaining it for a quarter or so; it’s making it last for a whole game that will be the big question, going forward.”
This week is Homecoming for the Rangers, and with all of the festivities surrounding it, Jernigan said it will be up to him and his staff to keep the players focused.
“We run into Pinedale this week for Homecoming – it should be a really big, important game for us,” Jernigan said. “The door is still open for the playoffs for us, and that’s been the goal since Day 1. But you need to get to three wins to get to the playoffs. The way it’s looking, if we can pick up two wins out of the next three, we have a shot at the playoffs, and Pinedale is definitely a start.”
The Wranglers are 0-5 this season under first-year head coach David Thrash, though that doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous.
“Pinedale has a new head coach this year, so they’ve changed their offense a little bit,” Jernigan said. “They used to be heavily option-based, now they’re spread, two-by-two, with a lot of zone-read. Defensively, they’re a 4-3, cover-4, but I think we’ll probably see some variation in that, dropping a safety down into the box to try and take away our running game.”
There’s a lot at stake for the Rangers heading into Friday’s contest, and Jernigan said the team knows what it needs to do to be successful.
“It’s the physicality up front – we need to maintain focus for 48 minutes,” Jernigan said. “This week is an opportunity – with Homecoming, especially – to easily lose focus on what’s important. There’s a hundred other things going on for these kids, and all of them matter. But we just want to make sure that they know we have to keep our focus on a good football game first, and if we don’t do that, it could be a long night. Pinedale is a dangerous team if we don’t come prepared.”

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