Palestine 49, Jacksonville 40
JACKSONVILLE - In the 80th meeting between the two Hwy.79 rivals, Palestine was able to hold off a late charge to beat Jacksonville, 49-40, in the Indians' home opener Friday at Tomato Bowl.
The Wildcats improved to 2-0 on the year after going on a 30-0 run that started late in the first half and trickled over into the early minutes of the third period.
Palestine owned its biggest advantage, 42-28, at the end of the third period.
The Wildcats took the lead for good with :02 to go in the opening half when Claude Rodgers tossed a 40-yard touchdown pass to Toney Dever, who had gotten behind the last Tribe defender on what was a busted play.
That enabled the Wildcats to take a 28-21 lead into intermission. Palestine also seized control of the game's momentum in the closing ticks of the first half.
Jacksonville quarterback Cameron High passed for three touchdowns and ran for three more and accounted for 412 total yards.
High went 9-12 for 189 yards through the air and carried 33 times for 223 yards.
The Wildcats dominated special teams play, which was highlighted by a 74-yard punt return by Jhamonte Milton that came with 9:39 to play in the opening quarter.
Palestine's Rodgers was 7-12 in the passing department for 224 yards. His big play of the night was a 70-yard scoring strike to Milton that came with 3:19 to go in the first half.
Jacksonville (1-1) picked up 477 total yards to 388 by the Wildcats, but a bevy of penalties and mental mistakes proved to be too much for the Indians to overcome.
Both teams will play at home next week when the Wildcats entertain Fairfield and Jacksonville plays Hallsville.