WACO- The Midway Panthers play host to cross town rival Waco High Lions in a battle for bragging rights and undefeated teams. Last season, Midway came out victorious in the matchup 21-7, but the Lions will be looking to walk out of Panther Stadium with the win this season.
In an era of spread attacks, Waco High has gotten the job done with their ground and pound style. The Lions are currently averaging nearly 235 yards rushing per game and 45 points per game to their credit. Senior RB Terrance Hamilton is the go-to guy for the Lions, averaging 7.3 yards per carry and 112.3 yards per game. Last week against Harker Heights, Hamilton finished the game with 149 yards on 18 carries with 3 touchdowns.
Waco High Senior quarterback Jaylen Harris has thrown for 202 yards, three touchdowns and one interception on the season. According to head coach Marty Herbst, Harris’s reps have been limited but is confident in his team’s ability to move the ball down the field in the air.
“As we showed this past Friday when we need to throw the ball we can,” Herbst said, ”Late in the game when Harker Heights tied it up at 35, we threw about a 50 -yard strike to win the game”.
After a hard fought victory on the road in Temple last week, the Midway Panthers moved into the Top 10 in Class 6A, currently standing at No. 9. Head coach Jeff Hulme explained that he didn’t shy away from the ranking with his squad and the Panthers talked about it at practice and used it has a motivational aspect.
“Hey somebody out there thinks that we’re pretty good, so let’s practice like we’re pretty good, let’s get better today”, Hulme told TexasHSFootball earlier this week.
The Panthers offense is extremely balanced, averaging the same number of rushing and receiving yards (226.7) per game for the first three games of the season. Midway quarterback and Oklahoma commit Tanner Mordecai leads the way, as he’s thrown for 680 yards, eight touchdowns and three interceptions.
On the ground, the Panthers rushing game is led by junior running back James Fullbright, who’s accounted for 448 yards rushing and five touchdowns on 7.6 yards per carry. However, the running back did leave last Friday’s game at Temple with a bone bruise and is questionable for Friday’s game.
If he can’t go, Hulme would turn to linebacker and “iron-man” Marcus Johnson, who turned into an unsung hero last week, rushing for almost 100 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also finished the game with five tackles, two quarterback hurries and a sack on defense. Hulme also said that Johnson would likely play less snaps on defense if he gets the start at running back.
These two teams have been playing each other off and on since 1976, with Midway currently leads the series 10-7. The two teams went from 1985-2006 without playing and after a 26- 24 Waco High victory at Midway in 2011, the Panthers previous coach called the game quits.
When Coach Hulme took the job at Midway he decided to resume the game stating, “I like rival games, obviously both teams want to win and you’re not happy when you lose, but still it’s great for the community”.
Kickoff will be 7:30pm Friday night at Midway and bragging rights for the best large school team in town will be decided.
Featured Image: Courtesy of Anna Ross
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