PALESTINE - “3-0 is better than 0-3.”
Palestine coach Lance Angel said it best in the post-game interview in what was a hard-fought battle between Palestine and Kaufman.
Back-and-forth scoring proved to be the way that this game was going to go from the start.
Coming out of the gate, two plays into the game, Palestine quarterback Gee Clark threw a pass intended for wide receiver Sheldon Watson that just didn’t quite get there. Instead, it went into the hands of a Lion defender and was taken the other way for five yards.
From there, it would only take five plays from the Kaufman Lions before running back Josh Ramirez ran in the first score of the game from 15 yards out. With the extra point tacked on, the score was 7-0 in favor of the Lions just 11:13 into the game.
Palestine was able to get the ball rolling two possessions later as it took only four plays to score the first Wildcat touchdown of the night from a Gee Clark pass to Sheldon Watson. This time it was not intercepted, but instead it was a score from 24 yards out.
The next two possessions, one for the Wildcats and one for the Lions, were both scoring drives with Kaufman’s coming first. Running back LaXavier Battee rushed in the go-ahead touchdown for the Lions from 2 yards out to bring the score to 14-6.
Another touchdown pass from Clark to Palestine wide receiver Chris Weaver for a wide-open 54-yard bomb brought the score to 14-12. All-around player Jarrell Owens ran the ball in for Palestine on the two-point conversion to tie the game at 14.
One rushing touchdown and one passing touchdown from Clark after that brought the score to 28-21 at halftime as Kaufman had scored another touchdown as well.
Angel said he was proud of the result of his team as it moved to 3-0 on the season.
“Well, it was a hard-fought game,” Angel said. “I don’t think we came out with much energy, and I take blame for that. We’ll fix that. Kaufman is a good football team that’s just going to get better each week. We fought hard at the end and won the ball game. We were in a situation where kids had to step up and make plays, and they did.”
The second half is where the scoring slowed down and the defense stepped up. With six minutes left in the third quarter, Kaufman scored on a 7-yard touchdown from Ramirez to bring the score to 28-28.
A lot of back-and-forth ball movement with no scoring was played throughout the rest of the third quarter and deep into the fourth quarter.
A 10-play drive set up by the Wildcats in the fourth quarter proved to be the deciding drive. With 8:08 left in the game, the running game was on. Running back Ben Luckett for Palestine rushed six times in the drive, including the game-winning touchdown from 3 yards out.
Angel said he is glad that this game is under their belts and that the Wildcats have started the season strong.
“Obviously 3-0 is better than 0-3,” Angel said. “I thought the kids have responded nicely each week. They’ve worked hard in practice, and the reward in that is right now being 3-0. We show up on Monday, though, as a team that’s 0-0. It’s the start of a new week, and we just have to get ourselves ready.”