By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports
MIDLOTHIAN — The Midlothian Panthers quite literally ran away with a district victory Friday against Burleson Centennial.
As a team, the Panthers rushed 25 times for 115 yards in the opening half. They ended the 29-7 District 4-5A victory with 50 carries for 273 yards (5.46 YPC), which outpaced the entire Centennial offense (214 total yards).
The (3-3, 2-1) Midlothian defense also forced three turnovers (two fumbles, one INT), while the Panther offense scored on four of its final five possessions.
“We had a great, well-earned victory,” stated Midlothian head coach Doug Wendel in his weekly newsletter. “[Our] defense was spectacular again. But, special teams and offense did their part as well to pull out the win.
“It is now time to turn the page and get ready for a very athletic and explosive Red Oak team. We must put [Centennial] behind us and move on to an important district ball game. This time of year, each game gets bigger and bigger.”
Deago Benson led all runners with 157 yards and one touchdown on 20 rushes. He recorded 12 carries for 52 yards and one touchdown in the first half.
Benson has a team-best 525 rushing yards and five touchdowns on 82 carries this season.
Kaden Smith (7-21) and Jordon Richburg (2-6) also added touchdowns for the Panthers. Midlothian had 10 runners carry the football across the line of scrimmage during the win.
The Panther offense outgained the Spartans 323 total yards to 214 on the evening.
Dave Campbell’s Texas Football computer simulations favored Midlothian by 16 ahead of the district tilt at Midlothian ISD Multipurpose Stadium.
Wendel wants Panther faithful to know that each of their final four district games carries unexplainable playoff implications.
After all, it was just one season ago when Midlothian missed the postseason because of DEC Covid-19-related clause despite having the better district record.
Next up? Cross-county foe and formidable (1-5, 1-2) Red Oak.
“For the foreseeable future, every Friday night will be bigger than the next,” Wendel said. “It all starts with Red Oak, a team who we have seen every year for just about the last seven years. Their record cannot deceive you. They have played successful, playoff-bound programs just about every week.”
Kickoff at Billy Goodloe Stadium in Red Oak is slated for 7 p.m. Friday.
All photos by Kirk Holt/KBEC Sports during the 10-7 victory by No. 6 Colleyville Heritage against Midlothian on Oct. 1, 2021.
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith