KILGORE, Texas - Odd how sometimes things turn on a dime.
Take the end result of Saturday's 70-31 victory by the sixth-ranked Kilgore College Rangers over the Northeastern A&M Golden Norsemen before a partisan Parent's Day crowd at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium.
Just looking at the score, one would not know that coach Rob Green's Golden Norsemen had fought and clawed to a 28-28 tie with the Rangers following a 52-yard touchdown run by veteran quarterback Bo Bowling with 7:49 left in the third quarter.
Bowling, experiencing heat-related problems in the 89-degree temperatures, had already scored on a 63-yard run with 13:01 left in the second quarter.
He also threw a 61-yard touchdown pass to Curtis Tucker to give NEO their only lead at 7-0 with 10:05 remaining in the first quarter.
Immediately following Bowling's nifty TD run, however, things started to go south for the Golden Norsemen in a hurry.
Kilgore freshman wide receiver Kendrick Johnson took the ensuing kickoff and raced 75 yards down the sideline to give the Rangers a lead they would never relinquish.
Martin Vasquez kicked one of his 10 extra points to give Kilgore a 35-28 margin with 7:30 left in the third quarter.
Almost three minutes later Kilgore benefited from the first of two interceptions by sophomore free safety Jamall Skipper to increase their lead to a 42-28 cushion heading into the fourth quarter.
Skipper jumped in front of a pass thrown by NEO's Kaelin Woods and returned it 42 yards for a touchdown.
Trailing by two touchdowns, the Golden Norsemen marched 74 yards in nine plays before the drive stalled and Knott kicked a 23-yard field goal 14 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Then over the next seven minutes Kilgore went on a 28-point scoring binge.
Johnson gathered in a 71-yard touchdown pass from Morris to start the melee with 13:30 left in the game.
Just 2:45 later Skipper stepped in front of another errant pass by Woods to create a 56-31 spread.
After stopping the Golden Norse on a 4th-and-6 call at their own 33-yard line, Johnson burst through the line for a 67-yard touchdown run on Kilgore's first play with 9:30 showing on the clock.
Unable to move the ball on their next possession, Knott dropped back to punt from his own 41-yard line for NEO.
Freshman linebacker came from the outside and blocked Knott's punt. The ball rolled backwards and was picked up at NEO's 17-yard line by wide receiver Earnest Quander who scored to put the final nail in NEO's coffin.
After the Golden Norsemen had grabbed the lead on their first possession, Kilgore moved 79 yards in eight plays to tie the score in the first quarter. Morris fired a 22-yard TD pass to T.J. Scranton with 5:17 left in the first 15 minutes.
During the second quarter, the Rangers received touchdown runs of 1 and 5 yards from tailback Cornelius Shackleford along with a 19-yard TD scamper by Prince McKinney to build a 28-21 halftime lead.
Along with his 63-yard touchdown run in the second quarter by Bowling, the 5-11, 210-pounder scored on a 16-yard jaunt to keep NEO in the game.
NEO's offense generated 359 total yards with 248 of those coming on 58 rushes. Bowling led the Norse ground game with 131 yards on 20 carries and three touchdowns. Jeremiah Sampson contributed 82 yards on 15 carries.
Bowling completed 4 out of 7 passes for 98 yards and one TD (all in the first half). Woods hit 3 of 9 passes for 13 yards.
Curtis Tucker led the Golden Norse receiving corps with four receptions for 104 yards and one TD.
Kilgore accumulated 413 total yards, which included 249 yards on 34 carries for an average of 8.3 yards per play.
Shackleford led all rushers with 147 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns all in the first half. Johnson contributed 98 yards on just four carries with one TD.
Morris completed 11 of 16 passes for 164 yards and one touchdown. Scranton caught four passes for 43 yards.
In the 86-year history of the Golden Norseman football program, only once has an opponent scored more than 70 points. The University of Arkansas freshmen defeated the 1924 Jayceers by a 73-12 score.
With the loss the Norsemen stand 1-4 in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference and4-4 on the year.
The Golden Norse conclude the season Saturday by hosting the Tyler Junior College Apaches at 2 p.m. on Robertson Field.
First-year head coach J.J. Eckert's Kilgore Rangers win their second SWJCFC regular season crown in the last three years. The Rangers are 5-0 in the conference and 7-1 on the year.