The Blinn College football team concluded its season with a hard-fought 38-28 loss to No. 3 Kilgore College in Southwest Junior College Football Conference play Saturday at Cub Stadium in Brenham, Texas. 

The Buccaneers (3-6, 1-6 SWJCFC) ended their campaign by giving one of the NJCAA’s national championship hopefuls a fight for 60 minutes. 

“I’m really proud of the way our kids responded to adversity today, and this was a game that truly reflects the ups and downs you face each time you play,” Blinn head coach Ryan Mahon said. “You try to stay right there in the middle and these guys did just that. They fought their tails off and I couldn’t be prouder of this bunch.” 

Though the Rangers (8-1, 6-1) tried their best to pull away from Blinn, the hosts found ways to keep themselves in the ballgame. 

Freshman quarterback Rylan Wooten – making his second collegiate start for the Bucs – got his team on the board and tied the game at 7-all in the first quarter on a short QB keeper.  

The scoring drive was set up by Blinn freshman defensive lineman Branson Winter, who nearly sacked Kilgore QB Cameron Peters, and Bucs sophomore defensive back Maurice Evans, who intercepted Peters’ ensuing desperation throw. 

Rylan Wooten 2023
(Pictured: Blinn quarterback Rylan Wooten carries the football during a game against Kilgore College on Nov. 4, 2023)

As Kilgore began finding breathing room with a pair of touchdowns and a field goal, it would be Wooten again who got his team back on track. 

With the ball at the Ranger 28-yard line, Wooten lofted a perfectly placed pass to freshman wide receiver Ethan Wyatt into the corner of the end zone to make it 24-14 with 5:31 left in the first half.  

The score remained the same going into halftime. 

Kilgore looked poised to run away with the game following a 1-yard QB keeper that made it 31-14 at the 8:03 mark of the third period, but the Bucs responded again. 

Freshman running back Kelton Weathers capped a long Blinn drive with a 2-yard scoring burst, and the Buccaneer offense went back to work following a Ranger punt. 

With 13:35 showing in the fourth quarter, Wooten faked a handoff and found room through the heart of the Kilgore defense. He promptly out-raced the Ranger defenders for a 66-yard score which pulled Blinn within 31-28. 

Kelton Weathers 2023
(Pictured: Blinn running back Kelton Weathers carries the football during a game against Kilgore College on Nov. 4, 2023)

“We as a coaching staff have seen this all year long … the potential and the ability of these kids to play this way,” Mahon said. “It was great to see them show up and prove that they could do it. They showed up and answered the call when they got their opportunity.” 

Blinn forced a punt on the subsequent Rangers possession, and a favorable bounce on the Kilgore punt put the Bucs in great field position at the visitors’ 38. However, Blinn missed out on an opportunity to tie the contest when its 48-yard field goal attempt was deflected near the line of scrimmage. 

The Rangers closed out the scoring with a QB run at the 7:37 mark of the fourth. 

The Bucs honored 22 sophomores as part of its Sophomore Day celebration prior to the opening kickoff. Mahon said he and his staff look forward to building on the positives this season brought to the program and will eye a step forward in 2024.

“There were some really big bright spots on this team that we’re excited to see come back next year,” Mahon said. “I couldn’t be more excited for the future of this program and what’s next for us.”

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