By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports
Playoff berths were officially clinched Friday night across Ellis County.
Midlothian capped an emotional week with an incredible performance, Waxahachie will compete against the biggest of the big and Palmer kept its remarkable run going — and then there’s Red Oak, Ennis, Ferris, Midlothian Heritage and more!
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.
(6-2, 3-2) WAXAHACHIE 31, (6-2, 3-1) Mansfield 20 — FINAL
Waxahachie built a 31-3 lead early in the second half behind two defensive touchdowns. The victory locked the Indians into the District 11-6A postseason and, barring a meteor strike, a trip to the 6A Division I playoffs.
This will mark the first season for the Waxahachie football program to compete in the highest postseason classification and division in Texas high school football.
FULL RECAP AND PHOTOS CAN BE FOUND HERE SATURDAY!
Last Time Out: Waxahachie jumped out to a 24-0 halftime lead, only to have the offense sputter against (3-4, 1-3) Mansfield Legacy in the second half. The Indian defense held tough late for a 31-21 district victory.
Up Next: Waxahachie closes the regular season at home against (3-5, 2-3) Mansfield Lake Ridge on Friday, Oct. 28 and on the road against (0-8, 0-5) Dallas Skyline on Thursday, Nov. 3. Both games kickoff at 7 p.m.
(7-1, 5-1) Lake Belton 37, (8-0, 4-0) MIDLOTHIAN 39 — FINAL
That hashtag and mantra perfectly sums up Friday’s District 4-5A victory and 8-0 start to the season for the Midlothian Panthers. Longtime and beloved assistant coach Clif White, 37, passed away Saturday night following his heroic six-month battle against bladder cancer. He remained a positive influence and inspiration to the Panthers throughout his battle in this vessel.
On the football field, the fourth district win took a late-game defensive stand and turnover, as well as a half-dozen tough runs for a go-ahead 2-yard Chad Ragle touchdown with 3:32 to play in the fourth quarter.
Midlothian scored three second-half touchdowns to secure the come-from-behind win and continue its best start since 1984.
FULL RECAP AND PHOTOS CAN BE FOUND HERE SATURDAY!
Last Time Out: Midlothian defeated Granbury, 56-7, to enter the bye week undefeated.
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 a road tilt against Killeen Ellison (10/28) and then the likely district championship decider at home against Red Oak on Nov. 4. Both games kick off at 7 p.m.
(7-1, 5-1) RED OAK 59, (3-5, 2-4) Killeen 28 — FINAL (Thurs)
Red Oak jumped out to a 28-13 halftime lead and cruised home to a comfortable 59-28 District 4-5A victory.
The Hawks outgained the Kangaroos 486 total yards to 21 (not a typo). Quarterback Jaylon Robinson completed 10-of-his-16 passes for 221 yards and 5 touchdowns to 1 interception.
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), Waco (69-7) and Cleburne (49-3).
Up Next: Red Oak closes out the regular season at home against Granbury (10/28) and on the road against Midlothian (11/4). The latter will very likely decide whether the district championship is an outright title for the Panthers or a split crown between the two programs.
(1-7, 0-5) Corsicana 24, (7-1, 5-0) No. 6 MIDLOTHIAN HERITAGE 56 — FINAL
State-ranked Midlothian Heritage scored three times in the first quarter and three more times in the fourth for an easy 56-24 district road victory against Corsicana.
The victory officially punched the Jaguars’ postseason ticket.
Quarterback Kaden Brown completed 16-of-his-19 passes for 285 yards and two touchdowns. The senior has thrown just 37 incompletions (101-138) and one interception to 24 touchdowns and 1,204 yards through eight games.
Last Time Out: The Jaguars scored with under four minutes to play to defeat in-county and newly-acquainted rival Ennis, 38-35.
Midlothian Heritage hasn’t just adapted to the 5A jump — the Jaguars have dominated. Heritage has also picked up district wins against Burleson (33-6), Joshua (41-0) and Mansfield Summit (44-20).
Up Next: The Jaguars close out the regular season against (3-5, 2-3) Arlington Seguin (home, 10/28) and (7-1, 5-0) Everman (11/4). The latter should determine the district championship. Heritage is in its first season in Class 5A.
(3-5, 2-3) Arlington Seguin 20, (3-5, 3-2) ENNIS 45 — FINAL
The Ennis Lions continued their push toward the 5A Divison II postseason with a 45-20 home win over Seguin.
Senior quarterback Jackson Gilkey completed 16-of-his-23 passes for three touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed 13 times for 157 yards and another score.
Sophomore Gracen Harris caught seven passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns.
The Lions are currently tied with (4-4, 3-2) Mansfield Summit for the final playoff spot and one game clear of Seguin and Burleson.
Last Time Out: Ennis fell in a heartbreaker to No. 6 Midlothian Heritage, 38-35. The Jaguars scored with under four minutes to play.
Up Next: The Lions close out the regular season with matchups against Burleson (10/28, away) and Mansfield Summit (11/04, home).
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith