Palestine Wildcats

Wildcat running back Jakaryon Conley shakes a Chapel Hill defender off Friday in their second straight district win. Conley went for over 200 yards for the first time this season.

HENDERSON – With three weeks until the start of the playoffs the Palestine Wildcats have placed themselves in a position to control their destiny.

A year ago, the Wildcats sat at 1-2 three weeks into district and were coming off back-to-back losses against Van and Carthage.

This year, their record is flipped thanks to a pair of wins over Mabank and Chapel Hill. Their week four opponent in 2019 was fourth-placed Kilgore. This year? Fourth-placed Henderson.

And, though, the Wildcats are in a better position seeding wise through three weeks head coach Lance Angel is voicing how important it is for his team to continue taking it week-by-week.

The Wildcats are focused on the games in front of them but it can't be overlooked how well they've played during the past two weeks.

They've posted their two highest scoring totals of the season. They've paired that production with an opportunistic defense who has been keen on being disruptive in the backfield and forcing turnovers.

That'll be put to test against a Henderson offensive and defensive line who coach Angel says will be the biggest line they've faced. Henderson's defense is only allowing 20.5 points per game in their five contests.

Behind Henderson's stout offensive line is quarterback Decorian Watson and running back D'Cameron Walker.

Their offense has a combined 132 rushing attempts in the past three games, including a 200-yard game against Athens where they ran the ball 50 times.

On the opposite spectrum, run defense has been a strength for the Wildcats. They allowed 78 yards to Chapel Hill last week on 31 attempts. Even in their week one loss to Kilgore, they allowed 125 yards on 19 attempts.

Take away Kilgore's 67-yard run and they heled them to 58 yards on 18 carries. Wildcat defensive linemen Dominque Milton, Elvin Calhoun, and Dawaylyn Lewis deserve a big part in the play of their defense. As well as linebackers Kemon Ross and Daelon Williams.

Leading Palestine's offense has been running backs Jakaryon Conley and Shedrick Dudley. The two, along with Taj'Shawn Wilson, helped the Wildcats put up 445 yards on the ground last week against Chapel Hill.

Conley took the majority of the workload with 252 yards rushing and a touchdown on 29 touches. The impressive mark was his highest total of the season and Palestine's third game with at least 260 yards rushing.

Henderson linebacker Dalton Modisette and defensive lineman Devin Fields anchor the defense hoping to contain Palestine's rushing attack.

Coach Angel will also continue to employ his two-quarterback system led by De'myzean Martin and Jerrod Walker. Martin had a 29-yard touchdown pass last week while Walker had a rushing touchdown early in the first half.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Lions Stadium in Henderson.

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