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Kilgore Rides Strong Running Game, Shuts Down Athens, 42-7

Kilgore’s Cornelius “Spike” Bell takes a handoff from Cooper Coldiron (4) before scoring a touchdown during the Bulldogs’ 42-7 win vs. Athens on Friday in Whitehouse. (Noreen Nartia,

WHITEHOUSE — If the Kilgore Bulldogs had been in any offensive doldrums, they came out of it Friday night.

Kilgore built a big lead early and advanced to the Class 3A Division I Region II area round with a 42-7 victory over Athens at Wildcat Stadium.

Kilgore (9-1) plays Kaufman or Paris at 6 p.m. Friday at Forney’s City Bank Stadium. Paris and Kaufman play Saturday night in Allen.

Kilgore missed a 28-yard field goal early, but got the ball right back. Running back Kevrin Justice scored on an 18-yard run, dragging Athens defenders into the end zone with him for a 7-0 lead halfway through the first quarter.

Joseph Shepherd ended Athens’ next possession with an interception, giving the Bulldogs a short field. Kilgore finished the eight-play, 32-yard drive with a scoring run by Cornelius Bell from less than a yard out for a 14-0 advantage.

The Hornets (5-6) kept the ball on the ground for the most part on the legs of quarterback Anthony Sanders, Raheem Miller and Adam Stallings. But their best drive of the first half came to a halt at midfield, and the Hornets punted. Justice managed a 15-yard gain on first down, then Kilgore QB Cooper Coldiron completed a 27-yard pass to tight end Jarod Wood, setting up JuJu Brown for a 16-yard scoring run on the next play for a 21-0 edge.

The Bulldogs got one more touchdown in the first half, a 51-yard pass from Coldiron to sophomore Nick Orange for a 28-0  lead at the break.

Austin Jordan scored on a 40-yard run on the third quarter’s first play after a good kickoff return by Benny Colbert, who also had an interception in the end zone to stop another Athens drive. Kilgore stretched its lead to 42-0 on Jordan’s second touchdown run, a 21-yarder with 8:58 left.

Athens scored late, a 14-yard pass to K.J. Cumby from Sanders, with 4:08 to go.

Athens’ Devin Hall runs the ball against as Kilgore’s Jake Brantley (40) goes for the tackle during the Hornets’ 42-7 loss Friday in Whitehouse. (Noreen Nartia,

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