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NEO handles Kilgore
 October 14, 2012

If winning two games south of the Red River has been ‘steps in the right direction’ concerning the progress of the football program, then a 42-24 drubbing of fifth ranked Kilgore, Texas, Saturday afternoon, before a partisan homecoming crowd at Robertson Field, should be a ‘feather in the cap’ of the 15th rated Northeastern A&M Golden Norsemen.

Coach Dale Patterson’s Golden Norse move into a tie with the Navarro College for second place in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference. Both teams are 3-1 in the conference and 6-1 on the season while Kilgore leads the league with a 4-1 mark and 6-1 overall.

NEO concludes the road portion of their schedule next Saturday with a 2 p.m. conference game at Cisco, Texas. The Wranglers played Saturday afternoon at Tyler.

Kilgore took advantage of an interception by free safety Michael Mathis to grab an early lead in the first quarter against NEO.

Mathis picked off a Clayton Mitchem pass at the NEO 25 yard line to give the Rangers a scoring chance.

After an 18-yard pass play from quarterback Tanner Tausch to wide out Darrin Brown, freshman tailback Courtland Smith dashed up the middle for a seven-yard touchdown run with 8:33 left in the first quarter. Yovanny Arizu kicked the point-after to give Kilgore a 7-0 lead.

NEO defensive tackle Braylon Freeman pounced on a fumble by Smith at the Kilgore 14-yard line to create a scoring opportunity for the Norsemen.

Three plays later Mitchem scored on a two-yard run with 2:50 remaining in the first quarter. Kevin King’s extra point forged a 7-7 tie.

The Ranger’s special teams blocked a punt by NEO’s Garrett Powell and DeAngelo Brooks recovered the block at the NEO eight-yard line in the first two minutes of the second quarter.

Tausch concluded the drive on a 4th-and-goal call with a sneak from one-yard out at the 11:44 juncture. Arizu kicked the point-after for a 14-7 Kilgore lead.

After marching 72 yards in 11 plays, the Rangers received a 34-yard field goal by Arizu to increase their lead to 17-7 with 5:59 before halftime. A key in the drive was a 44-yard pass from Tausch to freshman wide out Joe Herrick.

Taking advantage of a 15-yard personal foul penalty levied on Kilgore after NEO’s Sam Shepard signaled for a fair catch on the ensuing kickoff, the Golden Norse drove 47 yards in six plays for a score.

Sophomore wide out Kameron Doolittle skirted around right end for an 11-yard TD run with 3:20 until halftime. The PAT by King cut the deficit to a 17-14 margin.

With time winding down until intermission, Mitchem found Powell open for a 28-yard touchdown pass to culminated a 44-yard drive. King’s point-after with 0:55 second left gave the Norse the lead for good.

During the first three minutes of the third quarter, Mitchem unleashed a volley of passes that resulted in two long scoring plays.

Veteran wide out Michael Thompson caught a 59-yard TD pass in stride with 12:42 left in the third quarter on NEO’s first play. King added the extra point for a 28-17 Norse cushion.

The Mitchem-to-Thompson duo clicked again on NEO’s next possession for a 23-yard touchdown pass. Mitchem had connected with Doolittle for 14 yards and Garrett for 11 yards before finding Thompson across the middle. King’s PAT produced a 35-17 Norse advantage with 9:11 remaining in the third quarter.

Mounting a 68-yard, seven-play drive on their next possession, Mitchem concluded the march with a 10-yard touchdown run with 4:22 on the clock. The extra point by King allowed NEO to carry a 42-17 lead into the fourth quarter.

Kilgore used a little razzle-dazzle to score the only points in the final 15 minutes.

Tausch took the snap and lateral to tailback Emory Miller who lofted a 21-yard touchdown pass to wide out Ed Marques with 9:42 left in the game. Arizu’s point-after concluded the scoring.

NEO’s offense accumulated 426 yards in total offense. Curtis led the ground game with 71 yards on nine carries while Mitchem added 36 yards on 17 carries and two TDs.

Mitchem completed 18 of 26 passes for 278 yards and three TDs with one interception. King was 0 for 1 with an interception.

Thompson led the Golden Norse receiving corps with six catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns. Powell added five receptions for 63 yards and one TD while Doolittle caught four passes for 80 yards.

Karrion Morrisey led the Kilgore ground game with 46 yards on 10 carries as the Rangers generated 378 total yards in offense.

Tausch completed 18 of 31 passes for 187 yards and one interception while Miller completed 2 of 3 passes for 129 yards and one TD with one interception. Ty Chapa hit 2 of 3 passes for 20 yards with one interception.

Carthage, Mo., redshirt freshman free safety Devron Moore recorded all three NEO interceptions. The NEO record is four interceptions in one game by both John Pell in 1966 and Rickey Greene in 1980.

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