LONGVIEW — Riley Toler connected on 11 of 17 passes for 223 yards and a couple of touchdowns as the Kilgore Bulldogs broke open a close contest to notch a 35-13 District 14-4A triumph over Pine Tree on Friday.
Toler threw touchdown passes of 8 yards to tight end AJ Davis and 42 to Rashaad Edwards as the Bulldogs pulled away in the second half of what had been a three-point contest at halftime.
Kilgore, winner of three straight, improved to 3-2 overall and 2-0 in league play. Pine Tree dropped to 0-5 and 0-2, respectively, under first year coach Derek Fitzhenry.
Bright spots in the losing effort for the Bucs were junior quarterback Jack Oden and senior fullback Victor Butler. Oden led all ball carriers with 117 yards on 16 carries, while Butler contributed 103 yards on 19 totes.
The Bulldogs caught a huge break in the third quarter when a muffed punt extended a drive. Ladarius Austin recovered the miscue and the end result was Toler’s 8-yard pitch-and-catch with Davis at 9:30 of the quarter. Hugo Orta nailed the point after to give Kilgore a little breathing room at 17-7.
Good fortune continued to shine on the Bulldogs when a near-interception turned into a 67-yard pass play between Toler and Shelton Tolliver. Byrondrick Davis narrowly missed out on a pass theft as Tolliver wheeled it down to the Pine Tree three yard line. One snap later, Dondra Halton plowed across the goal line to make it 24-7 with still 5:04 showing in the third.
Xavier McCoo strolled in on a toss right to polish off a 12-play, 73-yard Pirate drive less than a minute into the final quarter. The point after attempt by Andrew Procell was blocked and retired 80 yards for a 2-point conversion by Jake Brantley.
Toler closed out the offensive scoring with his 42 yard strike to Edwards at 8:46 of the fourth and a safety on a botched punt attempt rounded put the scoring with just over two minutes to play.