By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports
As the season winds down, the playoff picture across the Ellis County football landscape has begun to clear. A new in-county rivalry also played its first game and ended in thrilling fashion — at least for one section of big cat supporters.
Stats, quotes and links to photo galleries will be added throughout the weekend. Tune in to “The Press Box” on KBEC 1390AM/99.1FM at 6 p.m. Monday for additional insight and interviews with local coaches and players.
(3-4, 1-3) Mansfield Legacy 21, (5-2, 2-2) WAXAHACHIE 31 — FINAL
Waxahachie set the stage for a runaway District 11-6A victory by building a 24-0 halftime lead. The Indian defense and special teams were stellar in the opening half.
The offense sputtered in the second, finding the end zone just once on a touchdown pass from junior quarterback Roman McKinney Jr. to senior Keith Abney Jr.
Senior quarterback Roderick Hartsfield was named the 2022 Waxahachie High Homecoming King during halftime.
FULL RECAP AND PHOTO GALLERY TO COME SATURDAY!
Last Time Out: Waxahachie dropped games two and three of the district schedule to No. 11 DeSoto (42-24) and No. 3 Duncanville (24-7). The Indians thumped Cedar Hill, 51-21, to open District 7-6A action.
Up Next: Waxahachie will travel to (6-1, 3-1) Mansfield for a district showdown with tremendous playoff implications. Kickoff from Vernon Newsom Stadium in Mansfield is at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21.
(7-0, 3-0) MIDLOTHIAN — BYE
The Midlothian Panthers enjoyed a well-earned bye week.
Last Time Out: Midlothian defeated Granbury, 56-7, to enter the bye week a perfect 7-0 on the season and 3-0 in district play. The undefeated start is the best in program history for the Panthers.
Midlothian previously shut out Waco (66-0) and Cleburne (57-0) after starting the district slate with a 32-27 win against Killeen Showmaker — with two of those three victories coming on the road. The Panthers have also defeated Killeen (43-20).
Up Next: Midlothian closes out the regular season with home games against Lake Belton (10/21) and Red Oak (11/4) and a road tilt versus Killeen Ellison (10/28). All three games are slated for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
(0-7, 0-5) Cleburne 3, (6-1, 4-1) RED OAK 49 — FINAL
Last Time Out: The Hawks fell to Lake Belton, 48-47, in overtime to open district play. They’ve since rolled off wins against Killeen Ellison (28-21), Killeen Shoemaker (38-35) and Waco (69-7).
Up Next: Red Oak closes out the regular season at home against Cleburne (10/14) and Granbury (10/28) and on the road against Killeen (10/20) and Midlothian (11/4).
(2-5, 2-2) Ennis 35, (6-1, 4-0) No. 6 MIDLOTHIAN HERITAGE 38 — FINAL
Last Time Out: Midlothian Heritage hasn’t just adapted to the 5A jump — the Jaguars have dominated. Heritage has picked up district wins against Burleson (33-6), Joshua (41-0) and Mansfield Summit (44-20).
Up Next: The Jaguars now face Corsicana (road, 10/21), Arlington Seguin (home, 10/28) and Everman (11/4). The latter should determine the district championship. Heritage is in its first season in Class 5A.
(2-5, 2-2) ENNIS 35, (6-1, 4-0) No. 6 Midlothian Heritage 38 — FINAL
Last Time Out: Ennis routed Corsicana, 45-7, in the Battle of Chambers Creek to open district play. The Lions then fell to (6-1, 3-0) Everman, 35-33, on Sept. 23.
(2-5, 0-2) LIFE WAXAHACHIE 20, (8-0, 2-0) Stephenville 63 — FINAL
Life Waxahachie dropped its fourth consecutive game on Friday, falling to defending 4A state champion Stephenville, 63-20.
The Yellow Jackets led 42-14 at the half, scoring thrice in each of the first two quarters.
Last Time Out: The Mustangs mustered just one score in a 50-7 loss against Waco La Vega. Running back Kordell Berry was the lone bright spot for Life Waxahachie, rushing 28 times for 69 yards.
