Kilgore Dominates District Rival Chapel Hill 59-19 to Advance to Class 3A Division I Semifinals
TYLER -- It was cold and windy. And as it turned out, those were the perfect conditions for the Kilgore Bulldogs on Friday night.
Kilgore rushed for more than 500 yards as a team and used a couple of big plays on defense and special teams early that set the tone in its 59-19 rout of District 16-3A rival Chapel Hill in their Class 3A Division II Region II championship game at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.
The win launched Kilgore (13-0) into the state semifinals for the second consecutive year where it will meet the winner between Stephenville and Lubbock Cooper, who play Monday night in Abilene after inclement weather forced a postponement.
Kilgore head coach Mike Wood said if his team plays Stephenville, which would be a rematch of last season's semifinal, a verbal agreement is in place for the game to held at 2 p.m. next Saturday at Corsicana's Tiger Stadium.
With temperatures in the mid-20's and the wind chill approaching the teens, Kilgore leaned on its big offensive line and three-headed monster out of the backfield to defeat Chapel Hill (9-5) for the second time this season. Kilgore, which attempted just two passes on the night, ran for 510 yards in a dominant display of power and speed.
"We did what we do always," said Kilgore junior running back Kevrin Justice, who finished with a team-high 195 yards and three touchdowns. "We're Kilgore; we run the ball down your throat. And that's what we did tonight. The O-line did a great job getting on their blocks and staying on them and the running backs took care of the ball."
Senior running back Davieonta "JuJu" Brown also rushed for three touchdowns and ended his night with 102 yards on 15 carries. Quarterback Benny Colbert added 150 yards on only 11 rushing attempts, giving Kilgore three 100-yard rushers for the second consecutive week.
"We are fortunate to have two very good tailbacks and also have Benny at quarterback, who's a good athlete that can run the football," Wood said. "If you're going to run the football you've got to have more than one tailback. We've just gotten a little bit better at some of our reads and different things, and we were fortunate tonight."
Kilgore defeated Chapel Hill 42-25 in their regular-season matchup on Oct. 25. Chapel Hill fell behind 28-9 in that one before pulling to within 10 points in the fourth quarter. On Friday night, Kilgore breezed to a 31-6 halftime lead and never let up.
"Coach told us in the locker room (at halftime) and all through the week that we can't let up on this team because they have an explosive offense," Colbert said.
Kilgore, which had 17 rushing plays go for at least 10 yards on the night, scored on nine of its 11 possessions. The only two drives that didn't result in points were the final possessions of each half.
"They've been running over the top of people all year long," said Chapel Hill coach Thomas Sitton. "They have a great power running game and their O-line does a great job giving those backs a chance to hit the seams. We just couldn't stop them tonight."
Chapel Hill received the game's opening kickoff, and after a 21-yard run by senior running back Wesley Thompson moved the ball into Kilgore territory, Kilgore senior safety Stefun Tatum stepped in front of an Andrew Black pass and returned the interception 33 yards to the Chapel Hill 26.
Brown's 13-yard touchdown run on the second play of the series gave Kilgore the quick 7-0 lead. Black's pass on third-and-1 at his own 30 fell incomplete on the ensuing Chapel Hill possession, but instead of kicking it back to Kilgore, Black tried to pick up the first down with a fake punt but came up a half-yard short. Justice's 26-yard touchdown run on second down put Kilgore in front 14-0 less than five minutes into the game.
"We were just trying to come out and not leave any bullets in the gun," Sitton said. "Things didn't work out for us the way we wanted them to. It definitely kinda put us behind the eight-ball."
Chapel Hill regrouped and went on an 11-play, 80-yard scoring drive. Thompson's 4-yard touchdown run cut the deficit to 14-6 with 4:37 to play in the opening quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, Chapel Hill tried to catch Kilgore off-guard with a pop-up kick, but Kilgore's Jake Brantley made a diving grab at his own 48 to give his team excellent field position once again. After converting two third-and-short plays, Justice's 5-yard scoring run on first-and-goal gave Kilgore a 21-6 lead four seconds into the second quarter.
Chapel Hill went three-and-out on its next series, and Kilgore ate almost six minutes off the clock on the ensuing possession, extending its lead to 24-6 lead on a 26-yard field goal by Christian Galvan. Kilgore then attempted an onside kick and recovered at the Chapel Hill 41, which led to Brown's 20-yard touchdown with 2:47 until halftime.
"I was a little concerned about the weather conditions and worried about how the kids would come out of the locker room," Wood said. "I thought our kids came out ready to play and played fast. We were able to get some stops defensively and get some good field position on a bad night, and I think that had a lot to do with it."
Chapel Hill scored on its first two possessions of the second half -- a 20-yard pass from Black to Lex Heckel and Black's 77-yard bomb downfield to Blake Mayfield -- but both came after Kilgore touchdown runs by Justice and Brown. Black finished 12 of 28 for 268 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, while running for 32 yards on five attempts.
"Their kids play hard and their coaches did a great job," Sitton said of Kilgore. "We just didn't match their level of football tonight."
No. 2 Kilgore 59, Chapel Hill 19
Class 3A Division I Region II Final
Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium, Tyler
Kilgore 14 17 21 7 -- 59
Chapel Hill 6 0 13 0 -- 19
KIL--Davieonta "JuJu" Brown 13 run (Christian Galvan kick), 9:57.
KIL--Kevrin Justice 26 run (Galvan kick), 7:56.
CH--Wesley Thompson 4 run (kick failed), 4:37.
KIL--Justice 5 run (Galvan kick), 11:56.
KIL--FG Galvan 26, 5:03.
KIL--Brown 20 run (Galvan kick), 2:47.
KIL--Justice 2 run (Galvan kick), 9:20.
CH--Lex Heckel 20 pass from Andrew Black (pass failed), 7:25.
KIL--Brown 12 run (Galvan kick), 3:17.
CH--Blake Mayfield 77 pass from Black (Johnny Bonilla kick), 2:24.
KIL--Jack Johnston 4 run (Galvan kick), :27.
KIL--Jacobie Vidal 4 run (Galvan kick), 6:25.
First Downs 28 16
Total Yards 514 359
Rushes-Yards 59-510 24-91
Passing Yards 4 268
Comp.-Att.-Int. 1-2-0 12-28-2
Punts-Avg. 0-0 2-40.5
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 6-55 1-5
RUSHING--Kilgore, Kevrin Justice 20-195, Benny Colbert 11-150, Davieonta "JuJu" Brown 15-102, Jacobie Vidal 5-32, Jaquorius Smith 2-20, Jack Johnston 2-9, Aaron Foy 2-6, Xaviar Gaona 2-(-4). Chapel Hill, Wesley Thompson 9-45, Andrew Black 5-32, Malik Walker 5-10, Jesse Mumphrey 3-5, Ja'Braylon Franklin 1-3, Jeffery Minor 1-(-4).
PASSING--Kilgore, Colbert 1-2-0--4. Chapel Hill, Black 12-28-2--268.
RECEIVING--Kilgore, Nick Orange 1-4. Chapel Hill, Gabriel Robinson 4-81, Lex Heckel 4-71, Blake Mayfield 3-114, Minor 1-2.