HALLSVILLE – Two games against bigger-classification schools, two wins for the Kilgore Bulldogs to open the 2019 season.
And in this one, there was no late comeback needed.
Kilgore capitalized on Hallsville turnovers, and the offensive line of Calvin Woodside, C.J. Brown, Brayden Johnson, Josh Flores, and Devin Coleman, controlled the line of scrimmage for the Bulldogs in a 48-24 win Friday night at Bobcat Stadium. Kilgore’s Kennieth Lacy rushed for 204 yards and four touchdowns, one short of tying a record for touchdowns in a game held by several Bulldogs.
Trey Epps finished with 164 yards and two scores. Kentrell Roy and Omarion Smith came in for carries in the second half. Roy added 76 yards and Smith was primarily used in short-yardage situations. Still, Kilgore finished with 439 rushing yards.
Kilgore (2-0) will host Pine Tree for the first home game of the season next Friday night. Pine Tree surprised Kilgore by beating the Ragin’ Red last year, the Pirates’ first win in the series since 1990.
Leading 34-17 at the half, KHS running back Trey Epps started the second half with a bang, a 63-yard touchdown on the very first play from scrimmage in the half to give KHS a 41-17 lead, and after several Hallsville miscues, created largely by Kilgore’s improved defense, that would be the score at the end of the third quarter.
One of the most impressive plays of the game was the first one of the fourth quarter, an 18-yard pass from quarterback Dalton McElyea to Donovan Adkins – the same duo that hooked up for the game-winner last week at Nacodgoches. McElyea threaded the needle for the touchdown between two Hallsville defenders.
Hallsville’s Carter Rogas and receiver Brian Pullum connected for a 49-yard touchdown pass – after it appeared the play clock reset to 40 seconds when it reached 3 – to pull the Bobcats within 24 points, 48-24, the eventual final score.
It was a frenetically-paced first half, both teams committing mistakes and both missing opportunities.
Pullam caught a pass from Rogas and picked up 14 yards on Hallsville’s first play from scrimmage, and then on the very next play, Tre Fulton broke free for a 37-yard touchdown run for the Bobcats.
And that was just the beginning.
Kilgore claimed the ball and scored in four plays, the first of Lacy’s host of touchdowns: a 54-yarder opened by the offensive line. Jose Jaime’s extra point looked partially blocked, and left Kilgore down by a point, 7-6, but with less than three minutes gone off the clock.
Rogas connected with Nolan Sirmons for a 42-yard gain, deep into Kilgore territory, but as Fulton was crossing the goal line a couple of plays later, he lost the handle on the ball and a host of Kilgore defenders fell on it for a touchback. It would be the first of a series of turnovers by the Bobcats.
Kilgore’s punch number two, Trey Epps, broke free for a 34-yard gain to Hallsville’s 46, Lacy had a run for 23 yards, and ultimately scored from 12 yards out with four minutes left in the first quarter. Jaime was good on the extra point and Kilgore claimed a 13-7 lead.
Hallsville fumbled the kickoff, and Kilgore recovered, but lost yardage on penalties and a sack. Both offenses sputtered a bit, Kilgore also turning the ball over on a handoff, and the Bobcats got points out of that one, courtesy of a 37-yard field goal by Buck Buchanan. The Bobcats trailed by three, 13-10, just into the second quarter.
Kilgore would get three more touchdowns before halftime: a 48-yard touchdown by Lacy, a 14-yard run by Epps, and then a 36-yard run by Lacy, with Jaime good on all the extra points. Kilgore took a somewhat-exhausting 34-17 lead into the half.
McElyea, in just his second-ever start on varsity after connecting with Adams to beat Nacogdoches in week one, finished 6-of-8 for 66 yards and another touchdown to Adams.
Cade Pippen had a big catch for 31 yards, his first of the season. Adkins had the 18-yard TD. Bobby Owens had a catch for 5 yards. Brian Brown had two for 10 yards, and Ramirez had one for 2 yards.
Jaime finished 4-of-5 in extra point attempts and punted just twice, an average of 35 yards.
Defensively was where Brown really stood out. He had an interception and also had 14 tackles, a game high. Sam Witt and Jayce McFarland each had six. Zack Williams had five.
Kaden Thrower, Kentravious Anderson and Brantley Propes each had a fumble recovery. Anderson, Propes and Deundre Blanton each had a sack.
The Bulldogs held Hallsville to 300 total yards and 15 first downs.
Pine Tree, next week's opponent, will be coming off a loss: in a battle of the Pirates, PT lost their homecoming game to Pittsburg.