NC-Kil 2

Defense, with 6 picks, throttles KC, 36-17

By MIKE MONTFORT   —  Navarro lost starting quarterback Bivins Caraway after the first series and someone had to step up.  First to volunteer was the Bulldog defense and back-up quarterback Devlin Isadore wasn’t far behind.

The Bulldogs took a 36-17 win and rode a sensational defensive effort in its crucial conference game here Saturday against Kilgore.

Coach Scott Joseph’s defensive unit came to the rescue and set the tone — squashing the Ranger running game on 60 yards from 31 attempts, recording five sacks and picking off six passes from three frustrated KC quarterbacks.

That relentless pressure allowed Isadore an opportunity to settle down and gain confidence with reps as the night grew longer.

NC-Kil 1Stars on that defense were many, including top-tackling linebackers J.B. Copeland (20), Jake Blomstrom (15) and Ty Thomas (11), along with secondary members Aaron Brown (12) and Brayleon Thorns (11).  Together, they accounted for about 63 percent of Navarro’s tackles (69-of-109).

And then, there was the six-pic pack that thwarted KC rallies and set up Navarro with short fields during the second half.  Freshman Robert Satterwhite intercepted two passes, while Byron Walker, Aaron Foy, Brown and Thorns each picked off one.

The six-interception game is a first for NC, at least since 1994.  NC had a five-interception games a total of 7 times over the last 21 years.  The last four games with five interceptions occurred here at Tiger Stadium. Moreover, the last two of those were against Kilgore (a 45-10 win on September 25, 2010 and a 24-10 semifinal playoff victory November 8, 2009).

NC-Kil 4Isadore replaced Caraway and settled in to lead Navarro’s offense to 36 points and 337 yards.  Isadore completed 10-of-20 passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns as the ‘Dogs broke a 12-10 halftime lead.

NC scored most every way imaginable — two passing and two rushing touchdowns, plus two Patrick O’Brien field goals (37 and 25), a safety, and a one-point safety awarded after a blocked extra-point conversion try.

Isadore threw TD passes of 6 yards to Marcus Anderson in the second period and a 16-yarder to Del’Michael High with 4:49 left in the third quarter.

Leading rushers Josh Cleveland (10-95) and Kijana Amous (18-79) each produced fourth-quarter scores.  Amous bulled in from three yards out with 13:16 left in the contest, while Cleveland sprinted 37 for the game’s final score with 4:26 to play.

D.J. Collins recorded the safety and gave NC a 5-3 lead with 4:48 before halftime.  Collins tackled KC running back D’Onta Allen as he received a handoff in the endzone.

Photos By Keith Speer

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Navarro 36, Kilgore 17
Kilgore             3         0           7           7         — 17
Navarro           3          9          7          17        —  36
First Quarter
N — Patrick O’Brien 37 FG, 5:10
Second Quarter
K — Troy Duran 39 FG, 10:57
N — D’Onta Allen tackled in end zone, 4:48
N — Marcus Anderson 6 pass from Devlin Isadore (O’Brien kick), 1:16
Third Quarter
K — Jaylen Fails 32 pass from Cameron Martin (Duran kick), 10:52
N — Del’Michael High 16 pass from Isadore (1-point safety; KC player tackled in end zone after blocked kick), 4:49
Fourth Quarter
N — Kijana Amous 3 run (O’Brien kick), 13:16
N — O’Brien 25 FG, 7:16
K — Martinez Syria 34 pass from Martin (Duran kick), 6:01
N — Josh Cleveland 37 run (O’Brien kick), 4:26

YARDSTICK        K               N
First Downs             16              16
Rushes-Yards      31-60      42-199
Passing              23-40-5     10-21-1
Passing Yards          231           138
Punting                    2-40        5-42
Fumbles                     2-1         3-3
Penalties                  8-45       8-83

INDIVIDUAL

RUSHING — Navarro: Kijana Amous 18-79 , Bivins Caraway 2-4, Josh Cleveland 10-95, Marcus Anderson 4-10, Devlin Isadore 8-11. K: Martinez Syria 12-0, Jaylen Fails 10-57, Damion Collins 3-(-1), D’Onta Allen 1-(-1), Cameron Martin 5-5.

PASSING — Navarro: Caraway 0-1-0-0, Isadore 10-20-1-138. Kilgore: Josh Bolfing 3-7-2-23, Martin 10-20-1-161, Fails 10-13-2-47.

RECEIVING — Navarro: Timothy Taylor 1-6 , Del’Michael High 4-97 , Amous 1-9, Marcus Anderson 1-22, Dominique Harris 2-8, Calvin Jones 1-9; Kilgore: Kyle McBride 2-12, Garrett Barton 2-8, Rashad Williams 5-13, Syria 4-77, Alex Latham 3-32, Fails 7-89.

KICKOFF RETURNS — Navarro: Warren Flye 2-62, Devon Smith 1-11; Kilgore: Marquice Dye 6-137.

FREE KICK RETURN — N: Smith 1-35