PITTSBURG — For the first 24 minutes, the Palestine football team looked like the trip north to Pittsburg had taken a little too much out of it.

It took all of five minutes into the third quarter to erase any doubt about that.

The Wildcats scored 33 unanswered points — 24 in the third quarter alone — and ran away from Pittsburg late for a 39-14 victory at Pirate Stadium on Friday.

Trailing 14-12 at the half, Palestine came out swinging in the third quarter.

The Wildcats drove the ball 71 yards in less than three minutes, mainly on the legs of Jadarrius Beasley, who had runs of eight, 16 and 63 yards on the drive. Ben Luckett capped it off with a 2-yard touchdown run to put Palestine ahead, 20-14.

Luckett wasn’t done. The junior then took a punt from Pittsburg quarterback Garrett Pruitt back 65 yards for a score not two minutes later after the Palestine defense forced Pruitt and the Pirate offense into a three-and-out.

The Wildcats caused even more problems for Pittsburg on the Pirates’ next drive. Facing a third-and-long inside his own 10, Pruitt saw the snap go past him and into the end zone.

The junior quarterback tried to recover and make a play, but he was sacked by Palestine’s Juan Trejo for the safety.

After the ensuing kick from the Pirates, Palestine scored again when Darrius Stephens ran in from 4 yards out.

Pittsburg opened the game strong, scoring on its first drive of the contest. The Pirates drove the ball 70 yards — aided by some ill-timed Palestine penalties — for the opening score.

Pruitt capped the drive with an 8-yard pass to Dee Moton, and then found Kel Wallace for a successful two-point conversion.

Palestine answered right back two plays later when quarterback Gee Clark found Sheldon Watson behind Pittsburg’s defense for a 72-yard touchdown pass.

But after a Pittsburg punt, Palestine fumbled, giving the ball back to the Pirates, who took advantage.

Derek Allen capped that drive with a 33-yard touchdown run that gave Pittsburg a 14-6 lead with two minutes remaining in the first quarter.

Beasley led Palestine with 107 yards rushing on eight carries, while Luckett finished with 56 and Stephens had 54, both also on eight carries.

Clark finished 6 of 14 passing for 202 yards, while Stephens caught two balls for 78 yards and Watson had his one catch for 72 yards.

Allen had 117 yards on the ground for the Pirates, 94 of which came in the first half. Pruitt finished 13 of 23 for 77 yards.

Palestine (4-2) is off next week before opening district Oct. 19 against Rusk (4-2). Pittsburg opens district next Friday at home against Paris North Lamar.