Konnor Hitchcock + Chapel Hill Remain Unbeaten In District With 38-21 Win At Kilgore
KILGORE -- The abilities of Chapel Hill quarterback Konnor Hitchcock weren't exactly a well-kept secret, but the secret is certainly out after Hitchcock's performance Friday night.
Hitchcock missed only three passes all night, going 13 of 16 for 229 yards and two touchdowns, as Chapel Hill defeated Kilgore, 38-21. Chapel Hill is now 3-0 in District 9-4A Division I, and will travel to Henderson -- also perfect in district play -- next Friday night.
The rough season continued for a Kilgore team rocked by injuries. Kilgore is using its third quarterback of the season, William Colbert, who also had a good night throwing the ball, but had to muddle through several fumbled snaps. Kilgore lost only two fumbles in the game, but one, to open the second half, negated a 50-yard kick return by Caylon Williams.
Kilgore is now 2-6 overall after appearing in the Class 3A Division I state championship game a year ago. The Bulldogs visit Brownsboro next Friday night, and are mathematically still alive for a playoff berth. They did get good news this week. Punter Christian Galvan returned to the field, and offensive lineman Blake Guthrie looks to be on track to play next Friday.
A bobbled handoff on the first play from scrimmage led to a Chapel Hill fumble and Kilgore recovery, at Chapel Hill's 31-yard-line. But Kilgore's drive stopped when the Bulldogs couldn't convert on fourth down.
Chapel Hill would score, though, on its second drive, after a 47-yard run by Michael Bledsoe gave the visiting Bulldogs a first-and-goal. Reggie King scored on a 5-yard run, and Chapel Hill ed 7-0 less than halfway through the first quarter.
After a 28-yard run by Jaquorious Smith and a 28-yard pass to Nick Orange from Colbert, Kilgore got a touchdown to tie it up, a 1-yard run by University of Houston commit Kevrin Justice. Livan Torres tacked on the game-tying extra point, still in the first quarter.
Chapel Hill went in front for good, as it turned out, on a 3-yard touchdown run by Delenis Garrett, set up in part by another big run by Bledsoe, this time a 34-yarder down to Kilgore's 42. Bledsoe didn't score, but finished with 154 rushing yards on 11 carries.
Kilgore's Torres missed a 26-yard field goal, but his counterpart, Austin Frederick, didn't, hitting one from that same distance to give Chapel Hill a 17-7 advantage still in the first half.
Kilgore cut the lead to three points on a 5-yard touchdown by Smith, who had 96 yards in the game to lead all Kilgore rushers.
Chapel Hill's next drive was easily its most impressive. With just 55 seconds left until halftime, Hitchcock connected with teammate Zack Walters downfield for a 53-yard pass down to Kilgore's 26. On the next play, he hooked up with King near the sideline, down to the 9, and then on the third play, he found Deundre Phillips in the end zone for the score. Hitchcock went 3-of-3 on the drive for 79 yards and the touchdown to put Chapel Hill in front by 10, 24-14, at halftime.
The second-half kickoff might have broken Kilgore's spirit. Williams had returned the kickoff 50 yards when, at the end of the play, officials ruled he had fumbled, and that Chapel Hill had recovered. Hitchcock went to work again, and moved his team back down the field for another score. King capped the 51-yard drive with a 4-yard run, and Chapel Hill took a 31-14 lead, still in the third quarter.
Kilgore cut into it one last time, a 2-yard scoring run by Justice with just under three minutes left in the third quarter. And while Kilgore had its opportunities, the deficit -- and 11 penalties, including eight for illegal procedure -- were just too much for Kilgore to overcome. Hitchcock connected with Walters one last time on an 18-yard scoring pass in the fourth quarter, for the final tally.
Colbert was 12 of 21 for 240 yards, and Tinney had four catches for 69 yards. Orange had three receptions for 45 yards.