KILGORE — Charleston Higginbotham blocked a 34-yard field goal with 55 seconds left to preserve Tyler Junior College’s 34-31 heart-stopping win over rival Kilgore College on Saturday night at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium.

The Apaches (2-0) withstood Kilgore (0-2) scoring 19 points in the fourth quarter and regained the lead when freshman quarterback Randy Price hit a wide open Randall Weeks in the end zone for a 21-yard touchdown.

Isaac Arellano booted the extra point to make it 34-31 with 3:40 left in the non-conference game. Antonio Anderson set up the Apaches near midfield with a 30-yard kickoff return, and former Sulphur Springs standout Ryan Young ran for 23 yards on first down.

The Rangers took the ensuing possession and drove from their 27 to the TJC 16, hurting the Apaches on the ground with Vincent Moore. The defense stiffened on back-to-back plays to force third down, and Andrew Jackson threw incomplete to bring on the field-goal try.

The Rangers were let down by their special teams the entire night as they had a punt blocked, a field goal blocked and missed two extra points.

Price, from Waco University, had a big night for the Apaches with 197 yards passing, 51 yards rushing and three touchdowns — two passing and one rushing.

The Apaches enjoyed a crisp first half on offense, scoring on drives of 13 and 11 plays while also hitting paydirt from long distance.

TJC won the toss, received the opening kickoff and marched 80 yards for a 7-0 lead with 9:06 left in the first quarter. Price completed 4 of 6 passes for 57 yards and then scored on a 4-yard keeper.

After Kilgore punted on its first series, the Apaches drove from their 18 to the KC 2 only to settle for Carlos Rabago’s 19-yard field goal and a 10-0 lead after the first quarter. Price converted a pair of third downs — completing a 35-yard pass to Claiborne and keeping 24 yards to the 2.

The Rangers pulled within 10-6 on the ensuing series when Jackson found Jacolby Stokes for 45 yards. The PAT was no good after the kick bounced off the upright.

Patrick Howard, a sophomore from Robert E. Lee, blocked a Kilgore punt early in the second quarter to set up freshman Ridge Wilson’s 30-yard TD scamper over right end. Isaac Arellano kicked the extra point to give the Apaches an 11-point lead, 17-6.

After forcing a three-and-out, the Apaches kept the ball for eight plays but came away with no points after Arellano missed a 48-yard field goal. A holding penalty wrecked the drive, negating a great catch by Claiborne to the 5-yard line.

However, the former Carthage star receiver would get another chance — but only after Kilgore’s Vincent Moore broke three tackles at the line and scored on a 61-yard run to bring the Rangers within 17-12.

Claiborne got his shot five plays later, streaking down the sideline and hauling in a 33-yard TD pass from Price, who had 202 yards of total offense in the first half.


Tyler 34, Kilgore 31

At R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium

Tyler   10  14  0   10   —  34

Kilgore  6   6   0   19   —  31

First Quarter

TJC—Randy Price 4 run (Isaac Arellano kick), 9:06.

TJC—FG 19 Carlos Rabago, 1:14.

KC—Jacolby Stokes 45 pass from Andrew Jackson (kick failed), :00.

Second Quarter

TJC—Ridge Wilson 30 run (Arellano kick), 10:11.

KC—Vincent Moore 61 run (pass failed), 4:30.

TJC—Jalen Claiborne 33 pass from Price (Arellano kick), 2:58.

Fourth Quarter

TJC—FG 22 Arellano, 14:50.

KC—Andrew Jackson 3 run (pass failed), 14:16.

KC—Olin Terry 2 run (kick failed), 9:17.

KC—Damon Barrett 20 interception return (Dylan Nowak kick), 4:45.

TJC—Randall Weeks 21 pass from Price (Arellano kick), 3:40.

EST. ATT. — 4,000.

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