PALESTINE — Jacksonville will take on Palestine in the Wildcats' backyard at 7:30 p.m. Friday, with both teams trying to bounce back after losing their respective openers last week.
The Indians were manhandled (48-0) by No. 2-ranked Carthage, while the Wildcats were outscored, 46-27, by a formidable Waco Connelly club.
According to Jacksonville head coach Wayne Coleman, the Tribe have spent most of their practice time this week working on fixing some things that came to light last week and preparing to defend Palestine's new wing-t offense.
“Getting out quarterback (Patrick Clater) more protection has been a priority for us,” Coleman said. “We also didn't win any of the one-on-one battles last week, and we got virtually no yards after the catch on the passes that we caught; so our receivers are going to have to do a whole lot better in those area this week.”
Coleman went on to say that he believes Palestine will force his team to go to the air in hopes of getting the win.
“Our passing game didn't scare anybody last week, so we expect them to try to take advantage of that and to force us to beat them by throwing the ball,” Coleman said.
Another key to the game for Jacksonville is stopping the wing-t offense that Wildcat head coach Lance Angel brought with him for his second stint as the Wildcat head man.
“The wing-t is hard to replicate and defend against in the few practices that we have this week,” Coleman said. “It presents a whole different set of challenges. We can't let them have 6:00 minute drives that chew up the clock. We have to get out there and try to get them off of the field.”
Last week Palestine and Waco Connally were tied 20-20 at halftime, before the Cadets made adjustments during the break and came out and outscored the 'Cats 26-7 in the final two periods.
“I think it took Connally a half to see what the wing-t was all about, and after they saw it they went in at halftime and made some changes that worked well for them,” Coleman said.
Coleman hinted that Indian fans must be patient on Friday, because it could take the Tribe a little while to dissect what Palestine is doing when they have the ball.
Coleman said that the catalyst for the Wildcat offense is junior running back Jeremiah Davis.
“He can take it (the ball) to the house just about anytime,” Coleman said. “He is a physical kid that is a game breaker. He can really run the ball.”
Overall Coleman said that the playing field should be pretty level for this year's match up.
“Our linemen are about the same size, demographically we are similar in a lot of ways,” he said. “We both have kids that will be playing both ways — compared to Carthage that didn't have anyone going both ways. Those things make a difference.”
Palestine will be trying to avoid losing back-to-back home games on Friday, while the Indians will be attempting to get into the win column before hosting a Henderson team next week that blanked Whitehouse 23-0 on opening night.