So many questions surrounded Kilgore High School boys soccer before the season: massive graduation losses after the Bulldogs won the UIL Class 4A state championship last year, the departure of coach Austin Walker for Midlothian Hertiage, and a target on the Bulldogs’ backs the size of the national debt, after all the winning they’ve done.
But coach Tom Wait – who might be in his first year as head coach at Kilgore, but would hardly be considered a “rookie” – shaped, molded, and helped his guys get over some non-district rough spots, and the ‘Dogs are running like a well-oiled machine.
Just ask Carthage.
KHS goalkeeper Kaleb Jett played lights-out again, bolstered by solid defense from his teammates, as well, as Kilgore soundly defeated up-and-coming Carthage, 6-0, here at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium Friday night. The win keeps Kilgore unbeaten in District 16-4A, 5-0.
Both Kilgore boys and the Lady Bulldogs were to host Waskom Tuesday night, after the deadline for this print edition of the News Herald (Waskom has no junior varsity teams). On Friday, it’s the same situation at Spring Hill: no JV, so varsity girls will play at 5 p.m., and varsity boys to follow, around 7.
For Jett, it’s been a grind, but he’s allowing like no one to score. He has 10 shutouts this season, Wait said, and four shutouts in the five district games that have been played. Jett has only allowed one goal in district play, and that came in a 3-1 home win over Spring Hill.
Kilgore led Carthage 1-0 at halftime, but it wasn’t like Carthage didn’t have opportunities: the “other” Bulldogs had three solid shots on goal, including a long one that ricocheted off the football goalpost crossbar.
The offense broke free with five second-half goals. In all, Elivan Torres scored twice. John Hinojos, Elian Torres, Raul Cedillo and Gavino Baldoza each had a goal.
Kilgore 9, Carthage 0 (girls): Coach Heidi Hagan has a bit of a banged-up team – her Lady Bulldogs had to go to Carthage without tall Tori Shipman, out with an injury for a few games.
The Lady ‘Dogs rolled anyway, another shutout. Kilgore’s girls are 5-0 in district as well, and have also allowed just one goal, ironically in a 3-1 game against Spring Hill, just like Kilgore’s boys.
But Kilgore’s girls are blasting people right and left. The Lady ‘Dogs have outscored district opponents 31-1 in the five games, and in the last three, they’ve outscored their opponents 21-0.
Kaitlyn Word, the Lady ‘Dogs’ senior leading scorer, shined yet again, this time with four goals. Leslie Bennett, Tianna Holland, and Kylie Nichols each scored as well, and Nichols had two assists. Ashley Castillo had an assist, as well.
Hagan has said she’s hopeful that Shipman will return for the playoffs.