Can Kilgore duplicate last Friday’s exciting finish at Nacogdoches, a pass from quarterback Dalton McElyea to Donovan Adkins for the go-ahead score that beat the Dragons?
Most Kilgore fans probably hope it won’t be that close this Friday in Hallsville.
The Bulldogs escaped with a 17-14 win at Nac last Friday night, one of only a handful of games not delayed by lightning. McElyea and Adams’ connection was set up by a 48-yard kick return by Brian Brown, and after the touchdown pass, Kilgore still had to stop the Dragons – that was done, finally, when Kilgore’s Jayce McFarland picked off a pass by Nac’as Jake Smith.
It was a heart-stopping win, no question, and the Bulldogs look to double their win total Friday in Hallsville, a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. Hear it live on the radio, and online, courtesy of Ragin’ Red Broadcasting, on KDOK 105.3-FM, or on kdokradio.com. It’s the 38th year the crew has called Kilgore football.
If you’re going to the game, stop by the KHS athletic department office, now in the transportation building on campus, for tickets at a reduced price.
Kilgore and Hallsville were in the same district for many years, always a once-a-year event. But the teams played last year for the first time in quite some time. Hallsville got the upper hand last year, 20-10, the Bobcats’ first win over Kilgore since 2006. But Kilgore leads the overall series, 20-11-1.
Hallsville went 4-6 a year ago under coach Joe Drennon, but missed the playoffs completely with a 21-yard field goal (10-7). Nac got back in front with 1:37 left in the game, 14-10, but then made the mistake of kicking to Brown.
Brown got free and looked as if he might score, but was wrestled down at midfield. McElyea and Adkins connected, though, on the very first play from scrimmage, and then, leading 17-14, turned it over to the Bulldogs’ defense.
They did their job, badgering Smith and the Dragons until Smith finally committed the mistake Kilgore needed, the interception by McFarland that he just saved from hitting the turf. Kilgore knelt down on the game’s remaining seconds for the season-opening win.
McElyea, a junior in his first game as starting varsity quarterback for the Bulldogs, went 12-of-23 for 115 yards, a touchdown and a tipped ball that was intercepted.
Billy Bell and Brown each had three catches; Bell for 22 yards, Brown for 24. Devondrick Crowe had three catches for 19 yards. Sam Witt had one for 3 yards; McFarland had a catch at the line of scrimmage; and Adkins had the 47-yard game-winner.
Kilgore rushed for 120 yards, a combined effort by Lacy (50 yards and the score on 12 carries), Trey Epps (72 yards on 12 carries), and Witt (3 yards on a carry).
In addition to hitting the field goal, Baldazo hit both extra points he tried, and punted five times, an average of 38 yards a kick.
Defensively, Kilgore gave up just 210 total yards and just 57 rushing yards. Adkins led the way in the defensive secondary with 10 tackles, an interception and two pass break-ups.
Deundre Blanton had seven tackles and a sack. McFarland, Witt and Brown each had six tackles, and Kaden Kenney had five, and a sack.
Following the game Friday night at Hallsville, the Ragin’ Red will finally play a home game: Sept. 13, against Pine Tree. Pine Tree beat Kilgore last year for its first win over the Bulldogs in 28 seasons.
The rest of the Bulldogs’ non-district schedule has Texas High coming here Sept. 20, and a trip to Pittsburg on Sept. 27. After an open date Oct. 4, the Bulldogs begin their Class 4A, Division I, District 10 schedule with a home game against Chapel Hill.