By Travis M. Smith | KBEC SportsState-ranked Midlothian Heritage left no doubt in its season-opening victory against Gatesville.
And then the two teams played the second half of football.
The Jaguars offense amassed more than 600 yards while the defense limited to visiting Hornets to just six points through three quarters en route to a 63-19 victory.
Heritage built a 35-0 lead by the end of the first half behind four rushing touchdowns and one through the air.
“That was an exciting victory and a lot of guys got to do a lot of good things out there,” Heritage head football coach Lee Wiginton told KBEC Sports following the win. “[…] I thought in each phase of the game, we did some good things.”
Wiginton pointed to the early turnover forced by the Jaguars defense as a positive but was unhappy with the offense’s inability to capitalize on the opportunity.
“The defense then followed that up with some stops over and over and over. The offense eventually found its groove and was able to get some momentum and put some points on the board,” Wiginton said. “Both groups did some good things, and special teams kicked the ball really well and we did well in coverage.”
He added, “Overall, for the first game of the year, we did some good things, and I am very, very pleased.”
The blowout victory comes one season removed from a 21-6 Heritage win to open the 2018 season in Gatesville. Heritage was limited to 349 yards of total offense in that contest.
Heritage came 55 yards short of doubling that previous offensive output on Friday — even with all-everything and Division-I Power 5 bound wide receiver, Jay Wilkerson catching just two passes for 11 yards.
Jay will undoubtedly get his numbers throughout the season, as the senior accounted for 1,330 yards and 17 touchdowns on 63 catches in 2018. But Friday was an opportunity for his younger brother, Carter Wilkerson, and Haydon Wiginton to shine down the field.
The two juniors combined for a whopping 313 receiving yards and each hauled in a touchdown catch. Wigington accounted for 208 of those yards on seven catches, while Carter needed just two receptions for 105 yards.
Daelin Rader added three grabs for 74 yards and one score.
Of course, none of those receiving totals would’ve been possible had the Jaguars coaching staff not found a new quarterback. And, boy, did Cade Sumbler burst onto the scene in a hurry.
Sumbler, an all-state catcher for the Heritage baseball team, completed 14-of-17 passes for 348 yards and two touchdowns. He was also picked off once.
Rader (1-2, 56 yards, TD) accounted for the only other Heritage completion on the evening.
Led by Cullen Stone’s 15 carries for 149 yards and four touchdowns, the Jaguars used six different ball carries during the win also.
Cedric West carried the ball five times for 32 yards, while Brody Greeson (3-23) and Latray Miller (2-8) also contributed on the ground.
Sumbler (2-14) and Rader (2-13) each added a rushing touchdown.
For those who lost count at home: Nine Jaguars contributed to moving the football Friday. The opportunity to spread the ball around to that many players, as well as the couple dozen others on defense and special teams, had the Heritage head coach excited for the future following the final buzzer.
“It was a good night,” Wiginton said. “Everyone got to get between the lines and any time that everyone can get one rep, I am fired up.”
Midlothian Heritage will now take its show on the road to face Kennedale at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Kennedale began the season with a 35-21 road loss against Decatur in week one.
The Jaguars defeated the Wildcats 35-7 in 2018.
(All photos below by Fred Phipps/KBEC Sports)
Fred Phipps/KBEC Sports contributed to this report.
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith