Kilgore’s soccer teams had a split decision on Friday night in their final games before the District 16-4A schedule begins, and that’s now home games on Thursday.
It was a Kilgore-Palestine series, with the boys playing at Wildcat Stadium and the girls game here at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium. That’s a lot of soccer firepower: both Kilgore and Palestine boys programs have won state titles in the last few years, and Kilgore’s Lady Bulldogs have been to the state tournament twice, as well.
In the end, a tie, so to speak: the Bulldogs lost in Palestine, 2-1, and the Lady Bulldogs defeated Palestine here, ironically also 2-1.
District 16-4A play was to begin at Sabine on Tuesday, with both KHS teams playing there. But the weather had other ideas, and now those games will be here Thursday night at R.E. St. John, starting with the varsity girls at 5 p.m. and the varsity boys will follow.
Those Cardinals and Lady Cardinals have looked pretty solid in non-district play, too.
On Friday, Kilgore will play its second district games at Gladewater, starting with the varsity girls at 5, and the boys will follow.
Palestine 2, Kilgore 1 (boys): In Palestine last Friday, the Wildcats and Kilgore – two regular playoff opponents – locked up in a good one. Palestine scored about 10 minutes in on a free kick, but not without work. Kilgore’s Karson Offerding made a clean point-blank save, coach Tom Wait said, “but we failed to clean it up,” Wait said. The Bulldogs were unable to clear the ball out, and the loose ball got into the goal for a 1-0 Wildcat lead.
Kilgore (10-4-3 this season so far) punched right back two minutes later. Wanya McIntyre, a difference-maker that opponents will have to game plan for in district play, scored on a header off a corner kick from teammate Luis Martinez, making it 1-1 all.
The go-ahead goal was scored by the Wildcats with about 15 minutes left, a quick shift shot, Wait said, just past the outstretched hands of Offerding.
Kilgore had a couple of opportunities to tie it up again, but ran out of time. Wait said he was pleased with what he saw in the last tune-up.
“Overall, we played up to our potential and looked like a team with a mission,” he said. “Had the advantage most of the game.”
Kilgore 2, Palestine 1 (girls): At home last Friday, there was another battle ongoing, and Kilgore would take it, although the Lady Bulldogs still weren’t at full strength.
“We were still missing some players,” said coach Todd BonDurant, in his first season at Kilgore. “We came together and did well.”
Emma Taylor, Kilgore’s leading scorer, put the ball in the goal on a free kick, and then before the half, Kilgore got another goal, this time from Maliyah Holland. Palestine did score, but couldn’t tie it up.
BonDurant, a longtime East Texas soccer coach at programs (like Spring Hill) that have given Kilgore fits in the past, joined the good guys this summer, when KISD hired him to replace former coach Heidi Hagan, who led KHS to two state tournament appearances.
BonDurant has the Lady Bulldogs running on full steam, too – they were ranked fifth in Class 4A in last week’s Texas Girls Coaches Association poll, and are ranked 17th in the current poll (they lost a 1-0 decision to Henderson last week, right after the poll came out).
The Lady ‘Dogs are 9-2-2 prior to the visit to Sabine.