Even in the middle of May, Saturday’s game at Bruce Field had a big time feel.
In a battle of Top 10 teams, the No. 7-ranked Trinity Valley Cardinals looked to hand the No. 6-ranked Kilgore College Rangers their second straight loss.
In the end, the Rangers (7-1 overall, 6-1 in conference) won 40-36 over the Cardinals to put TVCC in third place in the conference standings.
Both teams came into the contest with their only loss coming to the Cisco College Wranglers. No. 3-ranked Cisco won the conference title with a record of 7-0 after being Tyler Junior College 49-7 Saturday.
Kilgore opened up the scoring on the fourth play of the game as Garrison Johnson scored on a 42-yard run. Tristan Driggers booted the PAT good with 12:58 remaining for the 7-0 lead.
TVCC (6-2 overall and 5-2 in conference play) countered with a Cordrick Dunn two-yard run. Christopher Esqueda booted the PAT good with 10:09 remaining to tie the game at 7.
Kilgore added a safety with 3:14 remaining in the first on a blocked punt in the end zone for the 9-7 lead.
TVCC regained the lead with 13:53 in the second quarter as Matt Morrissey found Jordan Davis on a 21-yard completion. Esqueda booted the PAT good for the 14-9 lead.
Kilgore jumped back into the lead as Malcolm Mays found Willie McCoy for a 41-yard TD with 5:01 remaining. The PAT was fumbled for the 15-14 lead.
Esqueda nailed a 39-yard field goal for the Cardinals with 1:26 remaining in the first half for the 17-15 lead.
Kilgore wrapped up the first half scoring with a 35-yard field goal by Driggers as time ended in the first half for the 18-17 lead.
The back-and-forth affair continued in the third quarter as Esqueda nailed a 28-yard FG with 11:29 remaining to give TVCC a 20-18 lead.
Kilgore native Kenneith Lacey gave the Rangers the lead again with nine minutes remaining in the third on a two-yard run. Driggers booted the PAT good for the 25-20 lead.
Korey King then gave the Cardinals a 26-25 lead with an eight yard run. The Cardinals went for two, but missed on the conversion with 5:14 remaining in the third.
The Rangers continued to trade the lead as Brandon Webb scored on a 53-yard pass from Mays. The Rangers went for two as Red Jones hauled in the two-point conversion for the 33-26 lead with 3:26 remaining.
On fourth and six from the Kilgore six, Morrissey found Cam Camper for the somersault across the end zone. Esqueda booted the PAT good with 14:24 left in regulation to tie the game at 33.
Esqueda then booted a 33-yard field goal with 6:48 remaining for the 36-33 lead for the Cardinals.
McCoy then had an 80-yard reception from Mays as Driggers booted the PAT good for the 40-36 lead. The score happened with 545 remaining in regulation.
Score by quarters
KILGORE 9 9 15 7 – 40
TVCC 7 10 9 10 – 36
KC – Garrison Johnson 42 run (Tristan Driggers kick), 12:58, 0-7.
TVCC – Cordrick Dunn 2 run (Christopher Esqueda kick), 10:09, 7-7.
KC – Safety (punt blocked in the end zone), 3:14, 7-9.
TVCC – Jordan Davis 21 from Matt Morrissey (Esqueda kick), 13:53, 14-9.
KC – Willie McCoy 41 from Malcolm Mays (run failed), 5:01 14-15.
TVCC – Esqueda 39 FG, 1:26, 17-15.
KC – Driggers 35 FG: 00, 17-18.
TVCC – Esqueda 28 FG, 11:29, 20-18.
KC – Kenneith Lacey 2 run (Driggers kick), 9:00, 20-25.
TVCC – Korey King 8 run (pass failed), 5:14, 26-25.
KC – Brandon Webb 53 from Mays (Red Jones from Mays), 3:11, 26-33.
TVCC – Cam Camper 6 from Morrissey (Esqueda kick), 14:24, 33-33.
TVCC – Esqueda 33 FG, 6:48, 36-33.
KC – McCoy 80 yards from Mays (Driggers kick), 5:45, 36-40.