By BRYAN URBACH
NACOGDOCHES – A 44-34 loss has the Palestine Wildcats out of the playoffs and ending their season.
The Wildcats weren’t able to muster up enough strength to defeat the Jasper Bulldogs as they lost the game at Stephen F. Austin State University at Homer Bryce Stadium Friday.
With 3:27 left in the game, the Wildcats had just gotten a turnover and were driving down the field to score the game-winning points — they were down 37-34. A bad snap and a fumble cost the Wildcats the ball, and ultimately, the game.
Palestine quarterback Gee Clark had an impressive performance as he threw the ball for 115 yards on 4-6 passing. Palestine running back Ben Luckett led the team in rushing with 151 yards rushing and a touchdown. He also had a receiving touchdown in his senior season finale.
In Jarrell Owens’ finale, running back, he rushed the ball 12 times for 78 yards and a touchdown. The TCU commit also had a receiving touchdown on the night. All of the senior class had a good night, and Palestine coach Lance Angel said he was proud of his team’s performance.
“Well, we came out and I thought we played a great first half,” Angel said. “They started playing us fast in the second half and we had trouble getting lined up defensively. They got us down there and got a safety and that’s really what ends up deciding the game. Our kids fought and we never gave up. I’m proud of them for that.”
Late in the fourth quarter when Palestine got the touchback and had the ball driving for the end zone and the win, Angel said he thought his team had it.
“It was a huge play and momentum shifter,” Angel said. “Somebody made a big strip and at that time, I thought we were fixing to go down the field and score. It just wasn’t meant to be for us tonight. Hats off to Jasper, they had a great team.”
The senior class, filled with college-recruited players, has now played their final games as seniors and Angel said it was a memorable season for the seniors, and they should be proud.
“When I came here, those guys were freshmen,” Angel said. “That’s definitely a special group, and we’re going to miss them. I hate that they had to go out like this, but it’s a great group and they have a lot to be proud of. I love every one of them.”