PALESTINE — Trailing by 20 points at halftime, Jacksonville rallied in the second half to edge Palestine, 49-48, on Friday evening at Wildcat Stadium in the annual battle between Hwy. 79 rivals.
The Indians evened their record at 1-1 with the victory, while the Wildcats slipped to 0-2.
Palestine scored 20-unanswered points in the final 8:13 of the opening half to take what seemed like a commanding, 41-21, lead into intermission.
Jacksonville dug deep in its playbook and dialed up the onside kick, which worked well for the Tribe last season.
The Indians' Chris Carpenter recovered the opening kick off of the second half, which gave Jacksonville the ball on the Palestine 44.
Nine plays later Carpenter caught a 18-yard touchdown grab to launch the Jacksonville comeback.
Jacksonville went on to take the lead with 7:42 left in the game when Aaron Richardson plowed into the end zone from 2 yards out.
The Tribe added a 2-point conversion pass (Patrick Clater to Kasey Canady), which turned out to be the difference in the game.
Palestine's Jeremiah Davis led all players in rushing, carrying 21 times for 233 yards and four touchdowns, all of which came in the first half.
Davis scored on runs of 54, 9, 5 and 12 yards, respectively.
Jakerian Conley had scoring runs of 24 and 39 yards as well.
Palestine will visit Rusk (0-2) on Friday, while Jacksonville returns home to entertain Henderson.