Blow the man down, literally


What a crazy game to have been a part of the Kilgore-Pine Tree series.

We’ve covered it here pretty well over the years, but the Bulldogs have dominated the series, winning every game since 1990 (20 straight now, since a tie in 1993). But a near-safety, an eventual safety later in the game, a defensive end scoring a touchdown, a Pine Tree possession that started on Kilgore’s 1-yard-line, a tipped-ball interception that prevented another Kilgore drive from ending in a score, and a running back that had 164 yards – on just four carries.


Read about the game in my game story; here’s where I give you some information beyond the game.

Demorrea Richardson: If opposing coaches weren’t game-planning for Kilgore’s number 27 before facing the Bulldogs, they’ll sure do it now.

By my count, Richardson, after missing last week with a shoulder injury, had three sacks, and scored a 4-yard rushing touchdown in the first half. He was a man among boys Friday night. Good job, big man.

Nick Hooper: He was the back that I mentioned that had 164 yards on four carries. That’s rare, but it was much appreciated. And I keep my promises: the offensive line was fantastic again – McKinnon White, Austin Adams, Braden Grush, Logan Greenberg and Coby Slayter.

Lots of guys had a big night: Briant Mumphrey finished with 144 yards and three touchdowns, including a 72-yarder.

By the way, on one of Mumphrey’s three touchdowns, I noticed Adams and White pumping their fists. For just a second, it looked like Adams was waving goodbye to him, as he broke a big run.

Happy birthday, KHS: The Hi-Steppers had a great performance Friday night (they always do, as does the band, twirlers, flags, cheerleaders and all involved), but I was reminded that this is actually the 85th birthday of Kilgore High School.

Coach Val: I bumped into Chris Vallery this week, the longtime Kilgore assistant and the son of former KHS head coach Mike Vallery. Seems coach Val had surgery recently, and has been laid up a bit, there in Louisiana.

Vallery coached Kilgore for 15 seasons, missed the playoffs just once, is a member of the KHS Wall of Honor and had a 16-0 state title season in 2004.

Here’s wishing Val a speedy recovery.

The Pirates: I hope this won’t cause some problems – I really hope not, Pine Tree fans, because I do not mean this in an offensive way whatsoever.

I would really like to know what the Pine Tree ISD leadership was thinking when they named their mascot the Pirates. Seriously, I’d love to know how they became the Pirates. We’re 5 ½ hours from the Gulf of Mexico. Is there something I’m not getting?

I mean, they’re already burdened with everyone writing “Pine Tree chopped down by (fill-in-the-blank),” or “(Fill-in-the-blank) makes pasteboard out of Pine Tree,” or “TIMMMMBERRRRRRR!”

Headline-writing in the sports section with the phrases “Pine Tree” or “Pirates” in it can be an adventure sometimes.

Every time Kilgore faces PT in anything – and I’m sorry, I just can’t help it – I have “Blow the Man Down” stuck in my head, or the scene from the “Seinfeld” episode about the puffy shirt, where he shouts out, “Avast, ye maties!”

If someone out there knows why Pine Tree took on the Pirate name – and again, I’m serious – then send me an e-mail, because I don’t mean any harm. I just don’t believe there were many pirates in East Texas back in the day, and if there was any plank-walking, I’m thinking it was probably just on a construction site.

Texas High up next: We have a rarity next Friday night, in that we – as in the Kilgore High School football team – gets a visit from the Texas High Tigers.

There have been some big, and fun, football games between these two programs over the years – there is a LOT of history there. It was Texas High that Bob Bustin and the boys defeated back in 1953 to win the very first district championship in Kilgore football history (the first of many). In 2003, Kilgore and T-High staged a classic one-point game in Texarkana that saw Kilgore come up agonizingly short.

Most of you know the names – Ryan Mallett played for Texas High in this rivalry. So did Lee Livesay, Keith Gilliam, Billy Slagle, Courtney Thomas and Clint Toon. And now Clint, a great friend of this paper, is on the other side of it – for the last few years, and still now, Clint has been on the Tigers’ coaching staff. He’ll be here next Friday night as “the enemy,” although we all know, Clint, that you still bleed the red and white, my friend.

I credit Texas High’s 44-0 and sound win over Kilgore last year as the moment the Ragin’ Red turned things around and got hot – they turned things up, and won a district championship, something that seemed 100 miles away, I’m sure, in Texarkana after that loss. Kilgore recovered and beat Carthage, then didn’t lose again until a playoff battle with Stafford.

You never know what’s next. Come check out Kilgore and T-High next Friday night. Holler if you see me.

Have a great week. God bless.


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