Kilgore defensive lineman Deundre Blanton made a pretty solid impression on the coaches in District 9-4A, Division I, solid enough that they voted him the district’s defensive newcomer of the year.
Blanton and several of his Kilgore teammates were honored this week with the release of the 9-4A, DI All-District team, selected by the coaches.
Blanton, a sophomore, had 68 tackles, 41 solo tackles, six for loss, five sacks, caused a fumble and had six quarterback hurries, a key member of a good Bulldogs’ defense under coach Les Loper. Blanton also had a memorable touchdown catch in the playoffs from quarterback Patrick Jackson against Little Cypress-Mauriceville.
Jackson picked up a little hardware of his own. Buddy was named specialist of the year for KHS, and Isaiah Smith was named utility player of the year.
Bulldogs named first-team all district were running back Briant Mumphrey, wide receiver Jonathan Shepherd, fullback Daniel Sifford, offensive linemen Austin Adams and McKinnon White, brothers Elivan Torres (kicker) and Elian Torres (punter), defensive lineman Tyriek Mumphrey, defensive end Demorrea Richardson, linebackers Sebastian Mumphrey, Nesba Brown and Damien Parker.
KHS players named second-team all-district were Patrick Jackson at quarterback, running back Javorie Hamilton, tight end Bucky Duke, wide receiver Deiontrae Wheat, offensive lineman Braden Grush, and defensive end Octavian McKee.
Kilgore had honorable mentions, too: fullback Michael French, offensive lineman Coby Slayter, and defensive tackle Byron Templeton.
Several members of the Ragin’ Red were also honored for their work in the classroom, for stellar academic performances. Austin Adams was named Texas High School Coaches Association All-State Elite, a difficult achievement to accomplish. Braden Grush and McKinnon White were named THSCA All-State honorable mentions.
Also, Adams, Grush and White were named academic All-District, and so were Davondrick Crowe, Jacob Lucas, Morgan Peek, Tristan Shaffer, Shepherd, Slayter, Josh Smith, Kaleb Tarpley and Gus Witt.
So not every Bulldog was honored – these and more will be honored at the annual football banquet next Thursday night – but the ones named here are several reasons why Kilgore’s program is so successful. The Bulldogs finished the season 9-4, in the third round of the UIL Class 4A playoffs.
Other superlatives on the all-district team this year: Carthage running back Keaontay Ingram was named overall 9-4A, DI most valuable player; Henderson quarterback Trae Hall was named offensive MVP; Carthage linebackers Mykel Gates and Ahmad Brown were named co-defensive MVPs; Chapel Hill sophomore quarterback Khalan Griffin was named offensive newcomer; and Carthage coach Scott Surratt was named coach of the year.
Jackson finished with 1,220 total yards on the season – 1,009 rushing yards and 811 passing yards. He accounted for 20 total touchdowns: 11 rushing, nine passing. He completed 50-of-102 passes and only threw one interception in 2017.
Briant Mumphrey led the Bulldogs in several rushing categories: carries (163), yards (1,461), and touchdowns (20). Shepherd led Kilgore in catches (18), receiving yards (405), yards per catch (22.5), and touchdown catches (five).
The Bulldogs’ offensive line helped them roll up 4,363 rushing yards and 5,174 yards of total offense.
Kilgore’s defense allowed 4,507 total yards in the ’17 season (346 a game). On 138 opponents’ offensive possessions, they forced 39 three-and-outs (not allowing a first down).
Tickets for the Bulldogs’ postseason banquet are on sale now at the KHS athletic department office on campus. They’re $20. The banquet is this coming Thursday, Jan. 18, at 6 p.m. at the ballroom of the Devall Center on the Kilgore College campus.