Game Recap: Palestine shutout in district opener against Kilgore, 32-0

·3 min read

Sep. 24—PALESTINE — The Palestine Wildcats found themselves in an 18-0 hole at the half of their district home opener against the Kilgore Bulldogs.

The Wildcats struggled to sustain many drives in the first half as their first two drives ended in three-and-outs.

Kilgore had put together back-to-back scoring drives on their first two possessions. A potential touchdown pass was broken up by Palestine's Taj'Shawn Wilson on third-and-six that forced Kilgore into a 31-yard field goal by Leo Yzaguirre.

Kilgore eventually found the endzone on their second drive thanks to a 73-yard touchdown pass from Da'Marion Van Zandt to PJ Wiley that put them up 9-0 following the missed extra point. Palestine's Perry Cole had boomed a 68-yard punt that had spotted Kilgore on their two-yard line to start the drive.

Palestine's offense found a quick burst of energy from Elijah Walker as he picked up 14 yards on his first carry of their third possession. Another seven yards from Walker had them favorably in front of the chains. However, Palestine proceeded to go backward on tosses to Wilson and Walker — placing them in a 4th-and-12 situation.

Kilgore's scoring streak came to a halt on their third possession when Roosevelt Rollins was stood up by Perry Cole on a fourth-and-one. The turnover on downs set Palestine up on Kilgore's 38-yard line.

A dime from Hudson Dear to Jon Denman moved the chains down to the Kilgore 15. Momentum steadily rose for the Wildcats when a facemask penalty on Kilgore put them on the KHS 8. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, their promising drive ended two plays later as Dear attempted to hit Ty Stedman across the middle of the endzone. A tipped pass found the awaiting hands of Kilgore for their first interception of the night.

The touchback brought Kilgore out to their 20. Isaiah Ross blasted off tackle down the right sideline for a 75-yard gain. A crushing unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Palestine wiped out back-to-back sacks for the Wildcats front. Instead of a third-and-goal from the 15, Kilgore accepted a first-and-goal from the five. One play later, Ross broke through the defense for a five-yard touchdown. The missed extra point kept Kilgore in front 15-0.

Kilgore added another field goal on a 38-yard try before halftime to take an 18-0 lead.

Offensive struggles continued for the Wildcats in the second half as their opening possession ended in a three-and-out after Dear missed Wilson deep down the left sideline. Kilgore also was held to three downs and out, but quickly got the ball back on a fumble by Triston Gardner.

A play later, Ross found his second touchdown of the night on a 60-yard sprint to the end zone. Palestine's offense continued to spiral as Kilgore's Zaylon Stoke snagged his second interception of the night and returned it for a 55-yard touchdown midway through the third quarter.

Neither side found the end zone over the final quarter and a half as Kilgore stamped their 32-0 district opener win. Palestine travels to Tyler next week where they'll play the Chapel Hill Bulldogs