KILGORE – Last week, the Kilgore Bulldogs were the victims of a rousing comeback by the Center Roughriders.

This week, the Bulldogs did a little coming back of their own.

Kilgore trailed Bullard by 19 at the end of the first quarter, but the Bulldogs raced out in front, outscored the Panthers 56-7 from that point, and won the regular-season finale, 56-25. Briant Mumphrey scored four touchdowns for Kilgore in the win.

In the process, the Bulldogs (7-3) clinched the No. 2 seed in the playoffs from District 9-4A Division I and will play Little Cypress-Mauriceville sometime next week, at a site and on a date to be determined.

Kilgore’s Jacob Lucas actually recovered a Bullard onside kick to open the game, but the Bulldogs were forced to punt. Bullard scored on its first offensive series, a 65-yard touchdown pass to Ty Crayton from Cleet Bowman.

On the kickoff, the ball blooped past a Kilgore player and Bullard players fell on the loose ball at Kilgore’s 25-yard-line. Seven plays later, Bullard tailback Luke Bowman was in the end zone after a 1-yard run, and although a botched extra point-turned-two-point conversion failed, Bullard still led, 13-0.

The Panthers tried another onside kick and got it, then scored yet again, hushing the Kilgore crowd with another pass from Bowman to Crayton, this time from 27 yards out. Kilgore’s Isaiah Smith blocked the point after, and Kilgore was still behind, 19-0. That’s the way the first quarter ended.

And that was pretty much the end of the night offensively for Bullard, as it turned out. Kilgore got the expected onside kick attempt this time, at midfield, and scored early in the second quarter on a 1-yard run by Mumphrey.

Kilgore’s defense held this time, and after a Bullard punt, the Kilgore offense drove methodically down the field for another score, Mumphrey again from 3 yards out this time.

Bullard, leading only by one touchdown (19-14), couldn’t get out of its own way. The Kilgore defense forced another punt, and this time, Kilgore’s offense executed a long march downfield, 74 yards, to be exact. Quarterback Patrick Jackson, who had three scores of his own in the game, did the honors on a 9-yard run, and Kilgore claimed a 21-19 lead on Elivan Torres’ extra point – he was 8-for-8 in the game on extra point attempts.

In the third quarter, Bullard got the ball but immediately fumbled it to Kilgore on the Bullard 14-yard-line, and Kilgore’s barrage of points continued. Mumphrey scored with 9:39 left in the third on another 3-yard run.

Bullard’s last gasp in the contest happened on the next Panthers’ drive. Bowman found Crayton behind the Kilgore defense and he outran them to the end zone for a 50-yard touchdown.

The Panthers tried another onside kick, their fifth attempt of the night, and Lucas recovered a second onside attempt for Kilgore.

Kilgore put the game away, not allowing another Bullard point. Mumphrey scored on a 42-yard run, his fourth of the night. Nesba Brown scored for the Bulldogs on a 61-yard punt return, and Jackson added two more, one from 33 yards and another, in the fourth quarter, from 6 yards out.

Bowman threw for 209 yards and three scores for Bullard, which concludes its 2017 season. Mumphrey ran for 135 yards and the four scores for Kilgore. Jackson had three scores and 75 yards rushing. He went 5-of-8 through the air for 44 yards, all in the first half. Four of them went to Jonathan Shepherd for 37 yards; the other to Deiontrae Wheat, for 7.

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