PHIL HICKS, email@example.com
What began as a promising football season ended with a fourth straight loss for the Apaches on a cold Saturday afternoon on Earl Campbell Field.
Quarterback Jalil Kilpatrick came off the bench to rally the Kilgore College Rangers to a 31-20 victory, spoiling Tyler Junior College's homecoming before 6,000 fans at Christus Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.
The game was a microcosm of the Apaches' season – start off strong only to see their opponent rally.
TJC reached No. 2 in the nation after five straight wins to open the season, but injuries, turnovers and special teams breakdowns felled the squad.
Tyler ends its season at 5-4 overall and 3-4 in Southwest Junior College Football Conference play, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2010. TJC needed to win and hope Navarro would lose to make the postseason - neither happened as Navarro defeated New Mexico Military, 34-21, in Roswell, New Mexico.
Kilgore improves to 5-4 and 4-3. The Rangers avenged an opening week loss to the Apaches, 22-8, on Aug. 26 in Kilgore.
KC also missed the playoffs as Trinity Valley (defeated Cisco 31-21 in Athens), Northeastern Oklahoma (defeated Blinn 35-26 in Brenham) and Blinn all tied for first place at 5-2. Navarro (4-3) gets the fourth spot by virtue of its win over Kilgore.
The SWJCFC semifinals are scheduled for next Saturday with Navarro visiting TVCC and Blinn traveling to NEO.
The Rangers held the Apaches to 165 total yards, including just 20 yards rushing.
The Apaches were hurt by three lost fumbles (two on punt returns inside the TJC 20) and two interceptions (Koreenza Credit and Edward Hayes). Recovering fumbles for KC were DJ Hicks, Reanult Griffin and Darius Anderson.
TJC's Darien Wilson recovered a fumble.
After starting QB Jacob Frazier was just 3 of 11 passing for 7 yards, Kilpatrick came on to hit on 16 of 24 passing attempts for 149 yards and two TD passes. He also added 59 yards rushing, including a 21-yard TD dash.
TJC's Ethan Rose had two big punt returns. The first was 52 yards that set up JT Smith's 5-yard TD run and the second was for 53 yards and a touchdown.
SMOKE SIGNALS: The TJC homecoming queen and king were Madison Jantzen and James Loya. Both represented Phi Theta Kappa. … The TJC band entertained the fans for the fifth quarter.
Kilgore College 31,
Tyler Junior College 20
Kilgore 3 7 14 7 - 31
Tyler 3 10 7 0 - 20
KC-FG Jose Goite 36, 10:11.
TJC-FG Tyler Dunlop 26, 5:05.
TJC-JT Smith 5 run (Dunlop kick), 14:34.
TJC-FG Tyler Dunlop 29, 4:20.
KC-Zach Newbell 2 pass from Jalil Kilpatrick (Goite kick), :11.
TJC-Ethan Rose 53 punt return (Dunlop kick), 13:08.
KC-Lucky Daniels 8 pass from Kilpatrick (Goite kick), 7:04.
KC-Carlos Frank 11 run (Goite kick), 2:42.
KC-Kilpatrick 21 run (Goite kick), 11:54.
EST. ATT. -6,000.
First Downs 21 11
Rushes-Yards 44-215 27-20
Passing Yards 156 145
Comp.-Att.-Int. 19-38-0 15-33-2
Punts-Avg. 9-29.4 8-33.8
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 4-3
Penalties-Yards 13-130 12-115
RUSHING-KILGORE, Kilpatrick 9-59, Tuggle 7-37, Smith 8-37, Thomas 1-30, Frazier 9-28, Frank 6-20, McCullers 3-5, Team 1-(-1). TYLER, Smith 11-35, Fuller 7-10, Russell 2-7, Team 1-(-1), Watson 2-(-7), Crawford 3-(-12), Gerber 1-(-12).
PASSING-KILGORE, Kilpatrick 16-24-0 149 yards, Frazier 3-11-0 7 yards, McCullers 0-3-0. TYLER, Gerber 9-19-1 83 yards, Watson 6-11-0 62 yards, Crawford 0-2-0, High 0-1-1.
RECEIVING-KILGORE, Mackey 5-22, Hicks 4-44, Nash-Kelly 3-34, Daniels 3-17, Rollins 2-37, Thomas 1-7, Jones 1-(-5). TYLER, High 6-41, Ward 4-36, Smith 3-29, Williams 1-29, Bell 1-10.