By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports
MIDLOTHIAN — There might be a day, albeit and likely many decades down the road, when Lee Wiginton takes a little credit for a victory. The 48-14 Midlothian Heritage non-district win against Decatur on Friday was not going to be it, though — especially since it only meant career victory No. 152 for the ball coach.
Before the season kicked off, Wiginton was quite coy about the prospects of potential early successes for the Jaguars. After all, the team is much younger than it’s been at any point since the program’s first varsity game in 2016.
State-ranked 4A No. 8 Heritage has since opened the season by convincingly outscoring Everman, Kennedale and Decatur by a combined 120-44 en route to a 3-0 start.
And though the milestone was celebrated on the field Friday evening, it was the 50-23 victory against Everman in week one on Aug. 27 that gave Wiginton his 150th career win.
“This means that I’ve been around a lot of good people for a long time,” Wiginton told KBEC Sports. “It also means that I’m old. I’ve been here for so long with so many of these coaches that have stayed together. The amount of time that they have invested into these kids, it’s just been fun to be around them and watch them do what they do to get these kids to play so hard.”
Wiginton now boasts an all-time coaching record of 152-85. He is 55-12 over his five-plus seasons at Midlothian Heritage.
Since taking over the Heritage program in 2015 (non-varsity season, Wiginton has led the Jaguars to the following finishes:
• 2016 – 12-2 (3rd round in 4A playoffs, district title)
• 2017 – 12-1 (3rd rd, district title)
• 2018 – 11-2 (3rd rd, district title)
• 2019 – 10-4 (4th rd, district runner-up)
• 2020 – 9-3 (2nd rd, district title)
Wiginton was most recently voted as the president-elect for the Texas High School Coaches Association in July.
His coaching honors include District Coach of the Year 2001, ’03, ’06, ’08, ’09, ’12, ’16, ’17, and ’18; 2003 TexasHSFootball.com 1A Coach of the Year; 2003 Fox Sports Southwest 1A Coach of the Year Finalist; 2006 Hill Country Coach of the Year; and Dallas Cowboy Coach of the Week (Week 5 2010, Playoffs 2016, and Week 2 2018).
Wiginton was also awarded the Grant Teaff Coaching Beyond the Game award at the THSCEF Coaches Leadership Summit in 2020, which highlighted his outstanding leadership of young men off of the football field.
Wiginton has spent the past 11 years in Midlothian ISD, with the first five served at Midlothian High School before helping open Heritage as its head football coach and campus athletic coordinator.
His first gig as a head football coach came at then-1A Bosqueville in 2000. After leading the Bulldogs to their first 11-man playoff berth, Wiginton had stops at 2A Comfort and 3A Mexia.
Knowing Wiginton, he very likely won’t be too excited that so many keystrokes were used to talk about his career. So, let’s get back to that 48-14 home win against Decatur this past Friday.
The Jaguars outpaced the Eagles 573 total yards to 232, while also doubling them up in first downs, 29-14.
Wiginton remains adamant that this version of the Jaguars will need to be “the most physical team on the field” each week. There is no better stat to prove that purpose than the Heritage offense rushing for 322 yards on 46 carries (7.0YPC), while its defense limited Decatur to 139 yards on 43 carries (3.2YPC).
Mason O’Neal (13-95, 2TD), Jason Barela (12-85) and Brown (10-72, 4TD) led the Heritage rushing attack.
“We have to execute. We have to do the things that we are supposed to do and we have to communicate,” Wiginton explained. “We’ve had a lot of busts early on in the season, so we just have to continue to work to be right. To be right, we feel like we have to do a better job of communicating.”
The Heritage offense hung two touchdowns on Decatur in the first quarter and struck again with 11:10 to play in the second. Junior quarterback Kaden Brown (16-20, 235yds, TD) capped a 12-play, 60-yard drive with a 1-yard run to put the Jaguars on top, 21-0.
Wiginton then pointed to a defensive effort about six minutes of game time later as the early turning point. The Eagle offense took over on a short field following a Heritage turnover-on-downs and found itself at the Jaguar 19-yard line.
Senior Greg Johnson then forced an Eagle fumble that Damian Alexander recovered on the Jaguar 14-yard line.
Brown promptly completed a 47-yard pass to Xavier Moten (7-127). He connected with Sam Hopkins for a 22-yard touchdown four plays later.
The quick scoring drive put Heritage up, 27-0, with 5:37 to play in the first half.
“Our defense is playing great,” Wiginton said. “On both sides of the ball, there are certainly things that we do that aren’t so good. But it just seems that, when we need to make big plays, we seem to find a way to make them.”
Heritage will take its 3-0 start on the road Friday for a 7:30 p.m. kick-off against (1-2) Melissa.
The Jaguars then return home to close out non-district play against (3-0) Springtown, who has wins over Glen Rose (37-7), Graham (34-22) and Waco Connally (30-29). That game will kick off at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24.
All photos by Fred Phipps/KBEC
Fred Phipps/KBEC Sports contributed to this report
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith