Kilgore football

The 2020 football season got a facelift on Thursday with the announcement that longtime rivals Kilgore and Carthage will meet here at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium for the season opener on Aug. 28. Kilgore was to open at Nacogdoches that day, but the change was made because the UIL placed 6A and 5A schools on a delay, for cautionary measures for the COVID-19 virus. (File photo by DENNIS JACOBS)

Kilgore football fans, your new COVID-proof football schedule is out.

And it’s a doozy.

When the University Interscholastic League announced earlier this week that only 6A and 5A schools would see a delay in fall sports – and that Class 4A and down could start on time – Kilgore wasn’t restricted, because the Bulldogs are 4A.

But in a roundabout way, Kilgore was restricted, as well, because the Bulldogs’ first three games were at Nacogdoches, at home against Hallsville, and at Pine Tree — all 5A schools, who couldn’t play those dates due to the new delay.

KHS Athletic Director and head football coach Mike Wood got to work immediately, and the results are amazing.

Kilgore will now have just one scrimmage, and it’ll be Thursday night, August 20, here at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium against Kaufman, a Kilgore playoff opponent from a few years back.

And then business picks up.

The season opener will be here on Friday, August 28, against none other than Carthage. Carthage and Kilgore, of course, have been rivals for decades, met in a state championship game in fall 2013, and were district rivals the last few years before the UIL’s bi-annual realignment separated them this year. There was to be no Kilgore-Carthage meeting this year for the first time in about a decade.

But that’s changed, with this announcement. That’s a big-money opener for both schools, one that’s sure to excite fans.

The second game will also be here at R.E. St. John, and it’ll be against Terrell, a program Kilgore hasn’t faced since a playoff win over the Tigers in 2003. That game will be played Sept. 4, in effect replacing the Kilgore-Hallsville game.

The third game, and final change to the schedule, will be at Alvarado on Sept. 11, a city south of Fort Worth.

From there, the remainder of the schedule is the same. The Bulldogs will host Gladewater on Sept. 18, and that’s Kilgore’s homecoming for the 2020 season. The final non-district game of the season is at Palestine on Sept. 25.

The Ragin’ Red will take an open date on Oct. 2, and then start their district slate for the year. The district opener will be against Mabank, here at R.E. St. John, on Oct. 9. Mabank and Kilgore have not been district rivals; Mabank was put in the district in the realignment, when Van and Carthage were moved out.

A trip to Chapel Hill is slated for Oct. 16, and then the annual rivalry game with Henderson a week later, here at home on Oct. 23. Kilgore visits Athens on Oct. 30, and then rounds out the regular season with another new district rival, a home game against Lindale, on Nov. 6.

Practice begins for KHS on Aug. 3.

Kilgore volleyball also had to modify its schedule somewhat, but not as radically as football. The Lady Bulldogs, coached by Madeline Harris (last year’s coach of the year in her district), were to play the two Tyler schools in their first three games.

Now, Kilgore visits Tatum on Aug. 7. That’s not listed as a scrimmage, but the next two items (Aug. 8 here, with no opponent listed, and Aug. 11 here against Brownsboro) are listed as scrimmages.

As a part of the new schedule, Kilgore visits Rusk on Aug. 14, then has three straight home games against Harmony (Aug. 18), Gilmer (Aug. 21) and Sabine (Aug. 25).

The new schedules should both be posted on www.kisd.org.

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