Late Field Goal Sends Center Past Palestine, 20-17
PALESTINE – A 33-yard field goal by Marcos Lopez with 5:42 remaining would be the winning points in Center's 20-17 win over Palestine in a District 9-4A Division I game Friday at Wildcat Stadium.
Center improved to 4-2 and 2-0 in district play. Palestine (3-3, 0-2) has lost three consecutive games, scoring just nine points combined in the second halves.
After's Lopez's kick, Palestine's next drive ended on its own 49-yard line with 2:15 to play when Center linebacker Adrian Johnson tackled Irric Deyon for a 2-yard pass play on a fourth-and-4. Palestine got the ball back with 1:12 remaining, but it was after a 36-yard punt by Lopez pinned the Wildcats at their own 6-yard line and they could only advance to the 39-yard line as time expired.
Palestine had a 14-7 lead with 28 seconds remaining in the first half, but Center successfully covered 57 yards on four plays with Kyle Parks running it in from 1 yard as time expired to tie up the game. The pivotal play was the second as Kameron Elmer came back to catch an under-thrown pass by Parks for a 40-yard gain to the Palestine 3-yard line.
After each team gave up a fumble on their respective opening drives of the second half, Lopez gave Center the lead with a 34-yard field goal with 6:09 left in the third quarter. Palestine countered with a 22-yard field goal by Edgar Ayala with 3:05 left in the third quarter that was set up by a 56-yard run by Irric Deyon, who finished with 152 yards rushing on 26 carries.
Palestine had an opportunity to gain momentum when Quinn Tinley intercepted a Parks pass with 56 seconds left in the third quarter. The ensuing drive stalled at the Center 27-yard line, and rather than have Ayala attempt a 44-yard field goal on a fourth-and-9 a fake was run, but Tyler Gray was stopped for a 3-yard run by Johnson, who had a big game with 11 tackles and four sacks. Tinley had with seven tackles and a forced fumble.
Palestine had near total control of the first quarter, but Center rallied in the second.
Palestine took a 7-0 lead when quarterback Claude Rodgers connected with Gray on a slant and Gray sprinted 61 yards for a touchdown with 9:33 left in the first quarter.
On the next play from scrimmage a pass by Parks deflected off the hands of receiver Octavius Evans leading to an easy interception by Palestine's Kameron Hamilton at the Center 35-yard line. Edward Reese ran it in from a Wildcat formation from 9 yards out to give Palestine a 14-0 lead. Center had no first downs and minus-3 yards in the first quarter.
Center's fortunes changed on its first drive of the second quarter as the Roughriders marched 71 yards before Sadarion Walker made a juggling catch of a 21-yard touchdown pass from Parks.
Parks finished with 249 total yards, including 76 yards rushing in the second half. Joshua Williams led Palestine with nine tackles while Reese had two tackles for losses.
Palestine will play at Bullard next Friday, while Center hosts Chapel Hill.