By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports
A controversial winning-percentage decision has 41 Midlothian seniors on the outside looking unjustly in of the 5A football playoffs.
The Panthers did their part Friday evening by soundly defeating the Richland Royals, 68-30, behind 572 total yards of offense.
Laine Martin scored four first-half touchdowns on 11 carries for 130 yards. The senior ultimately led the ground attack that amassed 369 yards on 44 attempts (8.4YPC).
Nicholas De Los Santos completed 6-of-his-10 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns, including two to Riley Angel (4-145).
So about those Midlothian playoff hopes…
The District 4-5A Division I Executive Committee met before the football season began to determine the worst-case seeding format. Their decision ultimately boiled down to a COVID-19 cancelation not resulting in a forfeit and the ultimate playoff seeding to be determined by district winning percentage.
And that is where we currently sit — in a predicaments of all predicaments. A precisely 0.029-winning percentage is potentially keeping the Midlothian Panthers out of the 5A playoffs.
For those unaware, 4-5A consists of Red Oak, Midlothian, Colleyville Heritage, Burleson Centennial, Mansfield Summit, Richland, Mansfield Legacy and Birdville.
The last three — Richland, Legacy and Birdville — did not factor into the playoff seeding process. At all. They combined for three wins and surrendered over 900 points in 20 district games (45ppg).
THE THREE TEAMS IN
• Colleyville Heritage (6-0, 5-0 in 4-5A) — The Panthers have played just one non-district game, a 48-24 win against (8-3) Grapevine on Sept. 26. They then defeated Richland, Midlothian and Red Oak by a combined 44 points (+24 against Midlothian).
• Red Oak (6-2, 6-1 in 4-5A) — The Hawks solidified their second-spot in the District 4-5A standings with a convincing 35-21 victory on Friday.
• Burleson Centennial (5-3, 4-2 in 4-5A) — The Spartans are locked into third place following a 35-21 loss against Red Oak on Friday.
So, this is where it gets a little tricky…or…ugh…just downright unfortunate.
• Mansfield Summit (4-4, 3-2 in 4-5A) — The Jaguars opened the season with an impressive 33-6 win against 6A Mansfield Lake Ridge. They then lost to Mansfield (27-20) and were blown out by 5A No. 1 Ennis (63-26).
Summit opened its 4-5A schedule with victories against bottom-feeding Mansfield Legacy (39-7) and Richland (49-23). The program then canceled the next two weeks — due to COVID-19 safety protocols — against playoff-bound Colleyville Heritage and Burleson Centennial. Red Oak (37-16) and Midlothian (49-30) efficiently handled the Summit Jaguars in the two weeks that followed its two-week stoppage.
• Midlothian (6-3, 4-3 in 4-5A) — The Panthers opened the District 4-5A Division I schedule with a victory against Birdville (49-14). They followed with losses against Colleyville Heritage (45-21), Burleson Centennial (41-13) and Red Oak (46-35).
The Panthers then defeated Mansfield Legacy (41-14), Mansfield Summit (49-30 and Richland (68-30).
Midlothian ultimately outscored its district opposition 276-220 while also outscoring its opponents 374-250 on the season.
The Panthers currently sit with a three-game winning streak and “trailing” Summit by 0.029% in the 4-5A winning column — despite the fact that the Jaguars avoided two of the district’s top three teams.
Had the season been played out, Summit would very likely finish 3-4 in 4-5A play, which is one game behind Midlothian. Even if the Jaguars split, their 4-3 mark would’ve succumbed to the Panthers’ 4-3 mark, as Midlothian held the tiebreaker.
The 4-5A DEC meets Saturday. Here’s to hoping those head coaches and athletic directors make the right call. Let’s not make this too complicated.
Travis M. Smith | @travis5mith