MABANK – Palestine's defense held Mabank to 163 total yards and the Wildcats pulled away for a 21-7 win over Mabank in a non-district season opener Friday at Panther Stadium.

Palestine (1-0) snapped an eight-game losing streak while Mabank had its current losing streak extended to six. The game was delayed for an hour and 15 minutes due to the threat of lightning.

Palestine linebacker Waylon Nickerson had a big game with six tackles (four for losses), a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. The forced fumble and fumble recovery were in the fourth quarter.

Palestine opened the scoring on the first drive of the game as Gray took an end around on a fourth-and-6 play and sprinted 40 yards for a touchdown with 8:55 left in the first quarter.

Palestine missed opportunities to add to its lead in the first half because Mabank's Garrett Burnett forced a fumble that Colton Stephens recovered. A touchdown run by Edward Reese was erased because of a false start. A 24-yard field-goal attempt by Josue Bermudez was wide right.

The Wildcats were especially good on defense in the first half, however. The unit held Mabank to 60 total yards and three first downs.

After the delay, Palestine marched 60 yards on its first drive of the second half -- capped by a 6-yard touchdown run by quarterback Claude Rodgers to give Palestine a 14-0 lead with 3:54 left in the third quarter. The drive was extended by a 30-yard pass from Rodgers to Gray.

Mabank's offense came to life in the fourth quarter, moving 70 yards before Jonah Armstrong had a 10-yard touchdown run on a fourth-down reverse with 10:34 remaining. Armstrong accounted for all of Mabank's points, kicking the point after.

Irric Deyon scored on an eight-yard touchdown run with 6:40 left to give Palestine a cushion.

Nickerson forced a fumble that Roderick Deyon recovered five plays later, but Hunter Penix gave Mabank life with an interception three plays afterward.

Two plays after Penix's pickoff, Nickerson recovered a fumble that Jhamonte Milton forced.

Hunter Caves made an interception for Mabank with 2:06 left to cap a big game in which he had 11 tackles, two for losses, but time expired on Mabank's last drive.

The Wildcats finished with 12 tackles for losses, two by lineman Jakobe Pursley.

Palestine plays at Jacksonville next Friday while Mabank will play at Kemp.