The Carthage-Kilgore series has been as low as a non-district game and as high as the 2013 Class 3A Division I state championship game.

This year's Oct. 13 contest at Carthage's Bulldog Stadium will be on the more important side of the scale. It could be for the District 9-4A Division I title.

We view this game as the second-best regular season game of the East Texas football schedule.

Kilgore has bragging rights for the first time in a while. It stunned Carthage, 41-34, to tie for the District of Doom's title whereas Carthage finished the district portion of its schedule in third place.

Of course, Carthage got the last laugh by winning the 2016 Class 4A Division I state title.

But that's just it. Carthage's postseason success proved to 11 returning Kilgore starters that they too belong at the highest level.

Dual-threat quarterback Patrick Jackson recorded more than 2,000 total yards last season and is back to guide Kilgore a final time. Oklahoma State receiver commitment Jonathan Shepherd will be by his side, and Kilgore is never short on offensive line and running back talent.

Six starters return to Kilgore's defense, which was the district's third-best a season ago in total points allowed.

Carthage RB Keaontay Ingram. (© Rob Graham,
Carthage RB Keaontay Ingram. (© Rob Graham,

Carthage has 11 experienced starters as well and retained its most productive players from its latest title team, including blue chip running back Keaontay Ingram. The newcomers will be grizzled veterans by the time this game rolls around with non-district games against Gladewater, Liberty-Eylau, Class 5A opponent Whitehouse, Gilmer, Palestine and then a district game versus Henderson in succession.

Kilgore isn't far off in terms of scheduling. Its own slate leading up to the game is made up of Nacogdoches, Gladewater, Pine Tree, Texas High, Palestine and Chapel Hill. Nacogdoches, Pine Tree and Texas High are schools from 5A.

These teams will be well prepared for each other.

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