For most of the night, it wasn’t your average, run-of-the-mill, typical Kilgore-Pine Tree football game.
But it ended the same way – or at least, with a similar score.
The Bulldogs had some funny bounces along the way, but ultimately took care of business, sending Pine Tree home with a 64-28 loss. That’s Kilgore’s 20th straight win in the series since a tie in 1993 (they haven’t played every year since then), and moves the Ragin’ Red to 3-0 this season. It was also homecoming for the Bulldogs, who will be back at home again next week to host Texas High.
The 64 points was the most scored in a game by a Kilgore team since a first-round playoff drubbing of Huffman Hargrave in the 2015 season, at Lufkin (Kilgore scored 62 in that one). It was also the most points scored by Pine Tree in a game against Kilgore since they scored 25 in 1998. The Pirates haven’t beaten Kilgore since 1990.
And things never really got out of hand in Pine Tree’s favor here on Friday; the Pirates just got a few good bounces, like a tipped-ball interception, and a Kilgore fumble at the Bulldogs’ own 1-yard-line.
Still, the Bulldogs finished with roughly 450 rushing yards, a 43-yard touchdown pass from Patrick Jackson to Jonathan Shepherd, a 144-yard, three-touchdown night from tailback Briant Mumphrey, and a 164-yard performance by tailback Nick Hooper on just four carries.
Kilgore defensive end Demorrea Richardson had a whale of a night, with three sacks and also scored a 4-yard touchdown in the Bulldogs’ power running package.
Kilgore appeared to have scored a safety on a blocked punt early in the game, blocked by Daniel Sifford, but officials ruled someone for KHS offsides, and nullified the score. Kilgore got the ball after the real punt, and scored in three plays, a 15-yard run by Mumphrey. Kicker Elivan Torres hit the first of eight extra points (he went 8-of-9 ) and gave the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead with 9:06 left in the opening quarter.
Pine Tree quarterback Wade Seidel managed to do something that not many PT quarterbacks have done in recent years: he guided the Pirates (0-3) on a scoring drive against Kilgore early in the game. Seidel connected with Da’Von Coleman on an 18-yard pass to Kilgore’s 12, and three plays later, big Keshon Williams, a former Kilgore ISD student, scored on a 5-yard run, tying the contest.
An onside kick attempt by the Pirates failed, and Kilgore wound up with the ball at midfield, although the ‘Dogs had to eventually punt. Pine Tree did, too, on a defensive stand by Kilgore, but after Hooper got KHS to Pine Tree’s 34 on a 22-yard gain, Jackson had his pass tipped, and picked off by PT’s Micah Gibson.
The Bulldogs finally ended the frustration on their next offensive possession, as Hooper, behind a good Kilgore offensive line of Coby Slayter, Austin Adams, Braden Grush, McKinnon White and Logan Greenberg, reeled off a 30-yard run. Two plays later, Kilgore sent its big backfield package in, including Richardson, and he got the call, bowling his way into the end zone for a 4-yard score.
Kilgore finally got that safety on the next PT possession when a punt was bobbled in the end zone, giving the Bulldogs a 15-7 lead, and KHS tacked on one more touchdown with 3:48 left, a 43-yard pass from Jackson to Shepherd.
The very first play from scrimmage of the second half was a 72-yard run by Mumphrey for another Kilgore touchdown, just 25 seconds into the half, and Kilgore went up 29-7. Kilgore added another very quickly after Damien Parker picked off a pass by Seidel. The Bulldogs got a 39-yard run by Jackson, down to PT’s 6, and Ja’Vorie Hamilton did the honors from there, a 6-yard rushing score.
Pine Tree took a little air out of Kilgore fans’ sails with a 70-yard touchdown pass from Seidel to Coleman on the next Pirates’ drive, and then on a flukey play on the kickoff, the ball was bobbled, and ultimately fumbled away to Pine Tree, with the Pirates recovering at Kilgore’s 1-yard-line. Williams bulled into the end zone for his second touchdown of the night, and suddenly things were looking interesting, with the Pirates down by 15, 36-21.
That’s as close as it got. Pine Tree tried and appeared to have recovered an onside kick after scoring the touchdown, but officials ruled the Pirates hit the ball before it went 10 yards, and Kilgore took possession. Four plays later and Jaiden Zackery had scored on a 19-yard run on an option pitch from Jackson. Kilgore led 42-21.
Richardson had back-to-back sacks on Pine Tree’s next possession, and when Kilgore got the ball back at the Pirates’ 35, Hooper had a 23-yard run, and then Hamilton scored again, with 4:01 left.
Seidel threw his second touchdown pass of the night, this one to Trey Pruitt from 20 yards out, for the Pirates’ last hurrah, and then Kilgore would score twice more, both in the fourth quarter: a 1-yard run by Mumphrey and a 15-yard run by Devondrick Crowe.
For Kilgore, Hooper had the 164-yard night, just couldn’t get into the end zone. Mumphrey scored three, with 144 yards on seven carries. Hamilton had only 14 yards but scored twice. Shepherd had the 43-yard touchdown catch from Jackson. Zackery finished with 57 yards and a score, and Crowe the one carry late for a score. Richardson had the short TD in the first half.
Seidel was 10-of-22 for 151 yards, two touchdowns and the interception. Coleman had five catches for 111 yards and the score, and Pruitt had two catches for 26 yards and a score.
Jaylen Johnson led PT with 66 yards rushing. Adrian Taylor had 55, and Williams had 24, and two scores.