Photo by Sarah Martian

Ranchers blast through 1st round of playoffs

The Harding County/Bison Ranchers started the Thursday night 1st round playoff game falling behind 10-0 within the first minutes of the game. The Ranchers fumbled the ball on the opening drive, giving Chester Area the chance to take the ball down the field with the chance to put points on the board first. With some tough defensive plays, the Ranchers held the Flyers to a 22-yeard field goal, only to let them get the football when they were successful with an onside kick. The Flyers then scored two plays later on a 42-yard touchdown pass that left the Ranchers reeling. “We had the absolute worst start to a game possible (with a fumble, them scoring and then them getting an onside kick) but we never once got worried,” said Coach Jay Wammen who was constantly communicating with his players on and off the field, encouraging and telling them to stay focused. Following those two drives by the Flyers, the Ranchers took a step back, regathered their game plan, put on their game faces, and never looked back! The Ranchers put up 38 unanswered points to come out on top, winning the 1st round playoff game decisively. Although the fans on the sidelines were on edge and holding their breath at times throughout the entire game, the Ranchers played with confidence and aggressiveness to finish their objective. It was a great win! 
Scoring the first points for the Ranchers was the Kelby Hett to Gage Gilbert connection for a 10-yard touchdown run followed by Rylee Veal scoring on the 2-point conversion with 1:19 left in the first quarter. The Ranchers put more points on the board with a 1-yard touchdown run by Kelby Hett with Rylee Veal punching in the 2-point conversion making the score 16-10 Ranchers. A number of good hits and some tough defense forced the Flyers into punting to the Ranchers a number of times in the second quarter giving the Ranchers a lot of opportunities on offense. Rylee Veal would score again in the second quarter on a 13-yard run, but the Ranchers failed on the conversion making the score 22-10 going into halftime. While Chester Area revamped their game plan and tried to make some changes, the Ranchers were ready for everything they threw at them, shutting down the run and knocking down passes put up by the Flyers. The remaining scoring drives ended with Veal running one in from 6-yards out with Hett hitting Brennan Glines for the 2-point conversion and Veal scoring once again from 30-yards out and Gage Gilbert adding the 2-point conversion with 7:21 left in the game. The Ranchers held out the remainder of the game with tough defense and determination to get the win and advance to the next round. “Defensively - we played our most complete game of the season and played technically sound football. We forced 6 turnovers and we out gained them from the line of scrimmage. (HC had 500 offensive yards while holding Chester to 166),” said Coach Wammen. “Our kids battled back and showed true toughness throughout the game versus Chester.”
The Ranchers put up some outstanding numbers posting 500 total yards of offense while shutting the Flyers down to just 166 yards with some great defensive plays including 4 sacks. Kaden Green had a very nice kick return in the first quarter that got the Rancher crowd excited and cheering loud! That started the ball rolling and the fans cheering loud throughout the game until the final buzzer sounded. The Ranchers were led by sophomore Rylee Veal who had 243 All Purpose Yards of offense with Kaden Green putting up 114 followed by Gage Gilbert with 95 yards. Kelby Hett put up 187 yards in passing, having a number of weapons in his arsenal to keep the Flyers confused and out of position. Defensively, the Ranchers were led by Braden Routier who posted 7 solo tackles followed by senior Grey Gilbert with 6. The tackling was spread out amongst the defense with the crowd going wild when the Ranchers got a sack. “The was a great atmosphere at team win to build upon. We will look to carry that momentum into our game this coming Thursday with Philip,” said Coach Wammen.
The Ranchers will take on the Philip Scotties, Thursday evening at 6:00 pm on Ab Penn Field in Buffalo. Come out and cheer our the purple and gold as they make another push through the playoffs in their bid to make it to the Dome. GO RANCHERS!
HCHS Ranchers vs Chester Area Flyers
1st qtr 10-8 CA, 2nd qtr 10-22 HC, 3rd qtr 10-30 HC, Final 10-38 HCHS
Passing (att/comp/yds): Kelby Hett 11/17/187, Gage Gilbert 1/1/18  Team 12/18/205
Rushing (car/yds/avg): Rylee Veal 26/207/8.0, Cade Costello 1/8/8.0, Kelby Hett 2/5/2.5, Braden Routier 11/67/6.1, Kaden Green 1/8/8.0  Team 41/295/7.2
Receiving (rec/yds/avg): Rylee Veal 2/36/18.0, Kelby Hett 1/18/18.0, Kaden Green 2/67/33.5, Brennan Glines 2/5/2.5, Gage Gilbert 5/77/15.4  Team 12/203/16.9
Offensive Fumbles (fum/lost): Rylee Veal 2/1
All Purpose Yards (rush/rec/kr/pr/ir/tot): Rylee Veal 207/36/0/0/0/243, Cade Costello 8/0/0/0/0/8, Kelby Hett 5/18/0/0/8/31, Braden Routier 67/0/0/0/0/67, Kaden Green 8/67/39/0/0/114, Brennan Glines 0/5/0/0/0/5, Gage Gilbert 0/77/0/0/15/92  Team 295/203/39/0/23/560
Total yards (pass/rush/rec/tot): Rylee Veal 0/207/36/243, Cade Costello 0/8/0/8, Kelby Hett 187/Gage Gilbert 18/0/77/95  Team 205/295/203/500
Tackles (solo/asst/tot): Dawson Kautzman 2/3/5, Rylee Veal 2/0/2, Kohl Risty 0/1/1, Kelby Hett 2/1/3, Braden Routier 7/0/7, Kaden Green 2/0/2, Brennan Glines 4/0/4, Nayati Bickerdyke 1/0/1, Gage Gilbert 3/1/4, Grey Gilbert 6/0/6, Slate Page 1/0/1, Evan Meyer 1/1/2  Team 31/7/37
Sacks: Dawson Kautzman 1, Rylee Veal 1, Brennan Glines 1, Grey Gilbert 1  Team 4
Interceptions (#/yds/avg): Kelby Hett 1/8/8.0, Gage Gilbert 1/15/15.0  Team 2/23/11.5
Fumbles & Blocks (rec/FR yds): Dawson Kautzman ½, Rylee Veal 1/1, Grey Gilbert 2/8  Team 4/11
Kickoff Returns (rets/yds/avg): Kaden Green 1/39/39.0
Points (TD/TD points/Conv/tot): Rylee Veal 3/18/4/22, Kelby Hett 1/6/0/6, Brennan Glines 0/0/2/2, Gage Gilbert 1/6/2/8  Team 5/30/8/38


The Pioneer Review

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