Quentin Williams + Jasper Run Defending State Finalist Kilgore Out Of The Playoffs With 34-6 Win
LUFKIN -- Kilgore bounced back from a rough start to the 2014 season and made the playoffs, but unfortunately for the Bulldogs and their fans, it was a short stay.
Jasper, the District 10-4A champion, took it to Kilgore early in their Class 4A Division I bi-district playoff game on a bitter-cold Thursday night at Abe Martin Stadium, and Kilgore was unable to answer the bell. Jasper scored 20 first-quarter points on its way to a 34-6 win.
The loss, of course, ended the season for the Bulldogs, who finished with a 4-7 record. Jasper (8-3) continued to the second round, where it will face either Sealy or Stafford. Those two meet Friday night in Rosenberg.
Jasper, which only threw one pass in its regular-season finale, kept it on the ground for the bulk of the game, and jumped out to an early lead on the second play of the game. Quarterback Quentin Williams found a hole in the Kilgore defense and hit it, breaking free for a 71-yard touchdown that gave his Bulldogs a 7-0 lead with 55 seconds off the first-quarter clock.
On Kilgore's first drive, the ball got behind running back Kevrin Justice and a second-and-7 turned into a third-and-19, from which Kilgore couldn't recover. Christian Galvan punted, a good punt that set Jasper up at its own 38-yard-line.
Kilgore's run defense had been a strength all season, allowing about 151 yards per game to opponents. But Jasper kept working it, and Randy Spikes, who had a 29-yard run in the drive, scored on a 3-yard run to give his team a two-touchdown lead with six minutes remaining in the quarter.
Things snowballed for Kilgore. Galvan was rushed on the next punt, and he had to pick it up off the ground. He did get it off, but it went off the side of his foot, and Jasper took over at Kilgore's 35. Jasper scored in six plays, this time on a 1-yard touchdown by Williams. Kilgore's Quavion Mumphrey blocked the extra point, but Jasper led 20-0 with just over 1:30 remaining in the opening quarter, a stunning start.
In spite of a pass from William Colbert to Nick Orange, Kilgore came up short on its next drive and was again forced to punt. This time, Jasper grinded out a 10-play, 61-yard drive that ended with Williams in the end zone again -- this time from 6 yards out. The extra point kick was a line drive that missed, but still, with 6:30 minutes remaining in the half, Jasper took control of the game at 26-0.
Kilgore's only score of the contest came three plays later. The Bulldogs got a good return from Caylon Williams but it was nullified, largely, on a holding call. Still, on second-and-7 at Kilgore's own 22, Colbert found Trey Tinney downfield across the middle. Tinney hauled in the catch and outran everyone to the end zone. Colbert had a hard time handling the snap -- the drastically-cold temperatures had that effect with the ball all night -- and he tried to run it in for two points. It failed, and Kilgore trailed 26-6, with 5:24 remaining in the half.
There would be only one other score in the game -- a 35-yard halfback pass from Spikes to Tyler Ruiz. It was a bit of an adventure: Williams threw the ball backward, a lateral, to Spikes out in the flat, and the ball one-hopped off the turf. It bounced right to Spikes -- it was that kind of night for Kilgore -- and Spikes picked it up and threw it to Ruiz in the end zone for the score. Spikes completed a pass to Williams, oddly enough, for the two-point conversion. Jasper led 34-6 at the half, and as it turned out, that was the final score.
Jasper finished with 260 yards rushing in the contest. Williams had 130 of it, and the three rushing touchdowns. Spikes finished with 90 yards.
For Kilgore, Colbert was 4 of 5 for 100 yards and the touchdown to Tinney, but was injured. Colbert himself was the emergency quarterback, having been a wide receiver and cornerback on defense before being forced to move under center after injuries to starter Xavier Gaona and Jacob Goode. Chris Toombs, the son of former Kilgore and Texas A&M running back Ja'Mar Toombs, came on to replace Colbert and finished with 35 rushing yards. He completed 2 of 5 passes for 11 yards.
It was a tough season for Kilgore, which lost its first four games by a combined 13 points -- losing on a last-second field goal at Nacogdoches, dropping a wild 51-50 contest in Houston to Flour Bluff, and after getting a victory over Pine Tree, losing a three-overtime game at Texas High, 19-13.
Injuries mounted, and not just at quarterback. The offensive line was set back by injuries, particularly at center.
Still, Kilgore rebounded and made the playoffs, having done so for the last four seasons under head coach Mike Wood.