Beat down on the Bulldogs

Tigers come out on top in Bulldogs’ homecoming game


Photo by Kaitlyn Rogers

Senior Tracy Cooper runs the ball in the first quarter. Texas High School played against Kilgore High School on September 20, 2019.

Story by Caden Rainwater, sports editor

The Tigers stretched their winning streak to three games after defeating the Kilgore Bulldogs in their homecoming game. This match-up was supposed to be an easy win for the Bulldogs as compared to last year, however, this new Tiger team came to play, putting up a 30-14 victory. 

Beginning the first quarter, both teams saw very little of the opposition’s side of the field, punting it away a total of four times before the Tigers had a scoring drive. The play was delivered by Tracy Cooper and Tyrell Miller reaching 80 yards on 9 carries between the two seniors, and it ended with Cooper punching in a 9 yard touchdown run making the Tigers the first on the board. 

The end of the first quarter rolled around, keeping the score 7-0 Tigers. The Tigers found their rhythm quickly, making a statement by out-rushing Kilgore 130 to 34 yards. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs couldn’t find their touch as their quarterback went 0-5 in completions and their running backs were being handled with little care by the Tiger defense. 

Cooper opened the second quarter by scoring a touchdown after only two consecutive runs. However, penalties deferred the touchdown. As the Tigers were trying to find the endzone yet again, Cooper’s first slip up of the night came on a fumble recovered by Kilgore.

The Bulldog’s first possession of the second quarter went as most of their drives had gone throughout the night. The Bulldogs made a decent run with running back Kennieth Lacy, but the Tigers answered back with lock-down defense and a detrimental sack by junior Clayton Smith, pressuring the Bulldogs to punt the ball away. 

The second quarter proceeded slowly, until the Bulldog offense fumbled the ball on a miscommunicated play and was picked up by junior Lajontae Wrightner. The excitement from the fumble recovery led the Tigers to score as time expired on a quick pass to senior Kobe Webster in the corner of the endzone.

Throughout the first half, penalties plagued both the Tigers’ offense and defense, racking up a total of seven penalties while the Bulldogs on received one.

Statistically, at the end of the first half, the Tigers offense was far ahead of the Bulldog’s, as the Tigers had 221 yards rushing compared to the Bulldog’s mere 53 yards rushing, and the Tigers had 9 more first downs than the Bulldog’s going into the second half. 

The second half, however did not progress in favor of the Tigers. The Tigers received the kick-off and quickly made their way into the redzone. However, penalties and sacks forced a 44-yard field goal made by junior Oscar Hernandez.

The Bulldogs’ first drive of the second half went almost flawlessly as Kilgore’s running back made his way down to the Tigers’ side of the field. The drive ended with a touchdown reception by the Bulldogs for their first score of the game.

This score from the Bulldogs seemed to have slowed the Tigers down as they were forced to go three and out, leading to a punt by junior Rian Cellars. The enthusiasm by the Bulldogs seemed to have no regression as they ran 61 yards for a touchdown on their next drive, threatening the Tigers’ feeling of comfort, making the score 17-14 with the Tigers in the lead. 

The fourth quarter went poorly for both teams as they each punted it away on their first drives of the quarter, but the Tigers’ second drive would become a complete game changer. With about four minutes left on the clock, the Tigers found themselves in Bulldog territory in a dangerous position. It was 3rd and 5 on the 13 yard line, if the Tigers didn’t score, they would likely have to kick a field goal, putting them ahead by only six. However, Cooper came in clutch, yet again, by running to the 8-yard line for a Tiger first down. The pressure was on, however dropped passes and sacks pushed the ball back to the 11-yard line on 3rd and goal, putting the Tigers in a similar situation as earlier. A desperate run play by Cooper made it 4th and goal with the ball on the 1-yard line. The crowd was roaring, coaches were biting their nails and the players were as aggressive as they have ever been. The ball was snapped, and much to the Tigers’ dismay, the ball was dropped. Bodies piled up; fans and coaches squinted their eyes and stared at the referees to see what the call was going to be. The referee threw his arms up to signal a Tiger touchdown. The Tiger’s went up 24-14 with 3:31 left on the clock. 

The Bulldog’s refused to accept their fate, trying to keep the game moving as they were only down by two scores, but miscommunication between the shaky quarterback and his receivers led to a turnover on downs which then lead to a quick run by Cooper, stretching the score to 30-14 and putting the nail in the coffin.

“Of course we consistently had penalties against us, but we didn’t start blaming any one person.” senior nose guard Trestin Whitehead said. “We just fixed our problems and focused on the next drive.” 

Next week the Tigers will travel to face John Tyler at their stadium. After coming off of three consecutive wins, Texas High hopes to keep the momentum rolling with yet another victory.

“Going into the game [next week] we just need to focus on execution,” Cooper said. “We have to stick together as a family to win.”