Kilgore Pulls Away from Palestine for 33-20 Victory in District 9-4A Div. I Opener
KILGORE – Kilgore outscored Palestine by 11 points in the second half to pull away for a 33-20 win on Friday in the District 9-4A Division I opener for both teams at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium.
Kilgore (2-3, 0-1) used its option game to rush for 222 yards, led by 125 from Melek Hamilton after gaining just 88 total yards in a 44-0 loss at Texas High last Friday.
Palestine (3-2, 0-1) has been outscored 31-6 over the last two weeks, including a 38-21 loss to Van a week ago.
Palestne pulled with 23-20 when Claude Rodgers connected with T.J. Dever on an 80-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the fourth quarter, but Kilgore countered with a 61-yard drive, capped by 25-yard touchdown pass from Patrick Jackson to Jonathan Shepherd.
Palestine may have run out of gas by then, countering with a three-and-out drive. Kilgore iced the win on a 43-yard field goal by Elivan Torres with 1:52 remaining.
Trailing 16-14 at halftime, Palestine had the ball to open the second half. After using a timeout during the drive the Wildcats decided to go for it on a fourth-and-17 at the Kilgore 42-yard line, only to have Rodgers sacked for a 6-yard loss. Kilgore took advantage of the good field position for a 52-yard drive capped by a 12-yard touchdown run by Jackson with 8:02 left in the third quarter.
Kilgore jumped out to a 9-0 lead early. After a 51-yard punt Elian Torres pinned Palestine at its 3-yard line Mateo Meraz blocked an Allan Marquez punt out of the end zone for a safety with 8:10 left in the first quarter. Kilgore only had to travel 41 yards on its ensuing drive after Palestine's free kick that was capped by a 1-yard touchdown run by Jamal Nobles.
Palestine countered with a 77-yard drive that was capped by an 8-yard touchdown run by Irric Deyon with 51.7 seconds left in the first quarter. Deyon had 71 yards rushing in the first half and finished with 108 for the game.
Deyon had misfortune strike him with 6:02 left in the second quarter as Kilgore's Dimontray Sibley forced him to fumble and Rodney Coleman recovered in the end zone for a touchdown to give Kilgore a 16-7 lead. Sibley had a big defensive game with two forced fumbles, three tackles for losses and two sacks.
Palestine regrouped with a 75-yard drive extended by a pair of special teams plays. On a fourth-and-6 at the Palestine 39-yard line, Edward Reese gained 7 yards on a fake-punt run. Palestine lined up for a 22-yard field goal with 8.9 seconds remaining in the first half, but holder Jhamonte Milton executed a fake, shook off a tackler and ran it in from 5 yards out to cut Kilgore's lead to 16-14 at halftime.
Jackson was the starter after getting knocked out of last week's loss early because of a leg bruise. Showing no apparent effects on his speed, he finished with 141 total yards.