LINDALE – The Palestine Wildcats were forced into a sizable first-half hole that was the crux behind their 52-20 district finale loss against the Lindale Eagles Friday.
The Wildcats trailed 38-7 as they exited the locker rooms after intermission. Three first-half touchdowns run from Baylor commit Jordan Jenkins allowed the Eagles to take early control of the game.
Lindale opened the game with a momentum seizing kickoff return from Jenkins that was followed by a Sam Peterson 50-yard touchdown pass to Jakob Seekford on the first play from scrimmage.
A Wildcat three-and-out on their opening possession led to a 37-yard field goal from Lindale and a quick 10-0 lead.
The Wildcats offense began to develop some groove on their drive. Big runs from Jakaryon Conley and Shedrick Dudley put Palestine inside Eagle territory.
Conley placed punctuation on the drive with six minutes left in the first when he outsprinted the defense for a 24-yard touchdown.
The ensuing extra point made it 10-7, Lindale.
Lindale's offense, however, did not slow down. A 26-yard run from Peterson set up Jenkin's first touchdown of the night on a three-yard run.
Momentum stayed on Lindale's sideline as De'Myzean Martin's attempted to throw across the middle was intercepted and returned for a 30-yard touchdown by Airik Williams.
A pair of short Jenkins touchdowns extended the lead to 38-7. Palestine had a chance to forge a drive before halftime but missed their opportunity due to bad handoffs.
They got down to the Lindale six-yard line before a pair of fumbles, along with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, forced them into a fourth-and-goal from midfield.
Palestine's offense was the first to hit the field in the second half. A methodical 15-play drive was capped off with a three-yard touchdown run from Shedrick Dudley. The Wildcat offense needed a pair of fourth-down conversions and a third-down conversion to complete their drive.
Palestine's defense shared a bit of the second half momentum and forced Lindale into their first punt of the night. Unfortunately, that defensive stand was followed with a strip-sack from the Lindale defense after they forced Palestine into a fourth-and-15.
The Eagles began on the PHS 42 and only needed three plays for Peterson to run it in the endzone from 31 yards out.
Down 45-13, Palestine was once again forced to punt after just three plays.
Lindale took the opportunity to pile on the points as Peterson scored, yet again, on a designed quarterback run – this time on fourth-and-11 from 25 yards out. Lindale was able to convert a third-and-16 a few plays later on a screen to DJ Walton.
Palestine still showed fight as Taj'Shawn Wilson finished the game with a 92-yard touchdown run with 1:34 left.
The Wildcats will have a bye next week before having to prepare for their bi-district match.