KILGORE — Kai Horton threw for four touchdowns, leading second-ranked Carthage to a 49-11 victory over Kilgore in the final regular-season game of the season on Friday night at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium.
Carthage wrapped up another perfect regular season (10-0 overall, 5-0 in district) with its 34th consecutive district win. Ironically, the Bulldogs last district loss came to Kilgore here in Oct. of the 2016 season.
Despite the loss, Kilgore (5-5, 2-3, respectively) got the help it needed from Palestine and Henderson to qualify for the playoffs.
Carthage opened fast, scoring on its first five possessions of the first half to take a 35-0 halftime lead.
Horton, who finished the evening 17-of-20 passing for 255 yards with touchdown strikes of 17 yards to Mason Courtney, 49 yards to Kel Williams and 20 and 17 yards to Craig McNew.
This marks the third time this season Horton has thrown for four touchdowns.
Jaden Thomas scored Carthage’s final touchdown of the first half with a 21-yard run with 5:14 remaining in the second quarter.
Courtney, Carthage’s leading rusher with 70 yards on 13 carries, also scored a touchdown on a 3-yard run with 4:01 left in the third period.
Anthony Wilson, Horton’s backup at quarterback, came on to complete 1-of-3 passes for 64 yards and a touchdown to Cartrell Fulton.
Kennieth Lacy provided Kilgore’s only touchdown of the contest with a 37-yard run with 9.5 seconds left in the third quarter. Lacy led Kilgore’s rushing with 82 yards on 11 carrries.
Tray Epps added 39, and Dalton McElyea 37 of the Bulldogs’ 167 yards. Kilgore would score a couple of safeties, one late in the third quarter and another with just 1:40 to play.
On special teams for Kilgore Donovan Adkins had a 35-yard kickoff return and an 18-yard punt return.
Carthage outgained Kilgore in total yardage 457 to 214.
Carthage’s leading receivers were Kel Williams (5-105), Kelvontay Dixon (4-70) and Montrell Smith (3-25).
McElyea was 7-of-14 passing for 52 yards. He had completions to Adkins, Da’Vondrick Crowe, Brian Brown, Sam Witt and Cade Pippen.
Horton, who came into the contest with four touchdown passes in games against Liberty-Eylau and Marshall earlier this season, equaled that total in the first half against Kilgore.
Carthage’s other touchdown in the first half came on 21-yard Jaden Thomas run.
Horton was 15-of-18 passing for 247 yards, throwing to six different receivers in the first half.