By DALTON DUHON
GROESBECK — A down to the wire wild finish in Groesbeck Friday night saw the Palestine Wildcats walk away with their third victory in district by a final score of 30-23.
The Wildcats jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter thanks to a 20-yard interception return for a touchdown by Jadarius Beasley late in the first; and then as the quarter came to a close, a 23-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Gee Clark to senior wide receiver Jordan Anthony.
The second quarter saw the game turn into a defensive battle as both teams changed possessions until the final two minutes, when Groesbeck finally got on the board with a 10-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Colt McCoy to senior wide receiver Matt Barnes to cut into the Wildcats' lead.
On the ensuing extra point attempt, the hold was fumbled and picked up by Palestine and returned for two points to make the score at halftime, 16-6.
At the start of the second half, the Wildcats received the kick and fumbled, turning the ball over deep in their own territory. However, the Palestine defense held firm and the Goats were forced to punt.
Midway through the third quarter after an impressive drive, the Wildcats extended their 10-point lead with a 17-yard touchdown run by junior Jarrell Owens, making the score 23-6.
The Goats answered exactly 20 seconds later with a 40-yard touchdown run from senior running back Terrell Miles, drawing closer to the Wildcats 23-13.
More turnovers gave the ball back to Groesbeck, and the Goats' offense capitalized on Palestine's fumbling issue with a 25-yard touchdown pass from McCoy to Barnes for their second scoring connection of the game, making the score a slim 23-20 lead in favor of Palestine.
The fourth quarter became a battle of wills, as neither team's defense nudged until midway through the quarter as the Groesbeck offense marched down inside the Wildcat five yard line, Palestine's defense stiffened up and forced the Goats to settle for a 23-yard field goal that evened the game up at 23-23.
The Palestine offense responded one more time with just under four minutes to go in the game with a 44-yard run courtesy of Beasley again. The touchdown gave the Wildcats the lead, 30-23. It would be up to the Palestine defense to secure the victory.
Groesbeck's offense methodically marched down the field, thanks in large part to a gutsy gadget play that saw quarterback McCoy on the receiving end of a 25-yard pass.
The Goats offense continued the drive inside the five yard line, where on fourth and goal from the one yard line, McCoy attempted a quarterback sneak, which was denied by the Wildcat defense.
The turnover on downs secured the win for the Wildcats as they defeated Groesbeck by a final score of 30-23.
The win ties Palestine at the top of the district standings with Fairfield with both teams sitting at 3-0 in district.