PALESTINE – A second-quarter explosion from the Palestine Wildcats helped them put away the Chapel Hill Bulldogs, 56-28, on senior night inside Wildcat Stadium.
It was a back-and-forth exchange in the first half up until the five-minute mark in the second quarter. Both teams ended their opening possessions with a punt. But it would be Palestine putting the first point on the board with a 23-yard touchdown by Shedrick Dudley on their second drive.
Bulldog Quarterback Cameron Ford responded with leading his team on scoring drives on three of their next four possessions. It began with a 60-yard drive on their second possession that ended with a two-yard touchdown run from Tyson Berry. Solomon Macfoy's 31-yard third-down run two plays prior set up the tying score.
The Wildcats responded with a 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive of their won. Quarterback De'myzean Martin finished the drive with a two-yard QB keeper.
Chapel Hill took over with 11 minutes left until half. A false start penalty on second down backed them up to their 30-yard line. However, Ford's scrambling ability kept their offense from stalling.
On second-and-15, Ford scrambled left and found Macfoy open in the middle of the defense for a 21-yard gain. Two plays later, Ford bombed a deep ball into the hands of an open Iionzo McGregor for a 45-yard touchdown.
Again, Palestine had a response. Taj'Shawn Wilson returned the ensuing kickoff for an 85-yard touchdown. The extra point attempt moved the score to 21-14, Wildcats.
Following a Chapel Hill punt, Palestine marched down the field in seven plays to go up two scores. Jarrod Walker finished off the drive with a four-yard touchdown run that was set up by a 22-yard run from Wilson a few plays prior.
But the familiar Ford-to-McGregor connection put the game back within one score on a 75-yard toss to the streaking receiver. The issue remained in stopping Palestine's offense. A pair of runs from Jakaryon Conley set up a 36-yard touchdown from Wilson.
A turnover on downs for the Bulldogs and a three-and-out from Palestine gave the ball to Chapel Hill on their 20 with 24 seconds left until half. A costly interception thrown to Jermeny Walker on the first play led to a 29-yard touchdown pass for Palestine a play later.
Palestine led 42-21 at the start of the third quarter. Palestine was forced into a turnover-on-downs on their opening second-half possession. The Wildcats defense remained stiff and forced a punt on Chapel Hill's first drive.
Palestine's offense continued their slow start to the final half as they punted after three plays. However, what was a shanked punt bounced off a Chapel Hill defender and was recovered by the Wildcats.
Palestine set up shop on their 27 looking to establish momentum. The Bulldogs watched as Palestine's methodical drive melted time off the clock. Back-to-back third-down conversions from Palestine's Shedrick Dudley kept their drive alive.
Palestine's 10-play drive resulted in a 19-yard touchdown run from Jakaryon Conley. The ensuing extra point put the Wildcats up 49-21.
They handed the ball back to the Bulldogs with 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter after Chapel Hill hadn't touched the ball since the seven-minute mark of the third.
A 14-yard pass from Cameron Ford to Tyson Berry put them on their 41. A couple plays later, facing a third-and-10, Palestine's Dawayln Lewis caught Ford in the backfield for a seven-yard sack – forcing a Chapel Hill punt.
Chapel Hill watched momentum continue to favor the Wildcats. A 50-yard punt return from Wilson put Palestine on the CHS 28. A needed force fumble two plays later by Mason Mumphrey gave the ball back to the Bulldogs offense on their 29.
With eight minutes to go, Ford and Berry began leading their offense down the field. A 10-yard pass from Ford to Berry on third down put the ball in enemy territory.
The two connected again for a 12-yard pitch-and-catch down the seam. The offense continued to march before Berry punched it in from four yards out to reduce their deficit to 49-28 with 3:55 left.
The Wildcats responded with a three-play 62-yard drive that was capped off by a 39-yard touchdown run from Kemon Ross.
Chapel Hill took over with 2:29 left but was forced into a turnover on downs after four plays.
The Wildcats travel to play the Henderson Lions (2-3, 1-1) next Friday.