MIAMI — Unleashing a balanced offense and a stingy defense, the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College Golden Norsemen rolled to a 42-14 victory over Kilgore (Texas) College Saturday, Sept. 30, at Red Robertson Field.
While winning their second consecutive Southwest Junior College Football Conference game the Golden Norsemen are 3-2 in both the league and on the season.
NEO concludes the home portion of the regular season at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, in a homecoming contest against Cisco (Texas) Junior College. Following an open date this weekend the Wranglers are 1-3 in the SWJCFC and 2-3 overall.
Playing their second straight game without starting quarterback Cordale Grundy, the Norsemen held the Kilgore Rangers (1-2 and 2-3) scoreless the first 51 minutes of the game.
Two redshirts, sophomore Wyatt Steigerwald and freshman Nic Burns, shared the quarterback responsibilities while Grundy recovers from an ankle injury.
After an ineffective first series to start the game, NEO took advantage of a short Kilgore punt by Jose Goite to cover 40 yards in only four plays to start the scoring barrage.
Steigerwald found veteran tight end Jake Ross in the back of the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown pass with 9:07 on the clock. Riley Hawthorn kicked the point-after for a 7-0 Golden Norse lead.
During the second 15 minutes, redshirt freshman running back concluded a 54-yard, five play drive with a 3-yard TD run. Hawthorn’s PAT with 12:41 until halftime created a 14-0 Golden Norseman margin.
Constructing a time consuming 82-yard, nine-play drive, veteran running back Darwin Thompson scored on a 7-yard pass from Steigerwald with 1:08 left in the half. The extra point by Hawthorn gave NEO a 21-0 advantage at intermission.
Steigerwald picked up his third touchdown pass of the game on a 17-yard down and out by veteran Ki-Jona Wells. Hawthorn’s extra point boosted NEO to a 28-0 margin with 10:33 left in the third quarter.
Before giving way to Burns in the fourth quarter, Steigerwald connected with sophomore wide out Demond Sampson for a 38-yard TD pass on a fly pattern. With 12:29 left in the game, Hawthorn created a 35-0 Golden Norse advantage.
Against NEO’s second team defense, the Rangers needed 14 plays to march 86 yards for their first points.
Craig Mims snared a TD pass from Jacob Frazier to end the four-minute drive on a fourth-and-goal call. Goite booted the point-after with 9:54 left in the game for a 35-7 deficit.
Consuming more than five minutes on the clock, Burns ended a 75 yard; eight-play drive with a 3-yard quarterback sneak. Hawthorn added the PAT with 1:29 showing on the clock for a 42-7 NEO lead.
Passes of 41 yards to Odell Smith and 40 yards to Sam Hodges from Frazier, along with two completions to Jeremiah Crawford for a combined 15 yards, moved the Rangers 88 yards in less than a minute.
Frazier hit wide out Roger McCullum on a roll out 2-yard touchdown pass to end the Kilgore drive. Goite’s extra point with 32 seconds left ended the scoring.
Darran Williams rushed for 147 yards on 14 carries while Thompson added 115 yards on 14 attempts to lead the Golden Norse ground game.
Nine NEO ball carriers combined for 251 yards on 53 carries.
Steigerwald completed 13 of 19 passes for 168 yards and four touchdowns without an interception. Burns connected on 6 of 9 passes for 56 yards without a turnover.
Redshirt freshman wide out Marcheenan Hair led NEO with three receptions for 58 yards while redshirt freshman Kobe Bryer added three catches for 19 yards.
Sampson made two receptions for 54 yards while Ross caught two passes for 24 yards.
Veteran running back Demarcus Smith led the Rangers ground game with 59 yards on eight carries. Quarterback Jalil Kirkpatrick contributed 57 yards on five carries as Kilgore rushed for 166 yards on 34 carries.
The Rangers quarterback duo Frazier and Kilpatrick combined to complete 15 of 35 passes for 177 yards.