KILGORE â€” Kilgoreâ€™s Cooper Coldiron sneaked in from a yard out to score the game-winning touchdown with 38.4 seconds left as No. 4 Kilgore rallied for a 14-10 victory over Henderson on Friday night at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium.
The Bulldogs improved to 8-0 for the season (5-0 in district), their best start since the 2004 Class 4A, Division II state championship season when Kilgore went unbeaten.
The Bulldogs close the regular season next week, facing Gilmer for the 16-3A championship in Gilmer.
Henderson fell to 3-2 in district, but clinched the No. 2 seed in Division II with Gilmerâ€™s win over Bullard. The Lionsâ€™ (5-4, 3-2) only district losses were to Gilmer by two points and now Kilgore by four.
Henderson closes the regular season at home next week against Gladewater.
The 77th meeting between these two rivals will be remembered as a defensive gem on both sides of the football.
Kilgoreâ€™s handful of big plays overshadowed another monster performance by Hendersonâ€™s Patrick Brown, who passed for 86 yards and a touchdown, ran for 72 and returned the opening kickoff 57 yards. Henderson outgained the Bulldogs in total yardage, 213 to 200.
Coldiron was 4 of 10 passing for 64 yards and added 40 yards on seven carries. Colbert, who scored on the big play to open the second half, led Kilgoreâ€™s rushing attack with 48 yards on three carries.
Trailing 3-0 at halftime, Kilgore received the second-half kickoff and used the possession to take its first lead of the contest on a 55-yard Benny Colbert run, coming with 10:48 left in the third quarter. The junior, who is used primarily at cornerback on defense, took the snap from center in the Wildcat formation and broke a tackle at the 50, cut back to the middle of the field and was off to the races.
The drive covered 71 yards in three plays in 1:12. Hector Peralez converted the first of his two extra points and Kilgore led 7-3.
Henderson answered, though, regaining the lead on an 11-yard Brown to Diamante Wright completion to cap a 14-play, 82-yard march with 11:08 left in the fourth period.
Kilgore came back with a seven-play, 65-yard march, which started with 3:45 left on the clock. The big play of the drive was a 47-yard Coldiron completion to Aaron Foy down to the 2-yard line.
The Lions capitalized on just one of three scoring opportunities in the first half and came away with a 3-0 halftime lead after William Mann booted a 43-yard field goal with 7:39 remaining in the first quarter.
Patrick Brown returned the opening kickoff 57 yards to give the Lions excellent field position, starting their first drive at the Bulldogsâ€™ 43. Kilgoreâ€™s defense, which came into the contest allowing only 5.3 points per contest, stiffened and forced the Lions to settle for a field goal after dropping Brown for back-to-back losses totaling 20 yards.
Mann missed a 43-yard field goal after a second-quarter Henderson possession stalled at the 32.
Henderson had another opportunity, but threw a pass out of field goal formation, which was knocked down by Benny Colbert in the end zone.
The Lions held a decided time of possession advantage in the first half of play only to lead by a field goal.
Henderson fumbled four times, but lost only one. Hendersonâ€™s Treâ€™ Hollins and Kilgoreâ€™s Q Brewster had interceptions.
Brewsterâ€™s proved pivotal.