Seven turnovers in one quarter. Porous special teams coverage. Lackluster defensive play. Assign all three deficits to one team — in this case Greensburg — and it comes as no surprise that squad falls 70-12 to a good, but not great, South Central squad.


Seven turnovers in one quarter. Porous special teams coverage. Lackluster defensive play. Assign all three deficits to one team — in this case Greensburg — and it comes as no surprise that squad falls 70-12 to a good, but not great, South Central squad.
That it happened on the occasion of the Rangers’ homecoming last Friday made the debacle all the more painful. That the inevitable was prolonged by a 25-minute power outage of the west bank of lights early in quarter two made the unthinkable a bit surreal.
“You can’t blame this on homecoming distractions,” said Ranger Coach Clint Young later. “I don’t know what you blame it on, but there’s no excuse for that level of play. That’s the worst display of football I’ve ever been associated with.”
 Making the Ranger collapse all the more inexplicable was the good fortune that smiled upon them at the game’s outset. An under thrown pass from quarterback Shane Engelken on third and 16 from the GHS 34 bounced off the hands of Central defender Ryan Selzer in the south end zone into the waiting hands of senior wide-out Eric White to give the home team an early 6-0 lead.
The Timber Wolves quickly tied it, however, on a 32-yard pass from Trae Beck to Justin Flinkman.The Rangers had no answer for Beck, as the junior consistently moved the ball at will against a blue defense that was usually a step late and a collar short.
Already down 12-6 after yet another Beck to Flinkman scoring toss, the Rangers then did their best to give the game away by repeatedly turning the ball over deep in their own territory in the second quarter, twice on the first play from scrimmage after returning the kickoff.
It began with a muffed option pitch from Engelken that gave the Wolves the ball at the Ranger 15, followed by Engelken losing the ball when tackled before he could hand off to Grant Sirois, giving Central the pigskin on the GHS nine.
Two minutes and another Central score later, Engelken was picked by Beck at the Central 34. A couple of minutes later Engelken was intercepted by Jeremy Flinkman, the senior able to run it back for a score.
A third interception on as many possessions followed less than 30 seconds later when Engelken’s toss for Logan Waters was snagged by Ryan Selzer, giving the Wolves the ball at Greensburg’s 34.
Adam Haskin’s fumble 90 seconds later came when the lineman lost the handle trying to run the ball after snagging an Engelken desperation toss meant to avoid a sack. That turnover at least wiped out an ineligible receiver penalty. The seventh miscue was a low snap from center that simply skipped under Engelken’s waiting hands.
The unexpected blowout did more than drop the Ranger record to 1-3 while quelling any momentum that might have been gained the week before in the Fowler win in advance of this Friday’s opening district date with top-ranked Macksville. It prompted Young to take a new course.
Saying he’d likely been too easy on team members until now because of knowing what they’d all endured since May 4, the first year coach it’ll be no Mr. Nice Guy the remainder of the season.
“I’d say 80 percent of the team you saw on the field Friday night has to be reshuffled,” he said. “I may have waited too long to do it. Maybe I’ve been too kind so far, trying to understand what these kids went through this summer.
“But we’ll spend this week of practice pounding the tar out of each other, because at some point they’ve got to figure out if they’re going to be physical and if they’re gong to start using their head.
At least a couple of the players Young would like to look to this week — kids he said he knows he can count on for maximum effort — are less than healthy. Ty Schaef is likely a couple of weeks away from recovering from his collarbone injury, while Kasey Gamble is suffering from a cartilage separation in his chest. Both are freshmen.
“Ty and Kasey aren’t afraid to hit,” Young said. “Ty isn’t afraid to get hit because he knows that’s his job on the football field. Kasey Gamble runs the ball hard against anyone, no matter how much bigger they are. I’m hoping Kasey can go this week, and I’m anxious to get Ty back.”
Though playing 140 pound freshmen in a varsity setting may go against conventional wisdom, Young feels he’s without the luxury of being conventional.
“What good is a big kid who doesn’t do anything, especially when I’ve got a smaller kid who’s smart enough and tough enough to be in position?” he said. “Yeah, he may get run over, but he’ll learn from that, and he’ll be bigger and stronger the next time.”
Adding injury to insult, a pair of seniors had to leave Friday night’s two-quarter game with knee injuries. While Young said Dave Cesmat suffered “just a little bruise” and can likely come back this week, Eric White will miss at least two weeks with a likely MCL strain.
“Eric’s having an MRI this week and we’ll know then,” Young said. “He’s a really good athlete and a really nice kid, so you just hope and pray he’s isn’t done for sports his senior season.”
White will be missed especially against the likes of Macksville’s Loomis; a phenomenal double threat quarterback whom Young knows is the core of the Mustang’s offense.
 “He’s the key,” he said, “and they’ve surrounded him with some pretty good kids. He’s not special on defense — not like he is on offense. He’s awfully hard to contain.
“Do we have the ability to play with him? Yes. Do we have the personnel to contain him? Yes. Will we put out the effort to do that this week? I can’t answer that at this point.
“This is something I never thought I’d face this season — having to find some kids who want to put out the effort. Effort is something a coach never thinks he’s going to have to ask for, but now I find myself in that position.
“So now we find out this week in practice who wants to be on the field. I have no idea right now who that’s going to be, but by Wednesday I’ll pretty well know. And that’s who you’ll see lining up against Macksville.”