After a week of hard practices during an open date, the Northeastern A&M Golden Norsemen experienced two days off before starting game week preparations for a trip across the Red River next Saturday to face the Kilgore College Rangers at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium.

“Our guys really worked hard to get better,” Golden Norse interim head coach Dale Patterson said. “They understand that they should have won the game with Cisco (a 26-25 loss) and they know that the mistakes they made can’t be repeated.”

NEO entered the Southwest Junior College Football Conference bye week with a 0-1 conference mark and a 2-2 overall record.

Coach J.J. Eckert’s Kilgore Rangers entered Saturday’s conference contest with No. 1 ranked Navarro College 0-3 on the season and 0-1 in the SWJCFC.

“We don’t pay any attention to records because we want to remain focused on what we have to do to win the game,” Patterson said. “Our players know that they are on the cusp of being consistent winners, but they also understand that we’ve still got some work to do.

“We haven’t been able to shake that ‘work in progress’ tag yet,” Patterson said. “But, if they keep putting in the time and effort they’ve exhibited this past week, then we’ll get this project done and make the playoffs.”

They’ve got about 10 days to find the answers. And then No. 1 Navarro comes to town.

The Rangers, who have started slow and then finished fairly strong the last two seasons, are confronted with that challenge again in 2011 after dropping last Saturday’s Southwest Junior College Football Conference opener to Trinity Valley, a 38-20 loss at Athens that just got away from KC in the second half.

Don’t let the fact that Kilgore is ‘0-fer’ because for the last couple of years the Rangers have started off slow and finished like gangbusters. Even though the Rangers faced the daunting task of playing defending national champion Navarro Saturday night, Kilgore could run the table and make their second straight appearance in the post season. 

The Rangers were off the week NEO hosted Cisco and had 10 days to prepare for Navarro.

Kilgore faced the task of defeating ninth ranked Trinity Valley on Sept. 10, and the task was going well midway, with the teams tied at 14 at halftime. 

Last year the Rangers held the Golden Norse to less than 100 yards in total offense en route to a 31-0 shutout at Robertson Field. The Rangers have won five straight games with NEO.

Norse notes: The weekly meeting of the Golden Norse Football Booster Club will resume at noon Wednesday in the Bruce Carter Student Union Ballroom. Cost for the luncheon is $7.50 per person. Mack Butler, former NEO assistant head coach, and currently director of football operations at Oklahoma State University will be the guest speaker.