To say the 2020 season didn’t end as the Kilgore High School soccer programs had hoped would be a drastic understatement.

It would be more accurate to say that the 2020 season just didn’t end.

Both Kilgore teams were as dominant as they have been in the last decade in district play last year, running through it like a hot knife through butter. Both were on track to wrap up district championships, and start the UIL Class 4A playoffs on a tear.

And then, COVID, which put a stop to seemingly everything for months.

So, there was no regional tournament appearance, no trip to the state tournament in Georgetown, no real conclusion of the 2020 high school soccer season. There’s no going back, but both the Bulldogs’ soccer squads are ready to go this season, and while it’s much to early to make plans for Georgetown in April, there is optimism.

The Bulldogs, coached by Tom Wait, open their season as a part of a tournament at Pine Tree next Thursday, Jan. 7.

Kilgore plays Whitehouse in the first game that day at 9 a.m., and then plays Hallsville later that day at 5. On Friday, Jan. 8, KHS plays Nacogdoches at 1 p.m., then Pine Tree at 7. And next Saturday, Jan. 9, the ‘Dogs play Palestine at 3 p.m.

The following week, Jan. 14-16, Kilgore plays in Palestine as a part of another tournament.

Coach Todd BonDurant’s Lady Bulldogs will open the season right here at home at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium with a three-day, 10-team tournament that begins next Thursday, January 7.

Kilgore plays the midday game that day at 1:30 p.m. against Lindale, but the tournament begins with Chapel Hill meeting Carthage at 9. Pleasant Grove faces Sulphur Springs at 10:30; Nacogdoches meets Hallsville at noon; Kilgore-Lindale at 1:30; Tyler Legacy plays Chapel Hill at 3; Sulphur and Nac at 4:30, and then the Lady Bulldogs play Abilene Wylie in the final game of the night, a 6 p.m. start.

On Friday, Jan. 8, Wylie faces Legacy at 9; Hallsville and Pleasant Grove meet at 10:30; Kilgore plays Chapel Hill at noon; Nac plays Carthage at 1:30; Pleasant Grove and Lindale play at 3; Wylie faces Sulphur at 4:30; and Legacy plays Hallsville in the nightcap at 6.

Wylie and Hallsville open the tournament’s final day next Saturday, Jan. 9, at 9 a.m. Pleasant Grove and Carthage play at 10:30. Lindale faces Nac at noon. Kilgore plays Legacy at 1:30. Chapel Hill plays Sulphur at 3, and Carthage meets Lindale at 4:30.

There’s also a junior varsity division of the tournament, to be played on the grass field at the high school campus. Kilgore’s JV plays at 9 a.m. Thursday against Nac, then at 3 p.m. Thursday against PG. They’ll play once next Friday, at 9 a.m. against Chapel Hill, and once on Saturday, against Hallsville at noon.

After the tournament, the Lady Bulldogs play at Longview on Monday, Jan. 11, a 5 p.m. JV start, with varsity afterward.

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