TYLER – The Palestine Wildcats are set for possible celebration tonight in their district finale against the Chapel Hill Bulldogs.
It's simple for head coach Lance Angel and his team tonight. Win and you're in the playoffs. Despite various other scenarios that will allow Palestine to clinch their first playoff spot in six years, the task is to win and control their destiny.
“Our challenge right now is to get over the hump of coming back after a big win and playing great the next week,” Angel said. “It's a challenge the coaching staff and kids have to tackle having a better mindset after a big win and to continue to build off that win.”
Palestine has not stacked back-to-back wins together since their pre-district wins over Rusk and Fairfield. Despite the motivation to overcome that, a further challenge of not overlooking Chapel Hill still arises.
The Bulldogs enter tonight on a five-game slide that began with a 63-21 defeat against Pleasant Grove Texarkana. What has remained relatively consistent on a positive note for Chapel Hill is their ability to score points.
They're averaging nearly 30 points a game. Against Pleasant Grove and Carthage, at the time played, both defenses gave up season highs in points to Chapel Hill's offense.
“Chapel Hill is a great athletic team,” Angel said. “They're dangerous and we're playing them on their senior night. We have to go play great. We have to go in there with the right mindset this week.”
Chapel Hill put up 450 yards of offense against Van last week after putting up 400 yards on Henderson the week before.
Quarterback Khalan Griffin has led the Bulldogs offense this year after putting up 2,000 all-purpose yards in 2018. Linebacker Adrian Lacy fortifies the middle of Chapel Hill's defense with an old-school linebacker mentality.
Palestine appeared to open the playbook a bit more last week with a rare first-play pass from Quinton Cook. Though the pass fell incomplete, it was encouraging for the coaches to see those opportunities are open because of the threat of their run game.
“We knew what the last two games meant back in May,” Angel said. “Being aggressive is apart of that. Our kids have accepted that.”
Don't expect an all-out aerial attack from the Wildcats moving forward, but added pressure to the opponents back seven with the pass should be amped to open up running lanes.
Palestine's district final is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. tonight at Chapel Hill.