Last-Second Field Goal Sends Nacogdoches To Thrilling 27-25 Win Over Kilgore
NACOGDOCHES -- Two East Texas heavyweights met on the first Friday night of the season, and put together an early candidate for game of the year.
Nacogdoches kicker Rudy Fuentes had the final say, hitting a 30-yard field goal as time expired to beat eighth-ranked Kilgore, 27-25. But it was hardly that easy.
The Dragons had to overcome some pretty sizeable odds in the final moments. Hunter McClellan, who had thrown three touchdowns earlier in the contest, had one play he'd like back: a fumble near Kilgore's goal line, recovered by Kilgore linebacker Mason Shelton, that led to the Bulldogs' go-ahead score.
Kilgore's Caylon Williams scored on a 10-yard run with 1:10 left in the game to put the Bulldogs (who had trailed 24-6 at halftime) in front, 25-24, for their first lead of the game. The two-point conversion pass from Xaviar Gaona to tight end Jarod Wood failed.
Nacogdoches got the ball at its own 24 with 1:07 left and two timeouts. McClellan was sacked by a host of Bulldogs on first down, then threw an incomplete pass. With time rapidly running out after a third-down conversion, McClellan made the play of the game, a 44-yard pass to teammate Bryce Matthews to Kilgore's 13.
Nac quickly called timeout with five seconds left, and trotted Fuentes onto the field. He hit the 30-yarder as time ran out, and Nac had pulled out the win it had almost given away.
Kilgore got 65 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries from Houston commit Kevrin Justice, but all in the first half, as he missed the second half with an undisclosed injury. His replacements, Jaquorius Smith and Williams, did an admirable job. Smith had a game-high 190 yards and a score on 23 carries, and Williams had 35 yards and that go-ahead score late.
In addition, Gaona hooked up with Wood on a 33-yard pass play in the first quarter to set up Justice's touchdown, and then Wood caught a 22-yard score from Gaona in the fourth quarter. Kilgore's defense, which allowed first-half touchdowns to Decouris Williams and Tae Thomas (on a 42-yard play), gave up only the field goal to the Dragons in the second half.
Nacogdoches is back in action Sept. 5 at Hallsville, while Kilgore (0-1) goes to the Galena Park area of Houston next Saturday for a 6 p.m. kickoff against Corpus Christi Flour Bluff.