BULLARD -- State-ranked Carthage the District 9-4A Division I champion? Nope.

Henderson? Nope.

Try Kilgore, which had a losing record after its non-district schedule, and then got hot, much like the Bulldogs did a year ago.

Kilgore capped that journey here Friday night with a 35-13 win over the Bullard Panthers. Kilgore, winners of back-to-back district championships, will play Navasota at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Lufkin in bi-district.

The win at Bullard was hardly a run-away; neither team scored in the third quarter and Kilgore led by just eight, 21-13, for the longest time.

In the fourth quarter, after a Bullard fumble, Kilgore quarterback Patrick Jackson got free on a third down and 13 to score on a 42-yard run, giving the Bulldogs a little insurance. Senior running back Melek Hamilton added a 24-yarder moments later for the 35-13 final.

Bullard scored first, a 57-yard pass from Tre Crayton to D'Juan Martin, and then Kilgore tied the game on a 20-yard run by Jackson.

The Panthers got a second-quarter touchdown from Crayton on a 16-yard run, only to miss the extra point and see Kilgore take advantage of it on the next play. Isaiah Smith fielded the kickoff and broke free for an 88-yard return and touchdown. Kilgore kicker Elivan Torres hit the extra point (Torres was 5-for-5 in the game and has missed only one extra point all season).

Kilgore led 14-13, but then added a score just before halftime. Bullard muffed a punt, and Kilgore receiver Collin Pippen fell on it at Bullard's 18-yard-line. Jackson connected with Cole Wood on a pass play on first down, down to Bullard's 1, and then Jamal Nobles scored on a 1-yard run on the next play.

Crayton had 84 yards and the touchdown for Bullard, who completed its 2016 season. Martin had the touchdown catch, and also had a 35-yard run that set up Bullard's second-quarter score.

Jackson ran for 162 yards and two touchdowns for Kilgore, and also completed 7-of-11 passes for 43 yards. Hamilton, over 1,000 yards rushing for the season, had 63 yards and his fourth-quarter score.