By BRYAN URBACH
PALESTINE — PALESTINE – Sometimes you run into a better team.
At least that’s how Palestine felt after losing a tough game to the undefeated Fairfield Eagles on Friday night by way of a 54-0 shutout.
With playoffs just around the corner, the Palestine Wildcats had to go through Fairfield first, and the Wildcats came into the match with high spirits. The game felt like a playoff game from the start as the Wildcats and Eagles both came out of the gate a little bit gun-shy.
The Wildcats started off with the ball and weren’t able to do much with it, which ended up being the story of the night as Palestine finished with about 20 yards of total offense. With fumbles and interceptions returned for touchdowns, this was not the game Palestine wanted to have coming into playoffs.
With such a lopsided score, there were definitely a few victories for the Wildcats that they can take away from the match. After the first quarter, Palestine had given up only one touchdown and it was a 7-0 game. Even right before halftime, the game still wasn’t over as the Wildcats had the game close at 21-0 before Palestine quarterback Gee Clark threw a pick-six with no time left on the clock.
Even with the rough finish for the Wildcats, Palestine coach Lance Angel said there was something to be learned from this game, and that was to have the mentality to not dwell on the performance and move on mentally for next week’s playoff game.
“Something we can take away from this game is the fact that we’re still playing Jasper next Friday at SFA,” Angel said. “That’s a great football team they have over there in Fairfield. Obviously, we gave them some extra opportunities. We had some turnover issues and you can’t do that against a great team.
“The score doesn’t indicate it, but I thought our defense played great,” he added. “We never could get anything going offensively and it just eventually caught up with us.”
With the stands packed pre-game, the Wildcats came into the match with a great intensity about them. Being able to hold the Eagles early in the game was something that the team will build off going into the playoffs.
“We’ve been in some big games this year,” Angel said. “Our kids will be fired up for the playoffs. What they have to do is wake up in the morning, we’ll watch film and then we’ll put this one behind us.”