Maybe the tank was running a little toward empty as Kilgore welcomed Texas High to R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium on Friday night.
The Bulldogs went down early, 14-0, fought back to trail by three, and ultimately lost the homecoming game to the Tigers, 30-14, in a non-district game, Kilgore’s first loss of the season.
Kilgore (3-1) finishes out its non-district schedule at Pittsburg next Friday night, Sept. 27 – if early reports were correct, Pittsburg lost to Van, 7-0, on Friday.
After that, the Ragin’ Red will have an open date on Oct. 4, then begin the District 10-4A, Division I slate at home on Oct. 11 against Chapel Hill.
Texas High, up just 17-14 with just under four minutes to play, had a fourth-and-goal at Kilgore’s 1-yard-line and went for it – it appeared the quarterback, Rian Cellers, was down, but officials ruled Cellers scored. Oscar Hernandez booted the extra point and put T-High up by 10, with three and a half minutes left.
Kilgore turned the ball over on downs on its next possession, and then the Tigers punched in one more score, a 29-yard run by running back Tracy Cooper, to put the game away.
As well as Kilgore has played in its first three games (against Nacogdoches, Hallsville and Pine Tree), the Bulldogs just couldn’t get going Friday night.
The Bulldogs and Tigers played a low-scoring first half, with the Tigers keeping their offense mostly on the ground, with the combined efforts of Cellers and tailbacks Cooper and Tyrell Miller.
Texas High scored first, a 9-yard touchdown by Cooper, with 3:32 left in the first quarter, and then added a second touchdown, a 3-yard pass from Cellers to Colby Webster, at the halftime buzzer.
Kilgore allowed a field goal to Hernandez in the third quarter, with the Tigers going in front 17-0. The Bulldogs’ offense just didn’t look as in sync as it did in the three-overtime win over Pine Tree, but Kilgore got it together, put together a nice drive and finished it with points: a 24-yard touchdown pass from Dalton McElyea to Brian Brown, with 4:54 left in the third quarter.
After a stop by the Bulldogs’ defense, Kilgore scored again in just two plays, the second a 61-yard touchdown run by Trey Epps. That got KHS within three points, 17-14, with two minutes left in the third.
The teams traded possessions until midway through the fourth quarter, when Cellers scored his touchdown, and after that score, Kilgore’s offense ultimately turned the ball over on downs. The Tigers got that last touchdown from Cooper.
Cellers finished 10-of-16 for 82 yards and the second quarter touchdown to Webster. Cooper was the Tigers’ big gun, getting 250 yards rushing and two scores.
For Kilgore, McElyea finished 9-of-21 for 67 yards and the score to Brown. Kennieth Lacy had three catches for 15 yards, Billy Bell had two for 22 yards, Brown had the 24-yard touchdown catch, Crowe had two for 5 yards, and Epps had one, for no yards.
Epps had the huge touchdown run in the second half, and Lacy finished with 82 yards on 11 carries.