Eleven Ellis County football teams opened their seasons Friday evening. Stats, standout players and recaps can be found below.
As always, fans can catch a full recap of all things Ellis County athletics every Monday night from 6-7 p.m. on KBEC 1390AM/99.1FM and online at sports.kbec.com during “The Press Box.”
• Waxahachie 28, Rowlett 22
For a full recap, photo gallery, quotes and more from the Indians’ overtime win, click on this link.
• Fort Worth Brewer 23, Midlothian 20
The Panthers were held to just one fourth-quarter touchdown in the second half Friday night on the road against Fort Worth Brewer.
That lone score came with Chad Ragle completed a 12-yard pass to Bryant Wesco with 6:22 to play in the fourth quarter. It also cut the Brewer lead to 23-20, which was ultimately the final score.
Midlothian led 14-7 at the half.
The Panthers were outgained 303 total yards to 239 on the evening and committed a pair of turnovers. Ragle finished 3-of-12 passing for 54 yards and one touchdown. He also tossed one interception.
Senior running back Deago Benson led the Panthers with 18 carries for 99 yards and one touchdown. Xavionte Jackson added the other Midlothian score on his two carries for 19 yards.
The Panthers will host Forney at Midlothian ISD Multipurpose Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 3.
• No. 7 Ennis 56, Red Oak 42
For the full recap, quotes, stats and photos from the game that featured OVER 1,000 yards of total offense, click here!
• No. 10 Midlothian Heritage 50, Everman 23
Midlothian Heritage opened the football season with an impressive 50-23 victory against an always-tough Everman team.
The Jaguars used 291 rushing yards and stellar showings by several underclassmen to pull off the road win.
Junior quarterback Kaden Brown, the son of SAGU head football coach Ryan Smith, completed 15-of-his-24 passes for 187 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed a team-high 13 times for 118 yards and two scores.
Brown connected with juniors Xavier Moten (4-90, 2 TDs) and Jason Barela (2-18, TD) on his scoring tosses. He also completed passes to sophomore Antonio Pride (4-43) and senior Trevor Atwell (3-21).
Barela added 12 carries for 135 yards and one touchdown on the ground.
Junior defensive back Rylan Figueroa recorded one interception, recovered one fumble and posted a team-best seven total tackles for the Jaguars. As a defensive unit, Heritage forced and recovered four fumbles and blocked two field goals.
The Jaguars will travel to non-district-rival Kennedale for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff Friday.
The Wildcats defeated Decatur 21-7 in week one. Heritage faces Decatur in week three in the Jaguars’ home opener.
• Waco Connally 56, Life Waxahachie 6
Life Waxahachie ran into a three-headed rushing monster Friday night at Mustang Stadium.
Waco Connally had two running backs and a quarterback surpass the 100-yard rushing plateau in a 57-6 victory.
The Mustangs picked up 12 first downs on 136 total yards, with 104 coming on the ground. Jeremy Brantley (13-89) led the way for Life Waxahachie on the ground. Paul Bunyard completed 2-of-his-3 passes for 23 yards, while Colby Grmela and Kaden Mayfield combined to go 0-for-12 passing.
The Mustangs turned the football over twice and committed 11 penalties for 87 yards.
Aiden Grayson (6-137, 3 TDs), Jelani McDonald (7-119, 3 TDs) and Germane Powell (19-108) paved the way for the Connally offense.
Life Waxahachie returns to action on the road at 7:30 p.m. Friday against (1-0) Athens. The Hornets defeated Brownsboro 41-7 in their opener.
• Ferris 58, (3A) Maypearl 14
An in-county and cross-conference matchup went the way of the bigger school in a 58-14 Ferris victory over Maypearl on Friday.
The host Yellowjackets relied heavily on their ground game, rushing 48 times as a team for 499 yards and seven touchdowns.
Darrick Willis led the way for the Ferris offense with 24 carries for 320 yards and four scores, while Kayden Barnes rushed nine times for 133 yards and three touchdowns.
Nathan Greek — the son of first-year Ferris head coach Steven Greek — completed 10-of-his-20 passes for 121 yards and a touchdown to Tommy Dixson (5-84).
As for Maypearl, quarterback Heath Graf completed 18-of-his-38 passes for 309 yards and one touchdown. He also threw three interceptions.
Ten different receivers caught a pass for the Panthers, led by Ryan Holliday (5-89, TD) and Aaron Jett (4-60).
Maypearl returns to action at 7:30 p.m. Friday at home against (1-0) Venus, who won by forfeit. Ferris will travel to (0-1) Benbrook for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
• Palmer v Kemp – Cancelled
The Palmer Bulldogs had their season-opener against Kemp canceled due to health and safety protocols related to the Kemp program. The Bulldogs did not seek a replacement game after receiving word late in the week. This marked the first football game canceled due to COVID in Ellis County this season.
The Bulldogs are slated to face Grand Saline at home Friday. Kickoff at Bulldog Stadium is at 7:30 p.m.
• Italy 49, Dallas A+ Academy 8
The Italy Gladiators didn’t just thump Dallas A+ Academy on Friday — they made a statement.
Italy scored six touchdowns in the first quarter and cruised to a 49-8 season-opening victory at Gladiator Stadium.
Gladiator quarterback Jayden Saxon finished a perfect 4-of-4 on the night for 117 yards and touchdown passes to Dredrick Owens (3-109, 2 TDs) and Colt Horn (1-8, TD).
Freshman Coldyn Horn (8-94, TD) and senior Jay’lon Hernandez (4-70, TD) led the Italy ground attack. Gared Wood (4-31) and Owens also scored on the ground.
The defense was led by senior ends Kaimana Nakoa-Safechuck and Julius Williams, as both recovered fumbles in the Knights backfield.
Italy will travel to Chilton for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff Friday.
• Waco Vanguard College Prep 67, Milford 18
• Abbott 52, Avalon 6