Tigers defeat Bulldogs 19-13

Jacorien Walker interception seals win for THS in triple overtime

Story by Jessica Emerson, Sports Editor

The Tigers had every reason to celebrate tonight.  In their first win of the season, the Tigers clawed their way to victory and defeated the Kilgore Bulldogs 19-13 in triple overtime.

 “We have a lot more that we want to accomplish and this is just the beginning of it,” junior running back Jacorien Walker said. “We’re just going to keep on fighting. We learned how to fight early in the preseason, and that’s great; that’s what we wanted to do. We just want to go out and win district and bring home a win in the playoffs.”

 Following a loss to in-town rival Arkansas High, the team finally felt like things were coming together.

 “We fought through a lot of adversity coming over these losses,” senior linebacker K.J. Reid said. “Throughout these past two weeks, we’ve been working really hard and training our way back to where we need to be, which is winning.”

 The Tigers and the Bulldogs started off the first quarter stagnant. The Tigers picked it up around the 3-minute mark when senior running back Demondre Cooper ran the ball 27 yards to reach the Bulldog 26-yard line.

 This run set the Tigers up for a touchdown from Walker, followed by an extra point made by senior kicker Mantas Urniezeus, making the score in favor of the Tigers 7-0.

 Around the halfway mark of the second quarter, the Bulldogs pushed back. Senior running back Quavion Mumphrey ran the ball 13 yards, setting the Bulldogs up on the Tiger 15-yard line. However, this drive ended with the Tigers forcing the Bulldogs to kick a field goal, making the score 7-3.

To end the second quarter, junior kicker Ethan Montez made a field goal from the 15-yard line, putting the Tigers in the lead 10-3 at halftime.FootballKilgore_AO-(351) 

The Bulldogs countered at the midway point of the third quarter when junior running back Jaquorius Smith rushed the ball 17 yards, putting the Bulldogs in Tiger territory.

To finish off the drive, senior running back Kevin Justice scored the first Bulldog touchdown, tying up the game at 10-10.

To start off the fourth quarter, the Tigers stopped the Bulldog drive with an interception caught by senior linebacker Marquan Tucker, who returned the ball back to the Tiger 24-yard line.

With 3:30 left in the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs mounted a drive against the Tigers, pushing the ball back 35 yards in favor of the Bulldogs.

With .9 seconds left on the clock the Bulldogs missed a field goal, forcing the game into overtime.

On the Tigers’ first drive of overtime, senior running back Javon Thomas took the ball to the 10-yard line, followed by a carry from sophomore quarterback Cade Pearson to the 2-yard line. Montez kicked a field goal leaving the score 13-10 when the Bulldogs took possession.

A Bulldog field goal from the 23-yard line tied the game again, 13-13.

Penalties plagued the Bulldogs in the second round of overtime play, a motion penalty put the Bulldogs back 5 yards making it first and 15, followed by a holding penalty. With the Bulldogs facing third and 16, junior defensive back Dee Jones intercepted the ball, shifting to a Tiger possession.

The Tigers failed to move the ball in the second overtime possession and tried for a 39-yard field goal attempt from Montez, which missed wide right and forced the game into triple overtime. 

The Tigers lost the coin toss for the third overtime and took first possession offensively. Pearson fumbled the ball on a bad snap, losing 6 yards, but Anderson managed to score on a pass from Pearson, though the 2-point conversion failed, leaving the score 19-13.

“[The play made] a big impact. A big time player made a big time play,” Anderson said. “I’ve just got to move forward from here.”

A quarterback sack left the Bulldogs on a third down at 31 yards, but a pass was intercepted by Walker for a Tiger win. Interception_KB

“I loved the passion and excitement we had,” Walker said. “We ended the game great. We learned how to fight even harder than we’ve ever fought before. We became a team more, and I think we will get better from here.”

Coach Barry Norton was proud to be entering district with a home game win.

“I told the team before the game, ‘If you’re ever underwater and can’t breathe, it’s like knowing all you want is that last breath. You want it so badly you’ll do anything for it,’ and that’s how we’ve got to play our games,” Norton said. “We’ve got to want it badly, like it’s our last breath.”