Pine Tree Hands Kilgore Third Loss, 38-28
LONGVIEW -- D.J. Freeman accounted for four touchdowns, two of them passes to J.J. Sparkman, and the Pine Tree Pirates did something no team had done in almost three decades Friday night: they beat the Kilgore Bulldogs.
Pine Tree scored four first-half touchdowns, including one on a 95-yard kick return by Gabe Adams, to put Kilgore on the ropes, and then, in a tight game late, got a 35-yard field goal from Jose Vasquez to ice the contest, beating Kilgore 38-28, the Pirates' first win in the series since 1990.
Kilgore falls to 0-3 and will visit Texas High next Friday night. Pine Tree (2-1) plays at unbeaten Hallsville (3-0).
Pine Tree scored on its first drive when Sparkman hauled in what looked to be a one-handed catch on Kilgore's sideline, then raced into the end zone for a 68-yard touchdown.
Kilgore tied the game on a 7-yard run by Kennieth Lacy, a couple of plays after quarterback Gus Witt and Deiontrae Wheat connected on an 18-yard pass that Wheat dragged his toes on, to make sure he was in bounds.
Kilgore took a 14-7 lead on another Witt-to-Wheat play, a 42-yard passing score, but saw Pine Tree hit right back with Adams' 95-yard return.
The Pirates' kickoff was a pop-up, and was mishandled by the Bulldogs. Pine Tree recovered at Kilgore's 29-yard-line, and then went ahead, 21-14, on a 10-yard run by Freeman, who's just a sophomore.
The Bulldogs tied it up yet again on a 4-yard run by Tray Epps.
Pine Tree got the last laugh in the first half. Gabe Nelson got free for a 41-yard run that put the Pirates in field goal position at Kilgore's 22, with just a few seconds left in the half; Freeman punctuated the half with a 22-yard scoring pass to a leaping Sparkman. Pine Tree led 28-21 at the break.
The Pirates stretched their lead to 35-21 in the third quarter on a 4-yard run by Freeman. Kilgore got within a score, 35-28, on another 7-yard scoring run by Lacy.
But much of the fourth quarter had PT up, 35-28. Kilgore's last grasp fell short with about four minutes left, as the Bulldogs turned the ball over on downs and the Pirates took over. Vasquez added the field goal with 2:22 remaining, and then Pine Tree recovered another pooch kick ball, then successfully ran out the clock.
Sparkman had four catches for 156 yards and the two scores. Freeman completed 6-of-11 passes for 187 yards and the touchdowns, and ran for 50 yards and two scores.
Epps finished with 98 yards and the touchdown run for Kilgore. Lacy had the two touchdowns and 90 yards rushing. Wheat had three catches for 70 yards.
Kilgore's last 0-3 start was in 1995, the first year for longtime head coach Mike Vallery, who retired in 2010.