COLLEGE STATION -- For six of the last seven weeks, the Kilgore Bulldogs seemed to push all the right buttons.

This time, though, in a Class 4A Division I area-round playoff against Stafford, there just weren't quite enough buttons to push.

Kilgore kept Stafford's offense largely in-check Friday night in the second half, but Stafford was able to hold on as the Bulldogs' late rally came up short, resulting in a 27-21 Stafford win.

Kilgore trailed by six late, getting the ball with 1:51 remaining and no timeouts. Kilgore quarterback Buddy Jackson and Jonathan Shepherd connected on a fourth-down pass to midfield to give the Bulldogs new hope with about 50 seconds to go.

But Jackson couldn't get free to make a play on fourth-and-5 at Stafford's 45-yard-line, and was tackled, turning the ball over on downs and allowing the Spartans to erase what was remaining on the clock.

Jackson was 7-of-17 for 142 yards with a first-half touchdown to Melek Hamilton, and an interception. Hamilton had 70 yards on 20 carries in addition to the score on the screen pass.

Stafford took a 7-0 lead on a 19-yard pass late in the first quarter from Walter White to Jalen Curry. Kilgore tied the game on the pass from Jackson to Hamilton on a third-and-22.

The Spartans muffed a punt, which led to a 15-yard touchdown run by Deiontrae Wheat and a 14-7 Kilgore lead in the second quarter.

Stafford held the lead at the half, though, courtesy of speedy running back Cameron Montgomery, who caught a pass and scored from 66 yards, then scored on a 52-yard punt return.

The Spartans' 20-14 halftime lead turned into 27-14 on the third play of the second half -- a 64-yard pass from White to Texas A&M commitment Hezekiah Jones.

Kilgore cut it in half, to 27-21, on a 4-yard run by Jamal Nobles with 9:53 to play, but third-and-long was Kilgore's enemy in this game. The Bulldogs just couldn't stay out of it.

Kilgore ended the season at 7-5.