PALESTINE — The Palestine offense was almost unstoppable, and the Wildcats took advantage of Groesbeck mistakes as Palestine topped the Goats, 46-27, in both teams’ District 20-3A openers Friday.
Groesbeck ran the ball at will against the Wildcats, but couldn’t overcome three lost possessions in the first half in which they turned the ball over on downs, fumbled and had a punt blocked for a safety.
With Palestine leading 10-3 in the first quarter and Groesbeck driving, the Goats faced a fourth-down inside the Palestine 30.
Groesbeck quarterback Klein Wiley had his pass broken up by Bobby Walker to force the turnover on downs, and Palestine would take advantage.
The Wildcats would turn that missed Groesbeck opportunity into points when quarterback Brian Gummelt ran the ball in from one-yard out to make it 17-6.
Later in the half, a Palestine punt pinned Groesbeck inside its own five and the Palestine defense forced its only punt of the night.
Walter Sheridan broke through the left side of the Groesbeck line to get his hand on the punt, blocking it out of the back of the endzone to put Palestine up 19-6.
Palestine also turned the ensuing possession into points right before the half when Donte Brown found the endzone on a sweep-right with 14 seconds left in the half, giving Palestine a 26-10 halftime advantage.
Each team scored on all three of their second half possessions, but Groesbeck (1-5, 0-1) never got close enough to threaten Palestine (4-2, 1-0), which won its third-straight game.
Palestine’s Darrius Stephens ran for a team-high 129 yards in the game, including two runs of more than 18 yards on the team’s final drive to ice the win.
Brown added 60 yards on 11 carries.
Gummelt finished 6-of-10 for 144 yards and a 38-yard touchdown pass to Paul Barksdale that made the game 33-13.
On that same drive, Barksdale — who finished with two catches for 57 yards — made an acrobatic catch that allowed Palestine to convert a third-and-long and keep the drive alive.
The Groesbeck running game did what it wanted against the Wildcats, as the Goats ran for 354 yards on 48 carries out of their veer-based offense.
Matt Barnes led the way with 127 yards, while Terrel Miles added 109 and Michael Graves had 90.