Palestine Wildcats

Palestine quarterback Jarrod Walker scrambles and attempts a pass against the Jacksonville Indians.

RUSK – Palestine head coach Lance Angel said his offense is designed to improve as the season progresses. That was proven last week as the Wildcats hung 51 points on the Jacksonville Indians.

The prior week of panic and overreactions from Wildcat fans was met with a 24-point victory over rival Jacksonville. The Wildcats had over 300 yards rushing and six rushing touchdowns.

“We're being level-headed,” Angel said. “You have to take the wins with the losses and come out each week trying to get better. We've had a low and an up now, so now it's time to figure out that balance.”

Palestine's offense will be put to the test against a Rusk defense allowing 16.5 points per game in their first two contests. Still, Dave Campbell has the Eagles as nine point underdogs to the visiting Wildcats.

They're also expecting to get Taj'Shawn Wilson back this week after he missed last week's game in Jacksonville.

Palestine won 2020's game against Rusk, 23-13, on a night where the Wildcats had three fumbles and an interception thrown in the first half. Yet, they were able to take a 9-6 advantage into half before eventually taking the win.

The biggest returnee for that Rusk team is quarterback Owen McCown who threw for 1,080 yards and nine touchdowns in 2020. He also added 270 yards rushing and eight touchdowns. He's a Colorado commit and son of NFL quarterback Josh McCown.

Last week against Crockett, McCown completed 19 of 28 passing attempts for 284 yards and two touchdowns. He added 43 yards rushing. Rusk continues to see success on the ground behind running back Jermaine Session – who had 21 carries for 150 yards and two touchdowns.

Also on that list was Chris Perez, with 17 carries for 80 yards and two touchdowns.

Palestine only gave up an impressive 42 yards rushing to Jacksonville on 20 carries, which was severely down from the 271 yards they gave up in week one against Van.

“As good as things looked Friday there's still some stuff to get better at,” Angel said. “We came in Monday and showed the things we could improve. That's been the theme for the week: 'just keep getting better.'”

It'll take effort from the entire Wildcat defensive unit against Rusk, but there have been three defensive names that standout on the stat sheet. Tyler Hunt and Jon Denman both lead Palestine in tackles with19. Ti Crawford is behind them with 15.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Eagle Stadium in Rusk.

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