KILGORE – The Kilgore Bulldogs opened District 9-4A Division I play just the way first-year head coach Clint Fuller drew it up on the chalk board.
Davin Rider scored on runs of 88 and 11 yards and returned a blocked field goal by Jermaine Roney 80-yards for his third TD of the evening and 14th of the season to lead the Ragin’ Red to a convincing 35-6 win over Palestine on Friday night at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium.
Da’Marion Van Zandt ran for one touchdown and passed for another (16-yards to Corey Rider) as Kilgore improved to 4-1 overall. The loss drops Palestine to 0-1 and 2-3, respectively.
Davin Rider rushed for a game-high 133-yards on eight carries. Isaiah Ross added 66 yards to go with 25 by Matt Hardy and six by Van Zandt, totaling 230 yards on 21 carries.
Palestine’s Shedrick Dudley led the Wildcats’ rushing performance with 106 yards on 11 carries, including the ‘Cats lone touchdown. Elijah Walker followed with 74 yards, Taj’shawn Wilson added 56, and Tye Crawford 42.
Hudson Dear and Jerrod Walker split time at quarterback for Palestine. Dear was 1-for-5 for 24 yards, and Walker, who came on in the second half, was 2-for-9 for 43 yards.
Roney was Kilgore’s leading receiver with three catches for 45 yards. Corey Rider had two receptions for 57.
The ‘Dogs scored on their initial possession and never looked back. Rider carried the first five plays of the contest, gaining 34 yards, after Roney returned the opening kickoff 47 yards to give Kilgore excellent field position.
Van Zandt capped the scoring march with a 1-yard quarterback sneak with 9:42 remaining in the first quarter.
Rider extended the lead with 10:16 left in the second period, catching Roney’s block of a 25-yard Luke James field goal attempt at the 20 and outrunning the pursuit 80 yards.
His third TD of the evening covered 88-yards and came with 2:55 showing on the second quarter clock.
Rider would cap a 5-play, 71-yard drive with an 11-yard run with 5:17 remaining in the third quarter, following Palestine’s lone touchdown, which came on a 47-yard sprint by Dudley at the 9:40 mark in the third period.
Kilgore would add its fifth touchdown of the contest on a 16-yard Van Zandt to Corey Rider strike.
Chris Baldazo finished the evening going five-for-five on extra points.
The number of plays didn’t really seem to matter, at least in the first half of this district opener between Kilgore and Palestine. The Wildcats held a decided edge (29-19),but found themselves 21-points behind on the scoreboard.
Next week, Palestine returns home to host Mabank, while Kilgore is open. The Ragin’ Red return to play on Oct. 8, playing Mabank in Mabank.