Jesuit traveled to the Boneyard to face off against the Wildcats of Lake Highlands. Sadly, the Rangers were handed their first district loss by the Wildcats. The Jesuit Rangers fell 17-0 early in the second quarter, which caused us to go away from our dominant run game. Then, we got back into the match with 1:13 left in the game and a chance to win it on our final drive. But the drive stalled, and the Rangers lost 34-31.
It was a rough start for the Rangers as the offense did not score until halfway through the 2nd quarter. First, the Ranger Special Teams wanted to start the game quickly with an onside kick on the opening kickoff. But it did not work out, and the Wildcats recovered and started the game with excellent field position. The defense almost forced a turnover on downs as Graham Bowers, and Landon Usry got pressure on 4th down. However, the quarterback evaded the rush and picked up the first, and the next play, the Wildcats scored. The Rangers tried to respond, but a sack on third down and a false start on fourth forced a punt.
The Wildcats exploded for a big run that would have been a touchdown if not for Max McFarland chasing him down and tackling him at the 10-yard line. The Wildcats got down to the one, but Jesuit stopped them, and two false starts forced a field goal. Parker Brown punted after the offense stalled again. Then, the Wildcats scored another touchdown to go up 17-0. So the Rangers had to answer, and a Jake Taylor reception cut the lead to 17-7. And then a Graham Bowers sack forces another punt, getting our defense off the field. Then, the offense pulled off a trick play to Charlie Clements, which got him into the red zone. A Hunter Krepp touchdown capped off this drive. Finally, the Wildcats scored before Half to lead 24-14 at Half.
The Rangers started with a quick three and out, and the Wildcats extended their lead with a field goal. A Gage Roy interception in the red zone was costly but pinned Lake Highlands deep. The defense forced a punt that was muffed and knocked out of the end zone for a safety. The Rangers took advantage of the momentum with another Krepp touchdown and a two-point conversion by Charlie Cook. 27-24. Then the Rangers forced another stop but then turned it back over with another pick by Roy. The Wildcats scored again to take a 34-24 lead with six minutes left in the game. The Ranger Offense needed to strike quickly, and a 15-yard strike from Roy to Cook filled the need cutting the deficit to 3. The defense needed to make a stop to give the offense a chance to win, and they delivered.
First, Ryan “Hollywood” Graham forced a fumble, but sadly the Rangers did not recover it. Luckily, the Ranger defense did pull off a stop, and the offense had 73 seconds to go score. The offense started to drive, but a costly sack caused a final desperation play on our 41-yard line. We tried the hook and ladder play, and we were one broken tackle away from maybe breaking it for the game-winner.
The first 18 minutes was rough for both sides of the ball, but the last 30 was strong by both sides of the ball. The offense was led by a strong passing game from Gage Roy, throwing for 389 yards and four touchdowns. Then the running game was a struggle, but our receiving game stepped up in its place. Senior Charlie Cook and Junior Hunter Krepp combined for 19 receptions for 284 yards and three touchdowns. And then an additional touchdown by Jake Taylor accounted for the scoring.
The defense was led by a strong performance from the defensive line. Senior trio Ryan Graham, Peter Melle, and Graham Bowers lived in the Wildcat backfield, getting many tackles for a loss, a sack, and a forced fumble. Then linebacker Landon Usry got a safety on the muffed punt. And then Junior Robert Fitzgerald was all over the place with 11 tackles, with one of them being the biggest hit I have ever seen in person. The running back was trying to run down the sideline, and Fitzgerald struck him so hard he flew into our sideline. Minus a couple of huge plays, the defense had a strong performance keeping us in the game.
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Preparation for Irving MacArthur
It is a short week for the Rangers as we travel to Irving to take on the Cardinals this Thursday. The Cardinals are 1-3 and have been struggling, but Coach Hickman told us we could never underestimate our opponent, so we will take this game seriously. I believe that we will have a strong defensive performance as the MacArthur offense struggles to put up points. If the offense starts fast and the defense stops the big plays, I expect a good team win to bring us up to 2-1 in the district.
For the rest of the Jesuit Football path to a 7-6a District Championship and playoff run, stay tuned to The Roundup for more football coverage and information!