The University Interscholastic League continues to keep us interested in what's going on with the state of fall sports and how exactly it'll look. With schools resuming summer workouts Monday, and mandatory practices just a few weeks away, we'll take an early look at how the schedule pans out for the Palestine Wildcats.
The Wildcats will participate in two scrimmages before their season opener. Aug. 14, Palestine, Madisonville and Hallsville will have a three-team scrimmage at Wildcats stadium – beginning at 6:30 p.m. Palestine will travel to Wills Point for their second scrimmage, Aug. 20, at 6:30 p.m.
Aug. 28, Palestine opens their season against former district opponent Van Vandals. The Wildcats attempted to rally back from a 21-7 fourth-quarter deficit in their Oct. 18 meeting last season. Quarterback Christian Hutchinson and Marquis Thompson teamed up for a 91-yard pass play that cut the deficit to seven with three minutes left in the game, but ultimately fell 21-14.
Van finished the season 6-4 before moving to District 7-4A Division II this year.
Sept. 4, the Wildcats hosts the Jacksonvile Indians – who rallied back from a 20-point halftime deficit to defeat the Wildcats 49-48 at Wildcat Stadium in the annual battle between Hwy. 79 rivals. That would be one of only two wins for the 5A-DII Indians as they struggled defensively throughout the season. They gave up 40 points in six of their contests.
Palestine ends their back-to-back home stand gainst the Rusk Eagles. Palestine handled business against the Eagles last year – defeating them 32-14. The Class 4A team ended their season 3-8.
Sept. 18, Palestine visits 4A Waco Connally. Head coach Lance Angel and his Wildcats opened their 2019 season matched against the highly-ranked Cadets. A 20-20 score at half ended in a 46-27 defeat to Waco Connally for the Wildcats last year.
The Cadets finished the season 12-0 before losing in the regional round of the playoffs to Gilmer. The Wildcats will look for different results in their pre-district finale this year.
Even with district realignment, Palestine has some familiar faces on their district slate beginning with the Kilgore Bulldogs on Sept. 25. The Wildcats held Kilgore to seven points to take a 21-7 win.
Mabank is the first new face the Wildcats will see this season as they his the road Oct. 2. Mabank finished 1-4 in District 9-4A last year.
The Wildcats return home Oct. 9 for senior night against Chapel Hill. Chapell Hill finished 0-5 last year in District 10-4A.
The Bulldogs fell in their season finale against the Wildcats, 28-21, after Palestine held a 28-0 over their district rival at halftime.
Oct. 16, Palestine hits the road against for a battle against the Henderson Lions. A chilly 46-degree night couldn't keep the Palestine Wildcats' offense from heating up in a 41-19 district opener win over the Henderson Lions last season. 19 points was the second lowest output for the Lions throughout district play. Palestine's 41 points was also the most Henderson had given up that season.
Homecoming comes Oct. 23 against the Athens Hornets in a possible renewed rivalry. The Hornets finished the regular season 6-4 last year before taking a first-round exit against Carthage, 49-14.
Palestine wraps up their season Oct. 30 against Lindale before observing their district bye week during the final week of the season.
Coach Angel hopes to have control of their playoff destiny before their Nov. 6 off week.