Coach Hickman repeatedly told us that teams that want to make a playoff run must get hot at the right time. And this year’s Jesuit Rangers are doing exactly that finishing off November 5-0 with a combined score of 274-17. And the last three games were all shutouts against Richardson Berkner, Irving, and Richardson. Because of this strong finish, the Rangers finished 2nd in the district at 7-3 (5-1 district) and first in Division 2, so we will be hosting our first playoff game at Postell Stadium.
The Rangers traveled back to the Boneyard in Richardson to face off against the Rams of Richardson Berkner. This game had a drastic difference in result though with the Rangers winning convincingly 51-0. This marked the first shutout since 2018 for the Rangers and the second of Coach Woods’s tenure as Defensive Coordinator.
The Ranger defense started the game forcing an early three and out to give the Offense the ball on our 42. Gage Roy led an eleven play drive for three minutes, topped off with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Krepp to give the Rangers a 7 point lead. Then, the defense forced another stop after a David Long ’22 and Sy Mendenhall tackle for a loss forced a punt. Robert Fitzgerald returned the punt 54 yards to give the Rangers the ball right outside the red zone. First, Jake Taylor ran for three yards, which set up a Kyle Heckyl 23 reception for a touchdown on the next play. Following this score, the Rangers stopped the Rams from driving with a Chase Jackson pass deflection giving the electric Ranger O great field position again.
After the stop, Hunter Krepp scored again with a 17-yard reception from Roy, making the lead 21 still in the first quarter. The Rams attempted to respond with a five-minute drive, but the Ranger D shut them down once they crossed the 50. The Rangers struck again with a one-yard Fitzgerald rush capping off the 80-yard drive. Next, the Defense got another stop giving the Offense three minutes to score before the half. And of course, with how dynamic our offense is, it was plenty of time as Ford Butler caught a 23-yard pass from Roy. This gave the Rangers a 34-0 halftime lead.
After receiving the second half kick, the Rangers needed two plays to score. First, Kyle Heckyl ran for 15 yards, which Taylor followed with a 39 yard rush for six. On the next drive, Judson and Bowers forced a punt after a 3 play -1 yard drive. The Rangers were forced to kick for the first time, and Parker Brown converted from 37. Another defensive stop got the Rangers the ball at Berkner’s 44. We drove down the field with a dominant rushing attack, finishing the drive with a 13 yard Brennan Graham ’22 rush. This made the lead 51-0. The Rams and Rangers punted back to back, so the Rams had the ball with 4 minutes left. They drove down the field getting to 1st and goal at the Ranger 4. But the Ranger Defensive stepped up to preserve the shutout. Rangers win 51-0.
Standout performers were the O-line, making its third consecutive game without allowing a sack. Also, Roy, Krepp, Butler, Graham, and Heckyl led the offense by scoring touchdowns and putting up great numbers. Then, on defense the d-line (Ryan Graham and Peter Melle), Jack Judson, and safeties (Fitzgerald and Pierce Jackson) killed it.
The Rangers followed the impressive Berkner win with another impressive victory over the Irving Tigers 53-0. All three phases of the game were dominant for the Rangers on this Wednesday matchup as the defense shut them out, the offense scored 42 points, and special teams got a punt return and two safeties.
The Rangers started quickly going up against the Tigers 37-0 at the half. First, we got the ball first and took advantage of it scoring after 53 seconds with a 17-yard touchdown catch by Charlie Cook. Then, the Rangers forced a punt quickly which Robert Fitzgerald returned for 50 yards to their 15. Second, the Rangers scored after a 3 yard rush by Taylor to make it 14-0. Next, the defense forced a punt which they fumbled getting us a safety, 16-0. Third, the offense scored on a 49 yard Roy to Krepp bomb. Next, the Tigers drove down the field for 9 minutes and 15 plays before a Bowers and Mendenhall sack ended the drive. Fourth, the Rangers drove down in four plays, the fourth being a Gage Roy 3 yard rushing touchdown.
