Palestine Can Send Defending Champion Chapel Hill to 0-4 Start
Chapel hill Bulldogs (0-3)
Palestine wildcats (2-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Wildcat Stadium, Palestine. Radio: KISX 107.3-FM, Tyler
Chapel Hill: Thomas Sitton
Palestine: Lance Angel
Chapel Hill: lost to Carthage, 30-6
Palestine: def. Kaufman, 24-10
Chapel Hill: vs. Henderson
Palestine: vs. Athens
- RB/S Joseph Clark, Jr., 5-9, 175 (27 carries, 208 yards, 1 TD; 2 catches, 38 yards)
- RB/LB Wesley Thompson, Jr., 6-2, 190
- QB Andrew Black, Jr., 6-0, 180 (12 of 40, 214 yards, 3 TDs, 3 INTs; 20 carries, 66 yards)
- RB/DB Londreyus Johnson, Sr. (22 carries, 111 yards, 1 TD)
- WR/DB Jamarcus McCowin, Sr. (16 carries, 133 yards, 1 catch, 39 yards, 1 TD)
- RB/LB Jadarrius Beasley, Sr., 5-10, 170 (15 carries, 217 yards, 2 TDs)
- RB Darrius Stephens, Sr., 5-10, 160 (10 carries, 120 yards; 2 catches, 44 yards; missed last two weeks)
- QB Fabian "Gee" Clark, Soph. (6 of 12, 66 yards, INT)
- LB Caleb Cargill (fumble return for TD last week vs. Kaufman)
- RB/LB Ben Luckett, Jr., 5-11, 180
Just the facts
- Chapel Hill hasn't had quite the follow-up it had hoped coming off a 15-0 state championship season. The Bulldogs are 0-3 and haven't been competitive in any of the three losses, outscored a combined 99-34.
- The Bulldogs were held to 173 total yards in last week's lost to No. 9 Carthage, which took out some frustration after Chapel Hill snapped its 31-game winning streak in 2010 and its 22-game home win streak last season.
- One of the few bright spots for Chapel Hill's offense has been Joseph Clark, who leads the team in rushing with 208 yards and is averaging more than seven yards per carry.
- Palestine is just a couple of yards in overtime from entering Friday's clash undefeated. The Wildcats elected to go for the win against Waco La Vega in the season opener but were turned away on their two-point conversion attempt.
- The Wildcats have regrouped with a pair of impressive wins without last season's leading rusher Darrius Stephens, who is expected to return Friday.
- Palestine has also changed quarterbacks, going with sophomore Fabian "Gee" Clark over the incumbent Brian Gummelt. Clark tossed for 66 yards last week in his varsity debut.
Key matchup: Palestine running game vs. Chapel Hill defensive front. Jadarrius Beasley has done an excellent job in filling in for Stephens, rushing for more than 100 yards in each of the last two games for Palestine. With Stephens' return, the Wildcats have one of the deepest backfields in the area. Stephens and Beasley should get a sizeable chunk of the carries, but Palestine also has Jarrell Owens and Ben Luckett it would like to get the ball to. And the running game will be important in continuing to build the confidence of the Wildcats' young new quarterback. Chapel Hill has had its struggles early on slowing the opposition's running game. Palestine's ground game should serve as a pretty fair preview to what Chapel Hill's defense should expect the rest of the season in 16-3A, where run-heavy teams like Kilgore and Gladewater will be waiting.
Don't be surprised if: Chapel Hill comes out with its most inspired effort of the season. Head coach Thomas Sitton put together this murder's row of a non-district schedule in hopes of getting his young team aptly prepared for the rigors of the District of Doom. Time is running out though for Chapel Hill, which doesn't want to face its first two league opponents -- Henderson and Gilmer -- without first picking up some positive momentum. A big win on the road could do wonders for Chapel Hill's confidence and completely change the course of the Bulldogs' season.