Photo: EJ Holland/TexasHSFootball
ARLINGTON, Texas — Byron Nelson High School missed its chance to swing the momentum in its favor and it came seconds into its area matchup with Waco Midway on Friday night at AT&T Stadium.
The opening kickoff was bobbled and fumbled, slipping through Bobcat and Panther hands alike until it found its way back into Waco Midway’s possession.
And just like that, Byron Nelson‘s opportunity to take advantage of a game-changing sucker punch — to shove the ball into the end zone either by safety or touchdown — was gone in an instant.
Video by EJ Holland/TexasHSFootball
A workhorse performance from running back Jordan Joiner and gutty play from quarterback Nick Santini couldn’t stop the wave of points scored by Waco Midway’s Panthers during the 59-7 statement victory.
Don’t let Tanner Mordecai’s 247 yards and four touchdowns on 11-of-17 passing and his 56 yards and one touchdown on nine carries or James Fullbright’s 128 yards and one touchdown on 16 carries fool you, though. There was far more balance than the score may indicate.
The balance was between offense and defense, less than between the victor and defeated.
While Waco Midway’s offense pushed the needle past the half-century mark with multi-angle air strikes and 90-yard Trevius Hodges’ kick returns, it’s defense flushed Santini out of the pocket and his comfort zone. The Panthers forced two turnovers via a Grant Graves fumble recovery and an interception via blanket coverage by Grant Parnell.
It also added three sacks courtesy David Benton, Christopher Chase, and Braden Endsley, and limited a normally potent, weapons-grade Bobcat offense to a single Jaired Chamberlain-powered touchdown of the 4th and 1, 44-yard variety.
Most importantly it negated the effect of Joiner’s 91 yards on 15 carries, helped strengthened the pull of the undertow as Byron Nelson found itself further and further away from solid ground as the game progressed. The Panthers made a clear statement to their looming opponent, a survivor of a four-quarter battle with San Angelo Central.
Waco Midway and Mordecai, an Oklahoma commit and possible heir to the Sooner throne post-Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, will face Mansfield High School next week in the regional final round.
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