Finally, the Ranger D stood tall with a tackle for a loss by Mendenhall and Fitzgerald, and then a Mendenhall sack forced a punt. After this stop, the Tigers made the mistake of punting to the dangerous Robert Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald made them pay for this by weaving through the defenders and scores on a 75-yard punt return touchdown, 37-0. The Tigers run out the clock and take it to half with the Rangers up by 37.
The Rangers started the second half fast forcing a quick three and out. Roy, taking advantage of the good field position, tossed a pop pass to Charlie Clements, who took it for a 39-yard touchdown. The Defense forced another quick punt on the following drive, but Ryan Allred blocked it through the end zone for a safety, 46-0 Rangers. The last seven drives were an exchange of punts by both teams, besides a Sam Morales score late in the third to extend the lead to 53. The Rangers won the game 53-0.
Standout performers were Peter Melle, Major Kent, Sy Mendenhall, Max McFarland, and Cooper Manning on defense. The whole offense was great, and special teams were led by Robert Fitzgerald, Pierce Jackson, Jack Judson, and Ryan Allred.
The Rangers closed out the season with another great win against the Eagles of Richardson. Jesuit trounced Richardson 42-0. It was another complete game from the three phases of the game as we forced two turnovers on defense and had a shutout, had a punt return and two field goals, and the offense put up 28 points and over 400 yards of total offense.
The offense started slowly as we did not score an offensive touchdown until midway through the 2nd quarter and an early turnover did not help. Luckily, the Defense and Punt Return team bailed us out. They forced a punt after 5 plays and Robert Fitzgerald took it back 79 yards this time for a touchdown, 7-0 Rangers. The Defense forced another punt, and the offense took the ball and drove down the field but penalties ended the drive with a field goal, 10-0. Then, there were three punts in a row, but the Ranger O got the ball back again right outside the Eagle red zone. It took 4 plays with the final being a 2 yard Jake Taylor rush to push the lead to 17. Next, the Ranger D forced another three and out and gave the O a little under 4 minutes to go and score.
The Rangers drove down and scored with 10 seconds left in the half with a 17-yard touchdown catch by Younger from Roy. Then, on the field goal attempt, it was blocked and landed at the feet of Kyle Heckyl who made the smart play: running it in for 2, so the Rangers take a 25-0 half-time lead.
The Defense started the second half with a Cooper Manning interception and the O took over, but we failed to convert on a long fourth down, so the Eagles got the ball back. On the first play of the next drive, Judson forced a fumble, but the Eagles recovered. But not getting that turnover did not matter because three plays later Sy Mendenhall picked off the pass. The Rangers did not take advantage of the good field position as we settled for a 34 yard Parker Brown field goal. Another punt was forced, but the O scored on this drive as Jake Taylor took a handoff 20 yards for his 13th rushing touchdown of the year. Then, after another punt, Jake Taylor got the hat trick on the day and 14th of the year to get it to the final score of 42-0.
Standout performers were Jake Taylor and Ryan Lengyel on offense, as the left side was secure and Jake had 200 all-purpose yards and 3 touchdowns. On Defense Melle, P. Jackson, Mendenhall, Judson, and Manning played spectacularly. Melle with a sack, Judson a forced fumble and two TFLs, Jackson with 8 tackles and .5 a TFL, Manning with a pick and some pass breakups, and finally Mendenhall with a pick, forced fumble, and TFL. Lastly, the special teams were highlighted by Brown, Fitzgerald, and Heckyl. Brown made all of his kicks, Heckyl had a great heads up play for a two-point conversion, and Fitzgerald returned his second punt of the year.
After starting the season slowly at 0-2, the Rangers got hot going 7-1 in the final eight games. In the first two games, the offense was a little slow and the defense allowed 48+ in both games. Then, we flipped the switch as the offense averaged almost 48 points per game, and we played clean and efficient football as well. And on defense, no one scored more than 35 points following week 2, and in November only allowed 17 points in 5 games.
The Rushing attack was led by Taylor with 898 yards, followed by Clements, 218, Heckyl, 186, and Sam Morales, 168. Then, in rushing scores, Taylor led with 14 and Fitzgerald followed with 7 tds. We averaged 171 yards per game this year and 5.7 per carry this year.
Gage Roy was great as our quarterback this year as he went 161-235 for 2382 with 24 tds and 6 picks. He was accurate, completing 68.5% of his passes in his first 10 games for the Rangers. He averaged 238 yards per game and was only sacked 11 times in 10 games. Naughton also tossed a couple of tds and Heckyl threw one as well.
The O-line kept Roy off the ground all year allowing only 11 sacks and finishing the year off with 4 consecutive games without a sack allowed. The main O-line was Ryan Lengyel (LT), Luca Constanzo ’22 (LG), Baron Johnson (C), Oscar Jarmon (RG), and Matt Craycraft (RT), with Benoni Mesfin ’22 coming in relief duty.
Finally, the receiving corp was elite this year led by Hunter Krepp (X), Kyle Heckyl (H), Charlie Cook (Y), and Cole Younger (Z), with Ford Butler and Charlie Clements rotating in, and Jake Taylor also chipped in. Reception leaders were Cook, 36, Krepp, 32, Taylor, 28, and Heckyl, 27. We had 4 receiving go for over 300 yards: Krepp, 710, Cook, 544, Heckyl, 361, and Younger, 342. Then, we also had 4 receivers with 4 tds or more: Krepp, 9, Younger, 5, Cook, and Clements, 4 each. And the longest reception belonged to Krepp with an 89-yard td.
The Top 4 in tackles were Judson, 80, P. Jackson, 74, Fitzgerald, 65, and Kent, 51. Rangers lived in the backfield racking up a lot of tackles for a loss and a good amount of sacks. The TFL leaders were Judson, 16.5, Melle, 8, Mendenhall and Bowers, 5.5. The sack numbers were low because TFLs and sacks can get mixed up, but the leaders in sacks were Judson, 3, Bowers, 2.5, Mendenhall, 2, and Melle, 1.5. We had 7 picks the leaders were Manning and Fitzgerald both with 2, and the rest were from Judson, Mendenhall, and Usry. The Rangers also forced 16 fumbles recovering 4 (McFarland, Charlie Freeman, Tim Brown, and Lucas Hernandez)
We also forced 8 safeties 2 by Mendenhall and Usry each, 1 by Judson, 2 by punter mishaps, and the last by an Allred blocked punt.
This year was a great year for special teams at Jesuit as we were dynamic in the return game and clean in the kicking game. We returned 3 kicks for touchdowns, which is great since we had not returned one in over 5 years before this year. Fitzgerald had two punt returns and is averaging 29 yards per return right now. Krepp had the other return on a 90-yard kickoff return and Jalyn King, Ford Butler, and Cooper Manning all averaged over 19 yards per return on kick returns this year.
And the Parker Brown ’21 was 4-6 on field goals but the two misses were actually blocked. He was also 52-54 on PATs with one being blocked. So, on 60 kicks minus the three blocks, Brown was 98% on all kicks. He also punted well averaging 35 yards per punt with 4 inside in the twenty and none returned or blocked.
For more statistics, you can visit the Jesuit Athletics page!
Preparation for Playoffs
The Rangers play the Colts of Arlington High School next Friday, December 11th at 7 pm at Postell Stadium. The Colts are 4-5, but the subpar record does not describe this team as anyone can be dangerous in playoffs. But, with our defense playing at an elite level during the month of November and our offense being as dangerous as ever, I believe that the Rangers can pull this one out. I think it is going to be a closer game, and I think the Rangers will win 31-20, and move on to the 2nd round.
For the rest of the Jesuit Football path to a deep playoff run, stay tuned to The Roundup for more football coverage and information!