Kilgore’s Defensive Adjustment Pivotal in Its “District of Doom” Rematch With Chapel Hill
TYLER -- From Chapel Hill's opening drive, Kilgore had something different for its District 16-3A rival.
After surrendering 356 yards passing in Kilgore's 42-25 win over Chapel Hill in their Oct. 25 regular-season meeting, the plan was to show Chapel Hill various looks -- particularly zone.
And it worked.
Kilgore safety Stefun Tatum intercepted Chapel Hill quarterback Andrew Black on the game's opening possession, which was a sign of things to come in Kilgore's 59-19 dismantling of Chapel Hill in their Class 3A Division I Region II final at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium on Friday night.
The Kilgore defense held Chapel Hill to 268 yards through the air, and collected five tackles for loss, two interceptions and two pass break-ups.
"We usually run a combination of zone to one side and man to the other," said Kilgore linebacker Jake Brantley, who had two tackles for loss. "We expected them to try to throw the ball after the success they had on us last time. So we went zone defense across the board, and it worked out well obviously."
Chapel Hill reeled off four consecutive wins after the Kilgore loss, primarily behind the arm and legs of Black, who came into Friday's game with almost 4,000 yards of total offense. Chapel Hill entered the regional final averaging 49 points per game and 349 yards rushing in its previous four outings.
This time, Kilgore had Black's number. He finished 12 of 28 passing for 268 yards, two touchdowns and two picks. Kilgore also held a Chapel Hill rushing attack averaging more than 300 yards on the year to just 91 on 24 carries.
"Our defense was able to execute plays, know their (Chapel Hill) coverages and make big stops," said Kilgore cornerback Joseph Shepherd, who had an interception and pass breakup, adding to his team-high season total of 10 PBU's. "We played a lot of zone. Man locking, weak side and strong side, we played zone. It worked out real good for us."
Ultimately, it came down to execution as Kilgore coach Mike Wood described it.
"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," said Wood, whose team built a 31-6 halftime lead thanks in measure to an average starting field position at the Chapel Hill 42.