Kilgore Seeks Second Consecutive Win Of Season Friday Night Against Texas High, Which Is Searching For First Victory
Kilgore Bulldogs (1-2)
Texas High Tigers (0-2)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Tiger Stadium at Grim Park, Texarkana
- Kilgore: Mike Wood
- Texas High: Barry Norton
- Kilgore: def. Pine Tree, 40-7
- Texas High: idle
- Kilgore: vs. Gladewater, Sept. 26
- Texas High: at Sulphur Springs, Sept. 26
- RB Kevrin Justice, Sr., 6-0, 180 (29 carries, 161 yards, 2 TDs; 3 catches, 37 yards; committed to Houston)
- TE/DE Jarod Wood, Sr., 6-2, 200 (8 catches, 227 yards, 4 TDs; 8 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble)
- LB Kris Haynes, Sr., 5-11, 220 (38 tackles, 4 for loss, 2 sacks, 5 QB pressures, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
- QB Xaviar Gaona, Sr., 6-4 170 (24 of 38, 441 yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT; 15 carries, 89 yards)
- OL Blake Guthrie
- DL Jacobe Wafer, Sr. (4 tackles, 1 QB pressure, 1 forced fumble, 1 punt blocked)
- LB Mason Shelton, Jr. (22 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 QB pressure, 1 forced fumble)
- RB Jacquorius Smith, Jr., 5-8, 175 (59 carries, 515 yards, 7 TDs)
- RB Javon Thomas, Sr., 6-2, 210 (committed to Tulsa)
- WR Jarion Anderson, Sr., 5-11, 170 (committed to Tulsa)
- DL William Brown, Sr., 6-4, 275
- OL Grant Burns, Jr., 6-2, 250
- LB K.J. Reid, Sr., 6-1, 200
- DB JaCorien Walker, Jr., 5-8, 165
- OL Matthew Davis, Jr.
- QB Cade Pearson, Soph.
Just the facts
- Kilgore and Texas High have met 15 times since 1947. Texas High leads the series over that time span, 12-2-1.
- Prior to the 2002, the last time Texas High and Kilgore met on the field was 1963.
- Through three games, Kilgore's offense is averaging 38.3 points and 488.3 yards per game -- 341.3 rushing and 147 passing.
- Kilgore's two losses have come by a combined three points -- 27-25 to Nacogdoches and 51-50 to Corpus Christi Flour Bluff.
- If Kilgore loses Friday night, the Bulldogs will be 1-3 to begin a season for the first time since 2010.
- In two games, Texas High has averaged 24.5 points.
- Texas High's two losses have come by a combined nine points -- 38-35 to Whitehouse and 20-14 in overtime to Arkansas High.
- If Texas High loses Friday, the Tigers will be 0-3 to begin a season for the first time in head coach Barry Norton's 16-year tenure.
Key matchup: Kilgore running game vs. Texas High defensive front. While Kilgore's offense is a bit more diversified than it was last season, the Bulldogs still butter their bread with the running game. And despite an early-season injury to starting running back and Houston commit Kevrin Justice, who has missed a game already this year, Kilgore's backfield appears as strong as ever. New addtion Jacquorius Smith has filled in admirably as the team's featured back while Justice returns to form. Smith has already rushed for more than 500 yards and seven touchdowns on the season with an average of 8.7 yards per carry. So it appears when Justice gets back into the swing of things, Kilgore will have a 1-2 backfield duo similar to the one it had last season with Justice and the graduated Davieonta "JuJu" Brown, which carried the Bulldogs all the way to the Class 3A Division I state championship game last December. The passing game, led by senior quarterback Xaviar Gaona, has been featured more prominently through three games this season than at any point last season. Right now, Gaona is on pace for 1,470 passing yards through the regular season. The duo of Gaona and Benny Colbert combined for just 1,043 yards in 15 games a season ago. But it's the Kilgore rushing attack that will be first and foremost on the minds of the Texas High defense this Friday night.
Texas High certainly has the pieces to be a disruptive force against opponents' ground games. Senior defensive tackle William Brown is a hole-clogger who specializes in stopping running backs in their tracks, or making big plays behind the line of scrimmage. Senior linebacker K.J. Reid is another Texas High impact player against the run. Both will be counted upon to curb a Kilgore rushing attack that's averaging more than 300 yards through the season's first three games. The Tigers did a solid job in their season-opening loss on Aug. 29, limiting Whitehouse to 168 yards on 39 carries -- a 4.3 yards-per-carry average. Texas High's defense performed even better the following by allowing just 111 total yards in an overtime loss to Arkansas High. With two full weeks to prepare, expect Texas High's defense to stack the box against Kilgore, forcing the Bulldogs to beat them through the air.
Don't be surprised if: There are big plays to be had in the passing game. Both Kilgore and Texas High feature ground-oriented offenses. However, each team also possesses a game-changing option in the passing game. Kilgore tight end Jarod Wood only has eight receptions, but four of them have gone for touchdowns. The big target, who doubles as an edge-rusher on defense, is averaging a whopping 28.4 yards per reception. Texas High counters with receiver Jarion Anderson, one of East Texas' best at the position. Anderson brings explosive speed and excellent jumping capability to go along with tight footwork and reliable hands. Anderson, who is committed to Tulsa, will undoubtedly become one of sophomore quarterback Cade Pearson's favorite targets this season. While each offense has had its moments of success, the defense for each team has seen some uncharacteristic sloppy play early on in the year. Kilgore, after allowing 27 points in a season-opening loss to Nacogdoches on Aug. 29, allowed 51 points to Corpus Christi Flour Bluff a week later. Texas High, meanwhile, surrendered 529 yards to Whitehousein its season opener. Each team has since turned in impressive performances on the defensive end, but more consistency is expected from both coaching staffs as their teams get closer to district competition.