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Trinity Valley Community College running back Marcus Mann (20) attempts to escape Kilgore College’s Jamall Skipper during Saturday afternoon’s SWJCFC game at Bruce Field. The No. 7-ranked Rangers (6-1) rolled to a 34-6 win to stay in control of the conference race. TVCC dropped to 2-6 on the year.

The No. 7-ranked Kilgore College Rangers found no obstacle on their road to the Southwest Junior College Football Conference championship Saturday afternoon at Bruce Field.

Using a balanced, turnover-free performance, the Rangers put a damper on the Trinity Valley Community College homecoming celebration with a 34-6 drubbing of the Cardinals.

The win was the sixth straight for first-year coach J.J. Eckert’s Rangers, who improved to 6-1. The Rangers stayed unbeaten in SWJCFC play and one game up on Cisco and Blinn at 4-0.

Meanwhile, on the opposite end of the standings, the Cardinals slipped to 2-6 overall with their fifth straight loss. First-year coach Brad Smiley’s freshman-laden squad is winless in five conference outings.

The Cardinals are scheduled to close the season Friday against Tyler Junior College. The 3-4 Apaches were a 52-13 non-conference winner Saturday over Arkansas Baptist College. Game time at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium is 7 p.m.

TVCC went toe-to-toe with the Rangers for most of the opening quarter. But a personal foul penalty for a late hit just before the quarter ended kept what proved to be a 15-play, 77-yard scoring drive alive and changed the complexion of the game.

The Rangers capped the drive 12 seconds into the second quarter on an eight-yard LaRon Elmer run. They scored twice more in the quarter on a seven-yard pass from Logan Morris and a 28-yard end around pass from T.J. Scranton to L.T. Gaston.

The TVCC offense had no answer for the Kilgore defense. The Cardinals managed just 68 yards in the first two quarters, 16 of it coming on a Bobby Joe Barrett pass to Ryan Butler.

Barrett played quarterback the first half before turning the reins of the Cardinal offense over to Pat Cook for the final quarters. Barrett was 2-of-12 passing for 18 yards with an interception. He also ran for 22 yards on seven carries.

Cook managed to get the Cardinals on the scoreboard late in the fourth quarter long after the Rangers had lost interest. A short pass to Jahbari McLennan was turned into 51-yard touchdown. Angel Nava’s PAT was no good.

McLennan was easily the offensive star for the Cardinals. He caught four passes for 108 yards — all in the second half.

For the game, Cook was 10-of-29 for 138 yards. He was intercepted three times, the last of which was returned 33 yards for a touchdown by Ram Rodriguez with 1:31 left in the game.

Though dominant, the Rangers weren’t perfect. They were penalized 21 times for 147 yards.

Kilgore rushed for 277 yards and had 246 through the air. Cornelius Shackelford was the Rangers’ top offensive hand with 102 rushing yards on 18 carries. McKinney added 89 on nine carries and Elmer 60 on seven.

The Rangers carried a 28-0 lead into the fourth quarter after Prince McKinney took a Morris pass into the end zone from 25 yards out.

Kilgore clinched a playoff berth with the win.

In Saturday’s other conference games, Cisco was a 28-14 winner over Navarro and Blinn went on the road to take a 41-14 decision against NEO.

Kilgore hosts NEO this week and Blinn is at Cisco.

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