For Friday night’s regular-season finale between the varsity football team and Greenville, nearly everything was perfect: the weather was beautiful, the offense executed, the defense dominated, and all of the seniors contributed to a successful Senior Night. This performance and win was something head coach Tim Rogers was very happy with, as he has nothing but admiration for this year’s senior class and is glad to see them go out on top.
“I’m really happy that we could get a win like that, both heading into the playoffs and for these seniors,” Rogers said. “All our seniors got a bunch of chances to play in what could possibly be their last game at our field. They’re a class act, and they epitomize what I want in Ranger football: selfless people willing to work hard for a common goal.”
On the subject of seniors, seniors Wyatt Engler and Brandon Weiskopf—along with the rest of the starting defensive line—came out on fire for Greenville’s first offensive possession. After special teams pinned the Yellow Jackets deep in their own territory on the kickoff, the dominance began. On a couple of run plays in a row, stop after stop followed, forcing a Greenville punt from its own 24-yard line.
Just as the defense took control early, so did the FHC offense. Despite starting on its own 27-yard line, the offense marched down the field with authority. Just when it looked like the Rangers may be in trouble on 2nd and 20 just inside of Yellow Jacket territory, senior Jimmy Scholler took matters into his own hands, rushing for the first down. Soon after, Jimmy kept the ball from just two yards out, rushing for the score past the Greenville defensive line and giving FHC a 7-0 lead halfway through the quarter.
On the next Greenville offensive possession, the story didn’t change. After once again being pinned inside their own 20, the Yellow Jackets went three-and-out thanks to a sack on 3rd and 13 from junior Carson Deines. For junior linebacker Sawyer Bosch—who had 3 tackles and 3 assists on the night—the continued domination from the defense just shows what this team can do in the postseason, especially after only giving up 85 yards on Friday.
“It’s extremely important for us to maintain the dominant performances we’ve had so far,” Sawyer said. “The playoffs will obviously yield tougher teams, and keeping these teams to a low score will be a crucial component to our success in the postseason.”
Carson ended the Yellow Jackets’ previous possession with his sack, and just minutes later, he capped off the Rangers’ offensive series with a score from a yard out. After securing very advantageous field position, the Rangers moved the ball at will before the 1-yard rush. With this score, FHC ended the first quarter with a 14-0 lead.
Coming into the second 12 minute period of the game, the Rangers had already taken control of the ball again. Just 45 seconds into the quarter, an 8-yard pass from Jimmy found the hands of sophomore Jacob Bonnett. After going up 21-0 very early on, the Ranger offense slowed down slightly and began to trade punts with the Yellow Jackets. The most important one, however, came with 3:33 remaining in the second quarter when senior Will Gustafson’s punt was downed on the 3-yard line. This troubled Greenville, and they were forced to punt once again.
The Rangers marched down into Yellow Jacket territory but found some issues as they approached the endzone. As has been the case for much of the season, the connection of Jimmy and junior Jonah Spates was there to convert a crucial third down, putting the Rangers at the Greenville 18-yard line with just over 30 seconds remaining in the first half. Then, with just 13 seconds left to tick down, Jimmy once again found Jonah on third down, but this time it was for six points in the endzone.
“I just trust what coach will call on third down and try to make a play,” said Jonah on his continued success in crucial moments.
Once the second half began and the Ranger lead was already at 28, some rotations began to occur. Junior Carson Mocherman—who has seen some serious time at quarterback this season—took over the reins under center and immediately found success. He had back to back runs of ten or more yards to put the Rangers in Greenville territory and then followed this with an impactful third-down conversion. Needing nine yards, his pass found the hands of junior Dallas Hopson to put FHC near the Yellow Jacket endzone. Sophomore Tyler Weaver ran for 43 yards on Friday on five rushes; he finished off this drive with a score from 13 yards out soon after the conversion, giving FHC a 35-0 advantage with just under six minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Greenville then began to generate some momentum in many of its players’ last game of their career. The Yellow Jackets finally removed the zero from the scoreboard thanks to a 6-yard pass, and the score was now 35-7 as the third quarter closed.
In the fourth quarter, Carson Mocherman impressed through the air. Near midfield, Carson threw up a cannon for Jacob to grab, and the sophomore completed the catch for a 29-yard gain after leaping over the defender. On the next play, Sawyer beat multiple Yellow Jacket defenders and made some guys miss as he went on to go all the way for six points from 13 yards out. With the Rangers now leading 42-7 with seven minutes to go, everyone got a chance to go in and make an impact.
Senior Bobby Lynch had his time to shine right after, as he hunted down the Greenville quarterback on third down before completing the sack. Forcing the punt from the Yellow Jacket 12-yard line gave the Rangers one last opportunity to get everyone involved. Junior Logan Vanlente found a gap and attacked, rushing for an impressive score from 47-yards out with a quick burst of speed. With this touchdown, the final score was finalized: 49-7 in favor of the Rangers.
What was evident in Friday’s contest was the improvements in the offense that were made. While this team wasn’t up to the quality of the opponents the Rangers will meet in the playoffs, it was still encouraging for coach Rogers to see so much of something he’s been looking for all season: execution.
“Offense is about execution, which is all I cared about tonight. I didn’t care if we scored a bunch of points or had a million yards, I just wanted to see good execution because we hadn’t done that in a week or two,” Rogers said. “I think tonight we executed at a very high level, and the result of it is 49 points. But the key to the whole situation is that we executed at a high level on the line, with the receivers, with the quarterback, and the running backs.”
With this win, the Rangers finish the regular season at 7-2 (5-1). For the seniors, Friday night was emotional knowing it could be their last game at Ranger Stadium.
“This program has been very special to me,” Jimmy said. “I never thought I would end up loving this sport as much as I do, and I’m very grateful for the connections I’ve made with all the players and coaches throughout my years.”
Now that the regular season is over, the Rangers move onto postseason play. While the opponent remains to be unknown, FHC will come into next week with plenty of momentum, especially after such a phenomenal performance throughout this season. This team isn’t like years past; it’s a gritty group looking to make a lot of people surprised, just like they have all year.
“[Going 7-2] is a great accomplishment by a bunch of blue-collar guys,” Rogers said. “We don’t have the stars we had in years past, and we said that going into this year. What we had this year is a bunch of unselfish guys who would do whatever it took to win, and that’s the reason we’re 7-2.”