The final week of the TVCC Cardinals season comes down to a Top 10 matchup at Bruce Field.
The Cardinals welcome in the Kilgore College Rangers to Bruce Field in a 3 p.m. kickoff.
“It is a game and we are going to have to go out and play well,” TVCC coach Sherard Poteete said.
Following last week’s 47-27 victory over the Navarro Bulldogs, the No. 7-ranked Cardinals (6-1 overall) are in a tie for second with one game to go.
“We ran the ball really well and the O-Line took over,” Poteete said. “It is big because it is the next game on the schedule. It is the last regular season game and the guys have got to be ready to roll. It has been a long season and it is May and Kilgore is good.”
The No. 3-ranked Cisco Wranglers defeated the No. 6-ranked Kilgore Rangers, 37-20 to put the Rangers in a tie with TVCC at 5-1 in conference play.
The Rangers are 6-1 overall under coach Willie Gooden following last week’s loss to the Cisco Wranglers.
Kilgore comes in averaging 523 yards of total offense and 37.3 points per game as three quarterbacks run the Rangers offense.
Freshman quarterback Malcolm Mays is 56-of-93 for 998 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions.
Sophomore quarterback Chance Amie is 16-of-38 for 253 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. He is second on the team in rushing with 345 yards and four touchdowns.
Freshman quarterback Clifton McDowell is 13-of-21 for 223 yards with one TD and one interception.
“They run the football well and have several running backs they can give the ball to,” Poteete said. “The quarterbacks do a good job and they have played several quarterbacks. It works for them and they have some athletes who can run the football.”
The Rangers top running back is freshman Kenneth Lacy with 61 carries for 574 yards with three touchdowns.
The Rangers have used nine different players in the rushing attack this season for an average of 311.9 yards per game.
The Rangers leading receiver is freshman Willie McCoy with 19 receptions for 404 yards and three touchdowns.
Kilgore has only three receivers with over 10 receptions this year as Marques Pearson has 18 for 204 yards and one TD, while Zeek Freeman has 10 for 221 and two TD’s.
Defensively is where the Kilgore Rangers have shined this year as they are allowing 307.4 yards of total offense with 131.1 rushing yards and 176.3 passing yards per contest.
The Rangers have allowed 22.7 points per game with the highest being 38 points to Navarro April 17. They are led by sophomore linebacker Keith Harris with 59 tackles, two fumble recoveries and one interception. Linebacker Quinton Sharkey has 49 tackles with three sacks and one interception. Maurice Westmoreland is currently fourth in the nation in sacks with six and is tied for seventh on the team in tackles with 27.
““They have a good defense with some big, fast and long guys,” Poteete said. “Their defensive line will be the best defensive front we have faced this year. Their defensive backs are really good and they got some cover guys on the edge and run stoppers in the middle. It will be the best defense we have faced and it is in the last game of the year.”
Poteete said the key is who is the healthiest team to end the year and taking care of the football.
“I think these two teams come down to who is healthy at the end of the year,” Poteete said. “It is Week 8 and we have had some success running the football so who can stay healthiest this week.”
SWJCFC Conference Standings
No. 3 Cisco 6-0
No. 6 Kilgore 5-1
No. 7 Trinity Valley 5-1
New Mexico Military 4-3
Northeastern Oklahoma A&M 0-6
Conference Schedule: NEO at Blinn 2:30 p.m., Kilgore at TVCC 3 p.m., RPA College vs. New Mexico Military 3 p.m., Cisco at Tyler, 3 p.m.