Berry (5-10, 195) has rushed 159 times for 1,239 yards and 13 touchdowns thus far through his junior campaign. He scored five touchdowns in both Mustang wins this season (Ferris on Sept. 9 and Willis Point on Sept. 16).
Up Next: Life Waxahachie will use the upcoming bye week to regroup before closing the district schedule at home against China Spring (10/28) and on the road against Alvarado (11/4). Both games kick off at 7:30 p.m.
(2-5, 2-0) FERRIS 42, (4-2, 1-1) Hillsboro 35 — FINAL
Ferris took a huge step toward a District 4-2A Division II playoff berth Friday with a 42-35 nailbiting road win against Hillsboro.
The Yellow Jackets join (5-2, 2-0) Glen Rose as the only unbeaten teams in the six-team district.
Last Time Out: Ferris opened district play with a 52-49 home victory against Godley. The Yellow Jackets had to stave off a furious fourth-quarter comeback. Quarterback Nathan Greek completed 15-of-his-28 passes for 263 yards and 3 touchdowns and added a pair of rushing scores. Darrick Willis rushed 23 times for 159 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Up Next: The Yellow Jackets return home to host (1-6, 1-1) Benbrook at 7 p.m. Friday.
(2-5, 2-3) MAYPEARL 0, (6-1, 5-0) West 89 — FINAL
West scored eight times in the first quarter — five defensive scores, one on special teams and two on offense — to put the District 7-3A Division I game away early.
Last Time Out: Maypearl picked up its second district win against Dallas Inspired Vision, 55-12, this past Friday. The Panthers defeated Dallas A Plus Academy, 55-18, for their first district win on Sept. 9.
Up Next: Maypearl returns to action at home Friday against Whitney. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.
(4-3, 1-2) Mildred 20, (7-0, 3-0) PALMER 35 — FINAL
Palmer built a 28-0 lead by the end of the third quarter for a comfortable 35-20 District 7-3A Division II road victory.
The Bulldogs held the Eagles to 116 passing yards and 251 rushing yards on 46 carries (5.5 YPC).
Last Time Out: Palmer has outscored its opposition 231 to 96 to continue its unbeaten start to the season. The Bulldogs have won every game by two possessions or more (closest – non-district Westwood 21-12).
Up Next: The Bulldogs close out the district season with home games against Rice (Oct. 21) and Trinity Leadership Academy (Oct. 28). Both games kickoff at 7:30 p.m.
(4-4, 3-1) ITALY 14, (5-2, 3-1) Axtel 21 — FINAL
Italy suffered its first loss in District 7-2A Division I on Friday, falling 21-14 to host Axtell.
(7-1, 4-0) Cayuga and Axtell currently sit ahead of the Gladiators in the district standings.
Italy does, on paper, still project to claim the three-seed in the district standings.
Last Time Out: Italy opened district play with wins against Cross Roads (42-6), Rio Vista (29-22) and Itasca (15-14).
Up Next: Italy will look to lock into a playoff spot over the final two weeks with a home game against Cayuga (10/21) and a road tilt versus Kerens (10/28). Both kick-off at 7 p.m.
(5-3, 1-1) Covington 62, (4-3, 0-1) AVALON 34 — FINAL
The Avalon Eagles fell at home to Covington, 62-34, on Friday.
The Owls outpaced the Eagles 38-22 in the second and third quarters. They then scored twice more in the fourth to secure the road win.
Last Time Out: Avalon blasted non-district opponent Campbell, 50-0, this past Friday. The mercy-rule victory came at home and behind three total touchdowns each by Josh Novak and Erick Padron.
Up Next: The Eagles will “travel” to Milford for an in-county rivalry at 7 p.m. Friday. A potential playoff berth will be on the line.
(3-3, 1-1) MILFORD 68, (4-4, 2-0) Blum 76 — FINAL
Last Time Out: Milford won two consecutive against Gorman (62-28) and Three Way (56-0) heading into Friday’s district game.
Up Next: The Bulldogs will host in-county rival Avalon at 7 p.m. Friday. A potential playoff berth will be on the line.
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith