By BRYAN URBACH
The bright lights of Wildcat Stadium and a local TV audience didn’t stop Palestine from dropping 56 points on 4A Jacksonville.
This match had a lot more scoring than last week’s against Waco La Vega, as the Wildcats came away with a 56-35 victory against the Indians. Coach Lance Angel said he was proud of how his team responded to the big stage and was able to attack the ball early on.
“I thought we came out and played with great intensity in the first half,” Angel said. “The funny thing is that we missed some opportunities in the first half, and we wished we could’ve extended the lead a little bit more, but you have to give credit to Jacksonville.”
Jacksonville indeed played a hard-fought game. Led by Carter McCown, their quarterback who had four touchdown passes in the loss, the Indians wouldn’t go down without a fight.
After the first quarter, Palestine led 13-7 and tried to pull away. The game was at 34-7 in favor of the Wildcats at halftime and Jacksonville looked to be finished.
Coming out of the halftime gate, Angel said the Indians played some of their best football of the night. And they did.
The Indians came out and scored the lone two touchdowns of the third quarter, and Angel said even though Jacksonville scored, he was proud of his team’s effort in getting the win.
“The Indians came out in the second half and really just outplayed us in that third quarter,” Angel said. “But again, we give a ton of credit to our kids and anytime you get a win like that in a rivalry game, we’ll take it.”
Palestine was led by quarterback Gee Clark, who passed for more than 200 yards with two touchdowns, and he also ran it for 79 yards and had three rushing touchdowns. Angel said he gives credit to Clark for being able to give such a performance with so much attention being placed on the running game from the Indians.
“We got a lot of people in the box trying to stop Ben Luckett and Jarrell Owens,” Angel said. “We were thankful to have Gee come in and make some throws in key moments to force the defense to soften up and let the run game happen.”
In the fourth quarter, it was a literal back-and-forth game. Palestine scored the first touchdown of the quarter with a Luckett eight-yard touchdown run with 10:18 left in the game.
This was quickly followed by Jacksonville’s Braylon Parish with a touchdown run of his own of five yards. This run brought the score to 41-28 with Palestine ahead.
Palestine added the next touchdown with a Jarrell Owens 23-yard dash to the house to bring the score to 49-28 after the Wildcats were successful on a two-point conversion.
Jacksonville scored its last touchdown with 4:48 left in the game on a pass to Ja’Vonte Robinson from McCown, which brought the score to 49-35.
With still less than five minutes left in the game, there was still time for one more score, and Palestine was able to do it. PHS running back Marcus Robinson scored from 14 yards out on a run to the outside to bring the final score to 56-35.
The Wildcats came away with the rivalry victory, and they came away with a win on television.