After 2-0 Start, Robby Clark + Palestine Looking to Make A Big Impact in 2017
Robby Clark has heard plenty of compliments about the improvements Palestine has made since he took over the program in 2015. He took his team from 1-9 to 5-5 and now has his Wildcats off to a 2-0 start in his third year.
But there's still plenty of work to do, he said.
"We're still in 'prove it' mode," Clark said on Wednesday. "We're excited to be 2-0 but the season is still young and we're still getting better. We're not sitting around on a 2-0 accomplishment for sure."
Palestine followed a 57-20 Week 1 win with a 31-26 victory over Highway 79 rival and Class 5A opponent Jacksonville last Friday night. The Wildcats will look to start 3-0 for the second year in a row on Friday against Fairfield.
Junior Tyler Gray is quickly showcasing himself as one of the area's formidable dual-threat quarterbacks. He has 274 yards and three touchdowns passing and 224 yards and three touchdowns rushing through two games. Gray played quarterback on varsity as a freshman and receiver as a sophomore, but he's back under center in 2017.
"(Tyler) has worked really hard to improve. He has the ability to stay in the pocket, make his read and decide where the ball needs to go based on the defense," Clark said. "He's fast and elusive and not really a big kid so he's got to make sure he slides and takes indirect hits."
Clark calls running back Jeremiah Davis his team's "hidden gem." The sophomore has 224 yards rushing and two touchdowns so far this season.
"He won't be (a hidden gem) for long," Clark said.
Palestine hasn't been a stranger to scoring points, but the Wildcats are working to become more balanced on the offensive side of the ball.
"We were pretty one-dimensional last year, but we like where we're sitting on offense," Clark said. "I see us as hard to stop this year because you just don't know which way to stop us this year. Offensively we've got a lot of diversity."
Defensively, the plan is simple, Clark said. Just keep getting better.
"We had some missed tackles against Jacksonville and we had some opportunities to make some sacks we didn't execute," Clark said, "but they're hustling around on that side of the ball. We just need to improve on some things and we'll be OK."
Palestine is a few weeks away from starting another district campaign in the District of Doom, undoubtedly one of the toughest Class 4A districts in the state. If a playoff berth is to happen, Clark said, Palestine will need to accomplish a few things.
"We were the No. 5 spot last year and honestly we felt we were one or two plays from the No. 4 spot. There are going to be some good football teams who don't make the playoffs in the District of Doom. That's the life in Doom, man," Clark said. "But we've got to beat the teams we're supposed to beat and have to compete well in games against the top three teams. We want to prove to everyone we can compete in the District of Doom. We haven't proved it just yet, but we're excited to do our best to prove it."