By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports
Senior quarterback Daelin Rader and the Midlothian Heritage offense had its way with visiting Wichita Falls Hirschi in the 2020 season opener on Friday.
The Jaguars ultimately out-gained the Huskies 444 yards to 274 en route to opening the football season with a 42-14 victory. Led by senior running back Cullen Stone, the Jaguars also out-rushed the Huskies 225 yards to 161.
Midlothian Heritage entered the game at Midlothian ISD Multipurpose Stadium ranked No. 12 in 4A Division I, according to Dave Campbell’s Texas Football.
Carter Wilkerson kicked off the Jaguars season and stole all of the early momenta with a 60-yard kick-off return to the Huskies’ 40-yard line.
Four plays later, Cullen Stone bruised his way toward a first down on fourth-and-one to keep the drive alive. Rader (18-for-24, 218yds, 2 TDs) then found Haydon Wiginton two plays later for a 19-yard touchdown to put the Jaguars up early.
Calvin Duggins promptly split the uprights for a 7-0 Heritage lead with 9:35 to play in the first quarter.
An exchange of punts and a Heritage interception then led to the Hirschi offense marching toward the end zone from deep in their own territory.
The Jaguar defense — spearheaded by Noah Gray, Greg Johnson, Scott Ellis and Travis Buckley — quickly pushed the Huskies back seven yards and then blocked the ensuing punt on fourth down to set up their offense at the two-yard line.
With possession back in the hands of the Jaguar offense, Stone pushed forward for the first yard and Rader followed suit on the ensuing snap to put the Jags up, 14-0.
At that time and with six minutes and change to play in the first half, Hirschi had mustered just 28 total yards of offense against the stingy Heritage defense.
Three changes in quarterback ultimately shifted Hirschi’s A’marion Peterson into the wildcat formation. The move under center then resulted in a 64-yard touchdown scamper.
After taking his first snap as the Huskies’ signal-caller, Peterson used a jump step to his right in the backfield to elude a Jaguar defender and then toted the rock home to cut into the Heritage lead, 14-6, with 5:44 to play in the first half.
Heritage ultimately added touchdowns on a one-yard Stone run and 69-yard pitch-and-catch from Rader to Wilkerson.
Peterson tacked on a 25-yard touchdown run for the Huskies to bring the halftime score to 28-14. Chris Murray added the two-point conversion run to cap the first-half scoring.
The offensive numbers did not differ much by halftime, as each team had collected nine first downs and Heritage had out-gained Hirschi 194-169. The lone Heritage turnover of the half came via a second-quarter Kaden Brown interception.
Rader finished the first half 8-of-14 for 130 yards with two touchdowns through the air and a third score on the ground.
The second half began at a sputtered pace, as neither team found momentum on offense.
The Huskies eventually turned the ball over on downs at the Jaguars’ 33-yard line and set the Heritage offense up with just over seven minutes to play in the first quarter.
Stone eventually capitalized on a nine-play drive to put Heritage up by three scores, 35-14, with 5:33 remaining on the third-quarter clock.
Rader and company faced a fourth-and-14 on their ensuing drive, which led the quarterback to find Wiginton for a 28-yard gain to the Huskies’ 15.
Rader eventually added his fourth touchdown — and his second on the ground — on an 8-yard scamper to cap a five-play drive with 6:41 to play in the game. The touchdown run put Heritage on top, 42-14.
That score held through the final buzzer.
All photos by Kirk Holt/KBEC Sports
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith