Could Kilgore be in for a long playoff run?
If first-round results are any indication, maybe so. Splendora would probably agree.
The Ragin’ Red put on a show Friday night at home, with Donovan Adkins scoring three touchdowns, Tray Epps scoring twice, Cade Pippen catching one for good measure, and a dominating defensive performance thrown in, adding up to a 42-0 victory over the Wildcats in the UIL Class 4A, Division I playoffs Friday night.
Kilgore (8-3), winners of six of its last seven games, will face El Campo in the second round, Friday at Sheldon ISD Stadium in Houston, at 7 p.m. El Campo beat Houston Yates, 63-6, Friday night.
When ticket information is available, it will be posted here, and likely on the Kilgore High School Facebook page, as well as any decision about taking a fan bus to the game.
Dalton McElyea connected with Adkins for two touchdown passes. Adkins had a 58-yard punt return. Epps had two touchdown runs and Pippen had a 3-yard TD catch from McElyea. Kilgore’s defense held Splendora not just in check, but didn’t even allow many trips into Kilgore territory. The Ragin’ Red defense held Splendora to 129 total yards.
Matthew Tyeskie had his best game for KHS this season, making two catches for 83 yards that both set up touchdowns, and Jermaine Roney had a couple of key catches. Kilgore scored just once in the second half, the TD catch by Pippen, but Ken Anderson came on for Epps in the second half to keep the Bulldogs’ running game going.
It was Kilgore’s first playoff game at home since 2003, a second-round win over Terrell.
Splendora must not have had great belief in its chances to beat Kilgore: the Wildcats opened the game with an onside kick. They did recover it, at Kilgore’s 47-yard-line – and managed 1 yard on three plays. They faked a punt, which fell incomplete, and Kilgore took over on downs.
The Bulldogs drove 54 yards in eight plays, and scored on a 1-yard run by Tray Epps, who also had a 23-yard run to get the Bulldogs in scoring position.
After Kilgore’s defense held Splendora to another 1-yard drive, the Wildcats punted – right to Adkins, who scooped it off the turf and returned it for a 58-yard touchdown, giving Kilgore a 14-0 lead, still in the first quarter.
It would increase.
A 20-yard pass from McElyea to Tyeskie got the Ragin’ Red to Splendora’s 15, and two plays later, Adkins had his second touchdown of the night, a fade from McElyea to Adkins for a 13-yard score. Chris Baldazo was good on his third extra point and Kilgore’s lead upped to 21-0. Baldazo hit all six extra points in the game.
At the end of the first quarter, Kilgore’s defense had held Splendora to 27 yards.
The Adkins Show took a brief commercial break for the end of the quarter, and then returned – to score on a 49-yard pass play from McElyea to Adkins, who caught the ball at about the Splendora 14 and outran his coverage to the end zone, and gave the Ragin’ Red a 28-0 lead.
On Splendora’s next series, running back Zane Obregon ran into the linebacking law firm of Caruthers & Rider – Eli Caruthers and Davin Rider – and was thrown for a 3-yard loss. Obregon converted on a 3-yard fourth down play just after that, but the Wildcats ended up in fourth and long, and punted, just a 24-yard punt.
The defense did its job, and then the offense did ITS job, again. Tyeskie, on another big play, hauled in a pass from McElyea and took it 54 yards, all the way to Splendora’s 11. Jermaine Roney picked up 9 yards on the next two plays, and then Epps took it in on a 2-yard run. Baldazo’s kick put Kilgore in front, 35-0, and that was the score at the half.
Splendora came out firing in the second half, with a 28-yard completion to Colby Frazier, but the Bulldogs forced them off when the Wildcats failed to convert on fourth down, courtesy of a tackle for loss on Harrison Fusco by Kilgore’s Brian Brown.
Kilgore took over at its own 46, and slowed the pace a bit, running off some clock with the large score margin already. Corey Rider hauled in a 14-yard pass to keep the drive alive on third down, and Ken Anderson picked up 23 yards, then Roney 21 yards to set up a touchdown, a 3-yard pass from McElyea to Pippen, who only had to punt once all night. Baldazo’s kick made it 42-0 Kilgore, with 7:45 left in the third – that was the final score, as it turned out.
Collectively, Kilgore only ran for 75 yards as a team, with Epps finishing with 41 yards on seven carries, but he scored twice. Anderson had 34 yards on 10 carries.
McElyea went 13-of-14 for 214 yards, very efficient. Jason Silvey came on late, and completed the only pass he threw, to tight end Jacobe Weick.
Tyeskie had the two catches for 84 yards. Adkins had two, both for scores, for 62 yards. Pippen had three for 19 yards, including the jump-ball touchdown. Corey Rider had two catches for 19 yards, and Roney had two for 18 yards.
Epps had one for 9 yards, and Brian Brown, one for 6.
Baldazo was 5-for-5 in extra points and missed a 43-yard field goal, late in the game.
Defensively, Chris Ervin had seven tackles, six solo. Chavez had five, two for loss, a forced fumble, and two quarterback hurries. Caruthers had five tackles, as well, and a hurry.
Davin Rider had a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery. Kaden Kenney had two hurries and a tackle for loss. Daveton Franklin had two pass break-ups.
Kilgore held Splendora to 54 rushing yards.