BLASTED! | Kilgore blows by Chapel Hill, 41-20

·5 min read

Oct. 16—The first windy night of the season caught some fans a bit off guard Friday here at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium — but there was no surprise that in the battle of the Bulldogs, it was Kilgore that proved to be up for the challenge.

Coach Clint Fuller's Kilgore Bulldogs held off the Chapel Hill version, 41-20, and remained unbeaten in District 9-4A, Division I in the process.

The Ragin' Red (6-1 overall, 3-0 in district play) will be on the short trip down Highway 259 next Friday night for their annual clash with archrival Henderson.

Two regular season games remain after that: a home date with Athens on Oct. 29, and a road trip to Lindale on Nov. 5.

For what rankings are worth at this point of the season, Kilgore is ranked sixth in the state in the Dave Campbell's Texas Football poll, among UIL Class 4A schools.

Jermaine Roney blocked two field goals and caught a 33-yard touchdown pass from Da'Marion Van Zandt, who had two touchdown passes; Davin Rider had a quick-estimate 220 rushing yards and three touchdowns, including a 66-yarder; P.J. Wiley scored on a 24-yard pass from Van Zandt; Chris Ervin had a sack and an onside kick recovery; and Chris McGhee had a sack that led to a fumble recovery in the end zone for a touchdown by Peyton Christian, who added a sack late in the game.

It was somewhat of a wild first half, with some crazy bounces, and a big dose of Davin Rider.

Chapel Hill's very first play was a run that yielded 31 yards, all the way down to Kilgore's 18-yard-line, but Kilgore's defense stiffened up. Jacob Caruthers knocked the ball free from Chapel Hill's freshman quarterback, Demetrius Brisbone, and that forced the Bulldogs in yellow to kick a field goal. They did, and took a 3-0 lead with not quite two minutes off the first-quarter clock.

Kilgore put together a quick seven-play, 75-yard drive of its own, with Da'Marion Van Zandt completing passes to Dadrian Franklin, Rider, and finally, P.J. Wiley, who caught a pass near his own sidelines, made a brilliant spin move and raced into the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown. Chris Baldazo's extra point gave the Bulldogs — the Ragin' Red ones — a 7-3 advantage.

Jermaine Roney kept it 7-3 with a fantastic off-the-edge block of a field goal attempt. Chapel Hill got inside Kilgore's 10, to the 6-yard-line, but again stalled out, and Chris Ervin sacked Brisbon. The Chapel Hill coaching staff elected to send out Adolfo Tamayo for another field goal attempt. Roney said 'nope,' and smacked it down to the turf.

A series later, Jose Jaime, Kilgore's punter, had his best kick of the season. With the wind at Jaime's back, the punt sailed over the Chapel Hill returner for a 62-yard punt. Kilgore downed it at the Chapel Hill 6.

And disaster struck for CHHS three plays later. On third and 5, Kilgore's Chris McGee popped Brisbon, as he ran along his own goal line, and the ball came loose. A slew of Bulldog defenders were around and it appeared it was Peyton Christian who fell on the loose ball for the touchdown. Officials conferred briefly, and the touchdown was made official. Baldazo's point after made it 14-3 KHS, with 11:51 left in the half.

Chapel Hill's next possession ended in — believe it or not — another blocked field goal attempt by Roney, this one from 41 yards. Roney only tipped the ball, but got just enough of it to knock it to the turf.

Chapel Hill did get a field goal, finally, when Tamayo hit one from close yardage (21 yards), but Kilgore answered with a 66-yard run by Rider, giving the Bulldogs (Kilgore version) a 21-6 lead at the half.

Chapel Hill's Bulldogs went three-and-out on their first series of the second half, and Kilgore's did not: Van Zandt found Franklin, who made a spectacular catch for a 25-yard gain, and KHS would score on the drive, an 11-yard run by Rider. That put Kilgore up, 28-6.

Then, in shades of the 2020 game where Chapel Hill wouldn't go away, Brisbon and teammate Ilonzo McGregor hooked up on a pair of pass plays, the second for a 19-yard touchdown with just over a minute left in the third quarter. The extra point left Kilgore in front, 28-13.

Rider took the mystery out of that. After a good return by Roney to midfield, the Kilgore offensive line parted Chapel Hill's like the Red Sea on the first play of the drive, and Rider bolted for a 46-yard touchdown. The point after snap didn't allow for the kick, and left KHS in front still, 34-13.

The Brisbon-to-McGregor connection happened again, all the way down to Kilgore's 7, a 46-yard pass on the first play of the fourth quarter. Zaelen Matthews and Ervin derailed them for a play, a big loss on a run play, but then Brisbon hit McGregor again for a 23-yard score. With the bulk of the fourth quarter left — 10:49 of it, to be exact — Chapel Hill was within two touchdowns, 34-20.

Kilgore got the ball back, and on third and 11, needing to both convert for a first down and run clock, Van Zandt completed a pass to Matthew Tyeskie, a huge completion all the way to Kilgore's 47. And the clock kept moving.

Doses of Rider ensued, keeping the clock rolling. And then, one more dose of the spectacular: a 33-yard touchdown pass on fourth down, to Roney, of course, with 6:10 left to give the Ragin' Red a 41-20 advantage, the eventual final score.

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