For the second consecutive season, Palestine was bounced from the playoffs in the first round by a quality opponent -- Carthage after losing to Waco La Vega in 2011.

On the bright side, Palestine was in both games and had opportunities to come away with victories. Head coach Lance Angel is hoping 2013 is the year Palestine can get over the hump.

On paper, all the ingredients seem in order for a run to the District 19-3A title. Palestine brings back 13 starters -- several of which are impact players -- from last year's district runner-up.

A big key will be Jarrell Owens (6-3, 245) in both his health and the way he's used on the field. Owens missed significant time because of nagging injuries last season. When he was healthy, he spent the majority of time at running back. He committed to TCU over the summer as a linebacker, but he made end up playing defensive end for Palestine.

Other key returners are quarterback Gee Clark (6-0, 165), running back Ben Luckett (6-0, 195) and offensive lineman Brian Thlang (6-2, 285), a Louisiana-Monroe commit.

A manageable schedule should ensure Palestine's chase for a district title, but time will tell if the Wildcats will be able to break the first-round curse with either Carthage or Jasper waiting in bi-district. 2013 Preseason East Texas Class 3A Poll