Smith­son Val­ley 30, East Cen­tral 13: Rangers get much-needed vic­tory.

San Antonio Express-News - - SPORTS - By Adam Zu­vanich COR­RE­SPON­DENT

Smith­son Val­ley en­tered Oc­to­ber without a win — a scary sit­u­a­tion for a pro­gram ac­cus­tomed to strik­ing fear in op­po­nents.

Not even mid­way through the month, though, the Rangers are right back where they want to be and feel­ing as good as ever about their chances for an­other stel­lar sea­son.

Smith­son Val­ley (2-3, 2-1 Dis­trict 26-6A) won its sec­ond in a row Fri­day night and put it­self in fa­vor­able po­si­tion to make a ninth con­sec­u­tive play­off ap­pear­ance. The Rangers raced out to a big lead at East Cen­tral and coasted to a 30-13 win that left them in a tie for sec­ond place in dis­trict head­ing into next week’s home game against first-place Jud­son.

“Ev­ery­thing’s still in front of us,” Smith­son Val­ley quar­ter­back Levi Wil­liams said. “We’re just try­ing to win out the rest of the sea­son — that’s the main goal — and then win in the play­offs and hope­fully win a state cham­pi­onship.”

Wil­liams, a 6-foot-3, 205pound se­nior who has com­mit­ted to the Univer­sity of Hous­ton, ac­counted for all four Smith­son Val­ley touch­downs and 215 to­tal yards. He threw three first-half TD passes — to Austin How­ell, Ethan Sill and Eric Titz­man — and rushed for a score in the sec­ond half.

Wil­liams left the game early in the third quar­ter af­ter tak­ing a hard hit by East Cen­tral’s Justin Gu­tier­rez. The quar­ter­back said he sus­tained a mi­nor knee in­jury and re­mained on the side­line as a pre­cau­tion with the game in hand.

The Rangers fin­ished with 285 rush­ing yards on 48 at­tempts, with Wil­liams, Marc Franco and Ja­cob For­ton gain­ing at least 72 apiece. They ran pri­mar­ily to the left side in the first half while jump­ing out to a 20-0 lead.

“It was work­ing,” Smith­son Val­ley coach Larry Hill said. “I’m not a real deep thinker, so let’s don’t over­an­a­lyze it. Let’s just keep do­ing it.”

East Cen­tral (4-2, 2-1), push­ing for its first play­off berth since 2015, had its of­fense work­ing at times. Dean­gelo Rose­mond rushed for a game-high 108 yards, most of which came on a 76-yard TD run in the sec­ond quar­ter, while quar­ter­back Austin Trainer com­pleted 15 of 22 passes for 130 yards and a fourth-quar­ter score to Adrian Za­p­ata.

But the Hor­nets did not make the most of their scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, botch­ing a field-goal at­tempt to start the sec­ond quar­ter and turn­ing the ball over on downs twice in the sec­ond half.

On the first turnover on downs, Trainer faked a punt and com­pleted a pass to a wide-open Charles Oglesby, but he was stopped 2 yards short of the first-down marker on an open-field tackle by Smith­son Val­ley’s Tom Zeug. Early in the fourth quar­ter, Trey Witcher sacked Trainer on fourt­hand-5 from the Rangers’ 35-yard line.

“If we get those plays, the ball­game’s dif­fer­ent,” Trainer said. “But we shouldn’t be put into that sit­u­a­tion. We’ve got to get our first downs. It’s the of­fense’s job, and we didn’t ex­e­cute right.”

Tom Reel / Staff pho­tog­ra­pher

Ranger re­ceiver Kasen Wells scam­pers down the side­line to get his team into scor­ing po­si­tion as East Cen­tral hosts Smith­son Val­ley on Fri­day.

Tom Reel / Staff pho­tog­ra­pher

Ranger quar­ter­back Levi Wil­liams breaks loose through the Hor­net de­fense on Fri­day.

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