WHITEHOUSE â€” Kilgore opened the schoolboy playoffs by knocking off Athens, 42-7, in a Class 3A, Division I bi-district game at Wildcat Stadium on Friday night.
Four Kilgore running backs accounted for five touchdowns and Cooper Coldiron was on the mark more times than not, completing a 51-yard scoring strike to Nick Orange as the Bulldogs improved to 10-1 for the season.
The Bulldogs, who dropped from No. 4 to No. 11 in this weekâ€™s Associated Press 3A poll after their only loss of the season, to Gilmer, advance to the second round to meet the winner of tonightâ€™s Paris-Kaufman game in Forney next Friday at 6 p.m.
Athens completed its season with a 4-7 record, making the playoffs for the second time in three years.
Austin Jordan scored on runs of 21 and 40 yards to lead the way. However, before the game was history, Kevrin Justice, Cornelius Bell and JuJu Brown had also scored as Kilgore finished with 200 yards rushing on 30 carries.
Coldiron was 6 of 9 passing for 136 yards. Athens, which had 170 yards at the half, finished with 346 for the game. Of that, 307 came on the ground as Raheem Miller led the way with 121 yards on 17 carries. Adam Stallings followed with 99 yards on 23 attempts.
Athens quarterback Anthony Sanders was 3 of 14 passing for 39 yards. He was intercepted twice, once by Jermaine Boone and once by Benny Colbert. Both picks set up Kilgore touchdowns.
Colbert had a punt return of 37 yards and brought a kick back 47 yards to also set up the Bulldogs with excellent field position.
Kilgore failed to score on its first possession, but made up for it on its next four possessions with touchdowns to open up a commanding 28-0 halftime lead over Athens, which won its last three district games just to qualify for the postseason.
The Bulldogs used a one-play drive, getting an 18-yard scoring run from Justice to take a 7-0 lead. The touchdown was set up by Colbertâ€™s punt return.
Booneâ€™s interception with 3:33 remaining in the first period set the stage for Kilgoreâ€™s second touchdown, a 1-yard Bell run, coming with just 1:02 left in the first quarter.
The Bulldogsâ€™ next possession started in Kilgoreâ€™s territory at the 26. A 15-yard Justice run, and a 15-yard penalty on Athens, moved the football into Athens territory. Coldiron, who was 4 of 7 for 114 yards at halftime, completed a 28-yard pass to Jarod Wood. The very next play, Brown scooted in from 16 yards away to extend the lead to 21-0.
Colbertâ€™s interception then set the stage for Kilgoreâ€™s final touchdown of the half, coming on a 51-yard Coldiron-to-Nick Orange scoring pass with 2:16 remaining in the second quarter.
Athens outgained the Bulldogs in total yardage, 346-336, but did not get on the scoreboard until Sandersâ€™ 14-yard scoring pass to K.J. Cumby with just 4:08 remaining in the contest.
Kilgore 42, Athens 7
Class 3A, Division Iâ€ˆBi-District
At Wildcat Stadium, Whitehouse
Athens0007 â€” 7
Kilgore141477 â€” 42
KILâ€”Kevrin Justice 18 run (Hector Peralez kick), 5:49.
KILâ€”Cornelius Bell 1 run (Peralez kick), 1:02.
KILâ€”JuJu Brown 16 run (Peralez kick), 8:53.
KILâ€”Nick Orange 51 pass from Cooper Coldiron (Michael Richers kick), 2:16.
KILâ€”Austin Jordan 40 run (Peralez kick), 11:39.
KILâ€”Jordan 21 run (Michael Richers kick), 8:58.
ATHâ€”K.J. Cumby 14 pass from Anthony Sanders (Jesse Durham kick), 4:08.