KILGORE — Brian Brown’s 43-yard fumble return for a touchdown early set the stage for Kilgore’s 35-7 victory over Chapel Hill in the District 10-4A D I opener for both teams on Friday night at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium.
It seemed like it only got worse for Chapel Hill from the 8:05 mark in the first quarter, when Brown scooped and scored, putting the Ragin’ Red ahead to stay 7-0 before a mostly partisan Kilgore crowd.
Turnovers proved to be Chapel Hill’s downfall, as Kilgore came away with nine, including six interceptions, to go with three fumble recoveries.
Donovan Adkins led the way with three picks, while Davin Rider, Bobby Owens and Zack Williams added one apiece.
Kilgore came into the contest with six interceptions in five games.
Joining Brown with fumble recoveries were Williams and Adkins.
Kilgore, led by Tray Epps’ 92 yards on 11 carries finished with 187 yards rushing. Quarterback Dalton McElyea mixed the run with the pass often early in the contest. He was 6-of-8 for 55 yards passing. He threw to four different receivers. They were Adkins (2-for-6), Billy Bell (1-15), Brian Brown (2-20), and Epps (1-14).
Chapel Hill’s rushing attack (101 yards on 29 carries) was led by Samari Willis’ 54 yards on 10 carries.
CH quarterback Kobe Coker was 11-of-27 for 94 yards passing. Keyjun Thomas led the Chapel Hill receiving corps with 4 catches for 34 yards.
Chapel Hill opted to receive the opening kickoff and put together a significant drive to start the game until it was unceremoniously halted by Brown’s scoop and 43-yard fumble return for a touchdown with 8:05 remaining in the first quarter.
Kilgore got its first of three first-half interceptions off Coker, the Chapel Hill by Adkins. His return of 31-yards set the stage for a 49-yard scoring run by Epps, who was returning to the lineup for the first time since the Texas High contest three weeks ago.
It took Kilgore, which had lost each of its last two games, just two plays to cover 67 yards and extend its lead to 14-0 with the addition of the second-of-three Chris Baldazo extra point conversions in the first half.
Kilgore moved 50 yards in seven plays to stretch its lead to 21-0 on a 3-yard Lacy run with 3:56 remaining in the second period.
Adkins, offensively, added a 16-yard scoring run with 1:38 left to play in the third quarter, and McElyea wrapped up the point production with a nifty four-yard keeper with 5:48 remaining in the contest.
Chapel Hill (2-4, 0-1) closed the deficit at one point, to 14 points (21-4) with a one-yard keeper by Tyson Berry, who took the snap out of the wildcat formation, with 2:02 remaining in the third period. Edfrain Valencia added the extra point.
The momentum Chapel Hill gained with its touchdown didn’t last long as Kilgore answered less than a minute later with Adkins scoring to stretch the lead back to 21, 28-7.
Kilgore’s DaVondrick Crowe returned a kickoff 68 yards.
The big guys in the trenches for the defense, led by Brantley Propes and Deundre Blanton, kept pressure on Coker most of the evening.
It doesn’t get any easier for either of these teams next week as Chapel Hill visits state-ranked Carthage, and Kilgore renews its long-standing rivalry against Henderson, also on the road.