Fairfield Goes for Two to Beat Palestine, 60-59, in Overtime + Capture District 19-3A Crown
FAIRFIELD — Palestine and overtime just don’t mix in 2012.
For the second time this season, the Wildcats came out on the wrong end of an extra-time two-point conversion, this time seeing rival Fairfield use one to win a thrilling game, 60-59, to claim the District 19-3A championship.
Fairfield got the win by going for a two-point conversion after Larry Rose scored an 11-yard touchdown to make it 59-58 Palestine. Palestine had opened up the overtime with a score on a 15-yard touchdown run from Jarrell Owens.
Instead of playing for the tie and another overtime, Fairfield coach John Bachtel went for the win, and it paid off.
Rose ran behind the left side of the Fairfield line and made it into the endzone, sending the Fairfield sideline into celebration and the Palestine sideline into despair.
The fact that Palestine took the game to overtime is a comeback story in itself, after the Wildcats trailed 49-39 with less than eight minutes to play, and had given 28 points in less than a quarter-and-a-half.
But the Wildcats fought on, and behind the arm of Gee Clark and legs of Paul Barksdale, clawed back into the game.
First, the two hooked up for a 40-yard touchdown on a play-action pass that left Barksdale wide-open over the middle to cut the Palestine deficit to 49-46 with just under seven minutes to play.
Then, after a Palestine defensive stop, the Wildcats seemed to be in prime position to take control of the game with the ball just inside their own territory.
But, the drive didn’t start promisingly, with a big negative play and a penalty forcing the Wildcats into a third-and-long that saw Clark merely throw the ball away.
Faced with 4th-and-23 and the game on the line, however, the sophomore came up big, with some help from the senior Barksdale.
Clark rolled right and found Barksdale on a deep cross to earn the first down.
Not too long after that, Clark sprinted out right before throwing back left for a perfect screen pass that sprung Barksdale for a 47-yard score to give Palestine a three-point lead with 1:14 left in the game.
On the ensuing extra-point try, a Fairfield defender broke through the Palestine line and got to kicker Lucas Valencia before he could even get to the ball, making it 49-46 Palestine.
That would prove to be costly.
Fairfield managed to go almost 60 yards in that time frame, spurred by a long pass from Aaron Cain to Cooper Cole, who had gotten behind the Palestine defense.
But, the Wildcat defense held inside the redzone, conceding only the game-tying field goal to Jacob Judd as time expired.
Palestine (7-3) opens the playoffs against Carthage at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Lufkin, while Fairfield (7-3) will take on Center at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Lindale.