Palestine’s Six Turnovers Doom Wildcats in 48-0 Loss to Kaufman
PALESTINE -- Palestine had eight fumbles, losing six, in a 48-0 loss to Kaufman on Friday at Wildcat Stadium. The Wildcats had five turnovers in their four previous games combined.
Palestine (1-4) has lost three consecutive games, getting outscored 174-41 in that stretch. The difficulty holding on to the ball started immediately as Kaufman's Jonathan Barraza blocked an Allan Marquez punt on Palestine's opening possession, setting up a 2-yard touchdown run by Dru Prox.
Yet the most critical turnover happened in the second quarter and ruined a good chance to get back in the game after trailing 14-0. Palestine opened the frame with a 65-yard drive, but at the Kaufman 8-yard line the Lions forced Palestine tailback Devonte Mims to fumble and recovered the ball.
Kaufman countered with a 92-yard drive capped by a 23-yard touchdown run by Dru Prox. Palestine's chemistry was affected by seven starters either out or having their play limited on Friday because of injuries, including quarterback Claude Rodgers filling in for starter Tyler Gray.
Kaufman (4-1) extended its lead to 14-0 on a 44-yard scoring run by receiver Jefferson Fritz out of a read-option play with seven seconds left in the first quarter.
After Dru Prox's second touchdown the Lions got the ball back on its own 34-yard line with 1:14 remaining when Blake Reynolds forced Rodgers to fumble and Devyn Morris recovered. This set up a 34-yard touchdown pass from Austin Gomez to Fritz with 2 seconds remaining in the first half, giving Kaufman a 28-0 halftime lead. Kaufman had a modest 236-227 edge in total yards, but no turnovers in the first half and did not have a turnover in the game.
Mims had 82 yards rushing in the first half, but also had two fumbles, two of three turnovers the Wildcats made in the first half. Mims finished with 92 yards rushing on 18 carries and has 462 yards in the past three weeks.
After Kaufman opened the second half with a 65-yard drive capped by a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Morris the Wildcats fumbled the ball away on two of their next three plays. The first set up a 6-yard touchdown run by Dre Prox with 7:08 left in the third quarter to give Kaufman a 41-0 lead.
A bad snap on a punt attempt set up a 6-yard touchdown run by Caleb Rawls on the first play of the fourth quarter to conclude the scoring.
Two Palestine players not expected to play saw action, albeit in limited capacity. Receiver/cornerback Jhamonte Milton, who suffered a sprained foot last week against Paris, had two pass breakups and three tackles on defense. Gray, who suffered a back injury did see action at punter, averaging 32.5 yards on two kicks.
Tailback Irric Deyon also returned after sitting out last week with a knee injury, gaining 1 yard on three carries.
Gomez passed for 113 yards. Kaufman had seven tackles for losses, two apiece by Mason Hicks and Jose Olvera. Palestine's Roderick Deyon had a blue-collar effort in defeat, leading all players with 12 tackles.
Palestine is off next week before opening District 9-4A-I play hosting Kilgore on Oct. 9.