Soccer season is now officially under way, and tournament play is keeping the Kilgore High School and Sabine High teams busy as the season begins.

Kilgore High School’s Bulldogs officially opened the 2023 season in the Pine Tree Tournament, and did so by running the table, going through the tournament field without a loss or a tie.

Coach Tom Wait’s Bulldogs took down Lindale, 3-0, beat Pine Tree, 4-1, topped Athens, 5-1, then finished the event with a 5-0 win over Hallsville.

To top that off, the Bulldogs got a little “football revenge” with a 3-0 win over Chapel Hill (the team that knocked KHS out of the football playoffs) on Monday night, in Chapel Hill.

The ‘Dogs are set to play once again in the annual Palestine tournament this week. In fact, they’ll open that tournament on Thursday against Athens at 10 a.m.

KHS didn’t face Palestine in the PT tourney, the way things were dummied out, but Palestine also went unbeaten in that event, and has been arguably the Bulldogs’ biggest soccer rival in the last decade.

Kilgore has outscored its opponents 20-2 so far this season.

The Bulldogs’ first home game is Jan. 27 against Carthage – that’s also the first district game.

Kilgore’s Lady Bulldogs, coached by Todd BonDurant, went 1-1 in their own tournament here at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium over the weekend.

The Lady ‘Dogs took down Lufkin, 1-0, but lost to Jacksonville, 4-0.

Kilgore continues tournament play the next couple of weekends, all in Longview in two different tournaments.

This week, they’re in a tournament hosted by Pine Tree High School. On Thursday, the Lady ‘Dogs take on Longview High at noon at Pine Tree’s Pirate Stadium. On Friday, they’ll get a rematch with Jacksonville, this time at Lear Park in Longview at noon. And on Saturday, they’ll face host-team Pine Tree, back at Pirate Stadium, at 2 p.m.

Next weekend, they’re in the Longview High tournament, and open that on Thursday, Jan. 19 at 5 p.m. at Lobo Stadium against Fossil Ridge.

The Lady ‘Dogs are back home at R.E. St. John on Jan. 24 against Tyler Legacy.

Sabine: The Sabine Cardinals hosted a tournament for the first time in program history last weekend on campus at James Bamberg Stadium, all 3A and 2A teams, and all on Thursday and Saturday.

Sabine beat Carlisle, 7-1, and in that game, freshman Jesus Duran went nuts, scoring four goals. Sophomores Alec Gonzalez, Randy Rodriguez and Juan Gonzalez each scored a goal.

Senior co-captain Cam Childress had two assists, along with Juan Ortega and Jovany Jaimes and freshman Yael Acosta each contributing an assist.

Sabine beat Grand Saline, 2-1, in a game that coach Wayne Borden said was tough and physical. Childress scored both of Sabine’s goals in the game.

In the Cardinals’ third game, they routed Kemp, 7-0. Duran had three more goals, and others were scored by senior Uriel Sifuentes, junior Kevin Maldonado, and sophomores Ortega and Alec Gonzalez, who also had two assists. Childress, Rodriguez and Francisco “Panchio” Perez each had an assist.

Sabine wrapped up the tournament with a 9-0 win over Trinity, a 3A school. This time, it was Perez with the hat trick (three goals). Luke Kirkindoll, a junior and also a team co-captain, scored twice, with Rodriguez, Sifuentes, Jaimes and Maldonado each contributing a goal. Perez had three assists, as well, and Childress, Acosta and Rodriguez each had one.

Other teams in the tournament were Tatum, Mount Pleasant Chapel Hill, Tenaha, and Corrigan-Camden.

Sabine’s players on the all-tournament team were Duran (who scored seven goals), and Perez (three goals and four assists). The all-tournament team is voted on by the coaches in the tournament.

The Cardinals will be back in action this weekend in the Tatum Tournament. They’ll play Waskom Thursday at noon, Lufkin Hudson Friday at 10:30 a.m., and Cumberland Academy Saturday, also at 10:30.

Sabine’s girls played in a tournament at Southlake Carroll last weekend, losing a pair of games 6-0 each.

This weekend, the Lady Cardinals, coached by Heidi Hagan – who once guided Kilgore to a state tournament appearance – will play in a tournament in Bullard. Sabine will open that tournament on Thursday at 11:45 a.m. against North Lamar.

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Sports editor

Mitch Lucas is the sports editor for the Kilgore News Herald, and has been since June 1, 2002.