The East Texas towns of Carthage and Kilgore are separated by fewer than 45 miles, the high school teams are both nicknamed Bulldogs, and both wear red and white as school colors.
The rivals had met 48 times entering Friday’s Class 3A Division I state championship at AT&T Stadium.
In a battle of offensive powerhouses, Carthage prevailed over Kilgore 34-23 to win its fourth state championship in school history.
Carthage (15-1) relied on senior quarterback and UT San Antonio commit Blake Bogenschutz as it has done all season.
Named the offensive MVP of the game with his 285 total yards, Bogenschutz connected with Marquise Guinn on a 6-yard pass in the first quarter to give Carthage a 7-0 lead.
Kevrin Justice provided the offensive punch throughout the game when Kilgore (14-1) needed an answer. Justice tied the score at 7-7 in the first quarter on a 1-yard run, his first of two touchdowns.
Terian Goree added two touchdown runs, including the go-ahead 13-yard run with 2:34 left in the second quarter to give Carthage a 14-7 lead.
A 39-yard field goal by Christian Galvan cut the Carthage lead to 14-10 heading into the locker room.
The crowd of 17,641 saw Carthage sprint out of the gates to open the second half and put the game away with 14 unanswered points in the third quarter.
Bogenschutz hit O’Keeron Rutherford on a 51-yard touchdown pass and Goree scored on a 10-yard run to give Carthage a 28-10 lead.
Kilgore made a fourth-quarter push when quarterback Benny Colbert bolted 32 yards for the score.
Aaron Foy’s interception of a Bogenschutz pass deep in Carthage territory set up Justice’s 1-yard touchdown run to cut the Carthage lead to 28-23.
With no timeouts remaining, Kilgore needed a stop and the ball back.
Carthage’s Tevin Pipkin, who finished with a game-high 118 yards, put the finishing touches to the title game with his 24-yard touchdown run with under a minute to go.