The Navarro Bulldogs suffered a devastating blow Saturday night when quarterback Parker McNeil, who was leading the nation in passing, left the game in Kilgore in the third quarter after being injured.
Navarro coach Scott Parr said McNeil has an upper body injury and that he's listed as "day-to-day."
Kilgore led 28-26 when McNeil left the game and the No. 6 Rangers went on to defeat Navarro 43-33.
The Bulldogs used backup quarterback Qua Gray, who did not complete a pass and left the game with an injury during his second series, and QB Dodge Delozier, a freshman from Hereford
Delozier led the Dawgs on a 96-yard, 11-play drive and closed the gap to 43-33 with a 21-yard touchdown pass to Troy Edwards, who made a nice catch in the corner of the end zone with 4:56 left in the game.
McNeil led the NJCAA in passing in 2018 and led the nation coming into the Kilgore game after he threw for 416 yards and three touchdowns in Navarro's opening night loss to Georgia Military.
McNeil completed 15-of-21 passes for 185 yards in the first half Saturday and left the game with 255 yards in the air after completing 5-of-10 passes in the third quarter before suffering the injury.
Parr was impressed with Delozier, who played for the first time for the Bulldogs.
"He did a real good job for having limited practice," Parr said. "He's the son of a high school coach. He's very smart.
"We've been in this situation before when I was here at Navarro as the offensive coordinator. I've got to do a good job of getting him prepared."
Delozier completed 3-of-7 passes for 40 yards on his touchdown drive. But Kilgore had built a 43-26 lead by then. Edwards led the Bulldogs receivers with six receptions for 87 yards.
The Bulldogs, who trailed 14-0 after the first quarter, came back and knotted things at 14. Brandon Theus scored on a 1-yard run and Keaton Dudik had a 5-yard TD run. Dudik led Navarro's ground game with 72 yards on 16 carries.
The Rangers led 21-14 with 8:34 left in the half after Jacob Frazier threw his second touchdown pass of the game -- 27-yarder to Kevin Lafular that completed a 70-yard drive, but Navarro just kept coming back.
Will McDaniel kicked a 35-yard field goal with four minutes left and nailed a 20-yarder with 1:39 left in the half to close to 21-20, but Frazier connected with Omar Manning for a 25-yard TD with 52 seconds left to lift Kilgore to a 28-20 halftime lead.
McDaniel and the Dawgs just kept kicking and he hit a 28-yard field goal and a 38-yard field goal to close to 28-26 with 10:06 left in the third.
McNeil was injured on Navarro's next possession, and Gray came into the game and threw the first of two interceptions. Kilgore drove 27 yards and scored on Frazier's 1-yard run to take control 35-26 with 4:29 left in the fourth.
Gray's second interception set the Rangers up at the Kilgore 46, and they drove 54 yards and scored on Frazier's 22-yard pass to Scooter Adams for a 43-26 lead. Frazier left after completing 17-of-27 passes for 331 yards and four touchdowns.
Navarro is now 0-2 after losing to two nationally ranked teams and dropping its conference opener to Kilgore. The Bulldogs, who began the season ranked No. 18 in the nation in the NJCAA preseason poll, face Blinn, which was ranked No. 11, but lost to Tyler Saturday in a key conference game. Kilgore hammered Tyler 35-10 in the season opener.
"We're going to continue to build on the positives," said Parr, whose Bulldogs will play their first home game at 7 Saturday night at Tiger Stadium on Military Appreciation Night.
"We improved on our special teams from our first game," he said, "and our defense continued to make plays. We scored 30 points for the second game in a row and we can build on that.
"I like the fight of our team," he said.