Lacking both emotion and effort, the Northeastern A&M Golden Norsemen suffered a 34-0 shutout Saturday afternoon to Kilgore College before a sparse homecoming crowd at Robertson Field.
The shutout was the first at Robertson Field since the Golden Norse dropped a 7-0 decision in the 1997 season finale.
Coach Rob Green's Norsemen conclude the season next Saturday with a 2 p.m. contest at Tyler's Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.
With the loss the Norsemen are 2-66 on the season and 2-4 in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference.
Coach J.J. Eckert's Kilgore Rangers are 5-3 on the year and 4-2 in the conference.
An omen of things to come for the Golden Norsemen occurred on their second possession of the game against Kilgore.
After a drive stalled at the Rangers' 35-yard line, freshman placekicker Matt Berrey attempted a 52-yard field goal.
The ball bounced off the center bar and NEO came away with no points.
Driving 65 yards on the ensuing possession, the Rangers needed eight plays to reach the endzone.
Playing without starting quarterback Shane Fry, who was benched after a fight in last week's 35-23 win over Trinity Valley, the Rangers relied on backup Lane Johnson.
Passes of 13 yards to tight end Woody McClendon and 19 yards to Cortez Smith moved Kilgore to the NEO 18-yard line.
On a fourth-and-5 call. Lane Johnson found wide out Kendrick Johnson open in the back of the endzone for a touchdown.
Eric Willis missed the extra point to create a 6-0 Kilgore lead with 3:58 left in the first quarter.
Five minutes into the second quarter, Kilgore linebacker L.T. Gaston pilfered an errant Trey Munden pass and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown. Smith caught the conversion pass from Lane Johnson as the Rangers built a 14-0 lead with 10:56 until halftime.
The Rangers missed another golden opportunity to score after tackling NEO punter Nicholas Walters at the Golden Norse 10-yard line after a botched punt attempt.
Led by cornerback Jeff Johnson and defensive linemen John White and Jason Fitch, the Norsemen sacked Lane Johnson three times for minus-8 yards.
Willis attempted a 35-yard field goal but the kick fluttered wide left with 5:19 before half.
Neither team could mount a serious scoring threat during the third quarter.
After Lane Johnson left the game because of leg cramps to start the fourth quarter, the Rangers were beneficiaries of a bizarre football play.
With Kendrick Johnson at quarterback, he threw a pass toward the endzone from the NEO 27-yard line. Golden Norse defensive back Jarrod Fields intercepted the pass deep in the endzone and returned it to the original line of scrimmage.
Fields fumbled the return and running back Donielle Hill recovered the ball for Kilgore.
Four plays later, Kendrick Johnson scored on a 9-yard run. Willis added the point-after for a 21-0 Kilgore lead with 10:53 left in the game.
Freshman cornerback Jimmy Anderson stepped in front of another errant Munden pass and returned it 43 yards for a TD. The PAT by Willis increased Kilgore's lead to 28-0 with 5:42 remaining on the clock.
A 41-yard punt return by Kendrick Johnson gave Kilgore the ball at the NEO 43-yard line. After three carries for 42 yards, Hill scored on a 1-yard plunge with 2:29 left. The conversion run failed to create the final score.
NEO's offense managed only 222 total yards while Kilgore generated 328 total yards.
Clemens led the Norse ground game with 89 yards on 29 carries while Munden completed 11 of 25 passes for 155 yards and three interceptions.
Hill rushed for 106 yards on 19 carries to lead the Kilgore ground game.
The game in figures
Kilgore College 34, Northeastern A&M 0
Kilgore 6 8 0 20 - 34
Northeastern A&M 0 0 0 0 - 0
Kilgore - K. Johnson 18 pass from L. Johnson (kick failed), 3:58
Kilgore - Gaston 35 interception return (Smith pass from L. Johnson), 10:56
Kilgore - K. Johnson 9 run (Willis kick), 10:53
Kilgore - J. Anderson 43 interception return (Willis kick), 5:42
Kilgore - Hill 1 run (run failed), 2:29
First downs 14 13
Rushes-yards 41-169 39-62
Passing yards 159 160
Return yards 171 63
Com-att-int 10-18-2 12-28-3
Punts-avg 5-40 7-36.4
Fumbles-lost 0-0 3-1
Penalties-yards 9-75 6-55
Rushing - Kilgore, Hill 19-106, K. Johnson 10-49, Elmer 6-37, Valentine 1-0, L. Johnson 5-(-23); NEO, Clemens 25-89, Parker 4-13, D. Williams 2-9, Walker 1-0, Walters 1-(-3), Blair 1-(-5), Conley 1-(-8), Munden 4-(-33).
Passing - Kilgore, L. Johnson 9-17-2-158, K. Johnson 1-1-0-1; NEO, Munden 11-25-3-155, Conley 1-2-0-5, Walker 0-1-0-0.
Receiving - Kilgore, Smith 4-27, K. Johnson 2-47, Henry 1-56. McClendon 1-13, Moon 1-15, Hill 1-1; NEO, Chelf 3-38, Blair 3-36, Hawkins 2-34, D. Williams 1-35, Booker 1-24, Adams 1-5, Clemens 1-(-12).