PALESTINE – It’s been 15 years since the Palestine Wildcats beat the Kilgore Bulldogs in a game that featured former Oklahoma and current NFL running back Adrian Peterson coming out of the Wildcats’ backfield.

Palestine gave the Bulldogs their best shot, at least in the second half, Friday night, but it was too much Patrick Jackson, too much Nesba Brown, too much Jonathan Shepherd, and just too much Kilgore to overcome. The Bulldogs led 21-0, weathered a second-half Palestine comeback, and got out with a 31-21 win.

Kilgore is now 1-0 in District 9-4A Division I, and 4-1 overall. The Bulldogs host Chapel Hill next Friday night. Palestine is 2-3 overall, 0-1 in district and visits Center next week.

The first half, Kilgore owned. The Bulldogs scored first, a 7-yard run by Demorrea Richardson (moving from defensive end to oversized tailback) to cap a 12-play, 67-yard drive. That allowed Kilgore to get the bad taste out of its mouth after a touchdown run by Ja’Vorie Hamilton was called back on a penalty moments before.

Kilgore went up 14-0 on a 1-yard run by Hamilton after Jackson did most of the work. He broke free for a 71-yard run that looked like he took into the end zone, but officials ruled him out at the 1. Hamilton did the rest, and the Bulldogs had a two-touchdown lead.

After a fourth-down stop and Palestine turnover on downs, Kilgore went up 21-0. Jackson, who finished with 160 yards rushing, would do the scoring honors on a 15-yard run. Kilgore took the 21-0 edge into the half.

The Wildcats began their comeback on the first drive of the third quarter.

Quarterback Tyler Gray found Kameron Hamilton for a completion, and Hamilton got loose for a 47-yard gain, all the way to the Kilgore 1. Jeremiah Davis ran it in on the next play and made it 21-7 Kilgore.

After a Kilgore three-and-out, Palestine got back on the scoreboard, with Gray going in on a 20-yard touchdown run. Palestine trailed by just a touchdown, 21-14, midway through the third quarter.

It was a defensive play by Brown, an interception, that fired up the Bulldogs and gave the offense back the ball. They didn’t disappoint this time, adding a 34-yard field goal by Elivan Torres to extend the lead to 10. Elivan’s brother, Elian, converted a fourth down for Kilgore with a 6-yard run on a fake punt on that drive.

Kilgore put a punctuation mark on the game with a 70-yard pass from Jackson to Shepherd, his third touchdown of over 70 yards in two weeks. Palestine scored with just under four minutes left to make it 31-21, a run by Gray. But that was as close as the Wildcats could make it.

Gray had a big night, going 15-of-31 for 322 yards, but three interceptions (two to Brown, and one by Sebastian Mumphrey). Davis ran for 71 yards and the one touchdown, and Gray had 50 yards and two touchdowns. Receiver T.J. Dever had four catches for 115 yards.

For Kilgore, Jackson only completed two passes, but was 2-of-5 for 78 yards and the score. He ran for the touchdown and led Kilgore in rushing. Hamilton had a touchdown and 66 yards rushing, and Briant Mumphrey had 37 yards.

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