KILGORE — A 42-yard Benny Colbert pass interception return highlighted another solid performance by the Kilgore defense as the No. 5-ranked Bulldogs opened District 16-3A play-for-keeps with a decisive 41-0 victory over Spring Hill on Friday night at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium.

The interception was the Kilgore cornerback’s third in two weeks, and was just one of five turnovers the Panthers lost. Colbert also recovered one of four Spring Hill fumbles.

Kilgore shares a piece of the district lead with other opening night winners, Gilmer and Henderson.

Talk about field position. The Bulldogs started six of their eight possessions in Spring Hill territory. Joining Colbert with fumble recoveries in the district opener for both teams were Hector Peralez, who returned an interception a week ago for a touchdown against Mount Pleasant, linebacker A.J. Davis and defensive lineman LaDarrin Anthony.

Kilgore’s defense, which has allowed only two touchdowns in four games, tossed another shutout. Spring Hill did reach the Kilgore 15-yard line once, but fumbled the opportunity away, setting the stage for the Bulldogs’ longest scoring drive of the night — 88 yards in 10 plays.

Bulldogs’ quarterback Cooper Coldiron completed a 41-yard scoring pass to sophomore wide receiver Nick Orange, and the Bulldogs (4-0) added scoring runs of 7 and 9 yards from JuJu Brown to go with a 14-yard scamper by Austin Jordan and a 22-yard touchdown run by Kevrin Justice.

Kilgore finished with 307 yards of total offense. Jordan led the rushing attack, which accumulated 192 yards on 32 carries, with 62 on eight carries.

Coldiron was 6 of 10 passing for 115 yards and a touchdown. Orange was his leading receiver with two receptions for 48 yards. Aaron Foy also had two catches for 25 yards.

Spring Hill (2-3, 0-1) finished with 212 yards rushing and 17 yards passing. The leading rusher for the Panthers was Trenton Craig, who had 90 yards on 20 carries. Quarterback Ben Hollas added 77 yards. Hollas was 1 of 5 passing with one interception. His completion was a 17-yard strike to Nick McKee.

Kilgore got on the scoreboard for the first time, following a Spring Hill fumble, which was recovered by cornerback Benny Colbert at the Panthers’ 41-yard line with 6:33 remaining in the first quarter. A 41-yard pass completion from Coldiron to Orange put the Ragin’ Red ahead to stay 7-0, after Hector Peralez converted the first of five extra points. Orange made the reception at the Panthers’ 15, broke a tackle and outran the pursuing Spring Hill defense to the end zone. The drive took 50 seconds.

The Bulldogs extended their lead to 20 with a couple of short Brown runs in the second quarter. The first of those was a 7-yard run, which capped an impressive 10-play, 88-yard march. Kilgore’s next scoring drive came on its very next possession – following a short, 14-yard Hollas punt. The Bulldogs navigated 43 yards in seven plays with Brown scoring on a 9-yard scamper with 3:01 left in the first half.

Kilgore held a 36-yard edge in total yards at halftime, 170 to 134.

——

Kilgore 41, Spring Hill 0

At R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium, Kilgore

Spring Hill 0000 -- 0

Kilgore713714 -- 41

First Quarter

KIL — Cooper Coldiron 41 pass to Nick Orange (Hector Peralez kick), 5:43.

Second Quarter

KIL — JuJu Brown 7 run (Peralez kick), 8:23.

KIL — Brown 9 run (Kick failed), 3:01.

Third Quarter

KIL — Austin Jordan 14 run (Peralez kick), 3:45.

Fourth Quarter

KIL — Benny Colbert 42 pass interception return (Peralez kick), 9:55.

KIL — Kevrin Justice 22 run (Peralez kick), 1:49.

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