By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports
There was little doubt that the Waxahachie Indians needed to play a perfect game Friday night to upset No. 5 and nationally-ranked Duncanville.
And, for one spectacular half, the Tribe did just that, taking a 3-3 tie into the halftime locker room at Panther Stadium on Dunvanville’s homecoming night. Someone then woke the Panthers up just ahead of the third quarter in their eventual 52-3 District 11-6A victory.
Duncanville senior running back Malachi Medlock scored four rushing touchdowns in the third quarter. The now-Toledo-commit was stifled to the tune of five carries for 18 in the first half, as the Panthers mustered just 77 total yards of offense thanks to an active and physical Waxahachie front seven.
Medlock then exploded for 105 yards and four scores on 18 in the second half. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound running back de-committed from Colorado State in mid-September and decided on a new collegiate destination three days prior to Friday’s kickoff. He entered the game as the 20th leading rusher in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex with 92 carries for 669 yards and 8 touchdowns.
As a team, the Panthers recorded a jaw-dropping 402 total yards in the second half while limiting the Indians to just 13 yards and one first down.
The Indian defense held the Panthers out of the endzone on all seven of their first-half possessions. Duncanville responded by scoring on all seven in the second half.
According to Dave Campbell’s Texas Football computer rankings, Duncanville entered Friday ranked third and Waxahachie 101st out of 245 Class 6A programs.
Waxahachie scored first when Jesse Garfias split the uprights for a 34-yard field goal with 10:25 to play in the first quarter. The kick, which marked a season-long for Garfias, came on the Indians’ second possession.
That would cap the excitement over the ensuing quarter and a half of play, too. Neither defense had any desire to budge.
The Waxahachie defense did record a significant stop on fourth down inside its red zone with 6:55 to play in the second quarter. Duncanville began that drive at the Indian 35-yard line following a 50-yard kickoff return.
The Panthers promptly forced a three-and-out and had a would-be punt return for a touchdown called back on a block-in-the-back penalty.
Facing a third-and-goal from the Waxahachie 5-yard line, Duncanville quarterback Solomon James (9-15, 132, TD, INT) met a host of Indians in the backfield as he dropped back. The defensive pressure forced Solomon to throw the football away, setting up a short field goal attempt.
Armando Benitez split the uprights for a 22-yard field goal and tied the game at 3-all with 2:58 to play in the second quarter.
Waxahachie ultimately punted for a third consecutive possession and afforded the Panthers one last attempt at paydirt before the crowing of a homecoming king and queen.
A few snaps and two questionable non-fumbles later, Keith Abney Jr. intercepted a James pass in the end zone with 18 seconds to play and returned it across midfield. A block-in-the-back brought the ball back and sent the game into halftime tied at 3.
The Waxahachie defense held the high-powered Duncanville offense to just 77 total yards on 23 plays in the first half. Fifty-four of those yards came on 15 carries (3.6 YPC). On the flip side, the Indian offense accounted for 65 total yards and 1.9 YPC (21-40).
Waxahachie held the ball for just over 16 minutes in the opening half. Both teams were flagged twice for 15 yards.
ABOUT THAT SECOND HALF
Duncanville’s Kadavion Dotson-Walker returned the opening kickoff of the second half 60 yards to the Waxahachie 21-yard line.
The Panthers scored two plays later when Malachi Medlock dove across the goal line for Duncanville’s first lead, 10-3. The 21-yard touchdown came with 11:14 to play in the third quarter.
Waxahachie fumbled its ensuing snap from scrimmage.
Medlock promptly rushed to the Indian 9-yard line.
The Waxahachie defense forced the Panthers into a fourth-and-goal situation from the 3-yard line, only to have Medlock rush behind the right side of his offensive for a touchdown.
Medlock’s second score came just 1:28 after the first and put the Panthers comfortably on top, 17-3 with 9:46 to play in the third quarter.
The Toledo-commit added a third rushing touchdown of the third quarter with 5:39 to play. He tacked on a fourth and final score with two seconds to play.
Duncanville starters were then pulled after James’ 50-yard touchdown pass to Chris Hicks that put the Panthers up 38-3 with 9:03 to play in the fourth quarter.
The Waxahachie Indians return to Stuart B. Lumpkins Stadium for a homecoming night of festivities against Mansfield.
The Tigers fell to Mansfield Lake Ridge, 44-37, on Friday. That loss sets the stage for the Indians to lock into an 11-6A playoff spot with two wins over their final three games against Mansfield, DeSoto and Waco High.
A win against Mansfield could essentially — though not quite mathematically — seal a second-consecutive playoff berth for the Tribe.
The kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith