PALESTINE — Trailing by 20 points at halftime, Jacksonville refused to throw in the towel and rallied in the second half to nip Palestine, 49-48, on Friday evening at Wildcat Stadium.
The Indians evened their record at 1-1 with the victory, while the Wildcats fell to 0-2.
Palestine scored 20-unanswered points in the final 8:13 of the opening half to take what seemed like a commanding, 41-21, lead into intermission.
Jacksonville dug deep in its playbook and dialed up the ole onside kick, which worked well for the Tribe last season.
The Indians' Chris Carpenter recovered the opening kick off of the second half, which gave Jacksonville the ball on the Palestine 44.
Nine plays later Carpenter caught a 18-yard touchdown grab to launch the Jacksonville comeback.
On the ensuing Jacksonville kick off, Carpenter caught another onside lick in front of the Jacksonville bench.
Palestine erased the effort when Marquis Thompson intercepted Clater on the Tribe's first play from scrimmage, however.
Jacksonville went on to take the lead with 7:42 left in the game after Aaron Richardson plowed into the end zone from 2 yards out.
The Tribe added a 2-point conversion pass (Patrick Clater to Kasey Canady), which turned out to be the difference in the game.
Clater rolled out to his right, then went back against the grain and found Canady open near the goal line.
Richardson was the Tribe's leading ground gainer, toting the rock 17 times for 62 yards and two touchdowns.
Clater went 24-for-63 for 339 yards and four touchdowns. He also surrendered two interceptions.
Carpenter, a Colorado commit, was the game's leading receiver (11-261, two touchdowns).
With 6:01 to go in the first quarter Carpenter was on the receiving end of a 69-yard catch and run that put Jacksonville in front 14-7 at that time, which was the Tribe's big play of the game.
Jaylon Freeney had touchdown grabs of 10 and 16 yards and finished the night with 7 catches for 55 yards.
Palestine's Jeremiah Davis led all players in rushing, carrying 21 times for 233 yards and four touchdowns, all of which came in the first half.
Davis scored on runs of 54, 9, 5 and 12 yards, respectively.
Jakerian Conley had scoring runs of 24 and 39 yards as well for the Wildcats.
Jacksonville amassed 468 total yards to Palestine's 443.
After making adjustments at halftime to defend the seldom seen wing-t formation, the Indian defense held Palestine to 98 total yards in the second half.
Palestine will visit Rusk (0-2) on Friday, while Jacksonville returns home to entertain Henderson (1-1).