Waco Midway Returns A Ton Of Talent For 2017

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It’s very easy to say that Waco Midway struggled out of the gate in 2016. It’s accurate, yes, but it doesn’t take into account the caliber of team that the Panthers played.

For their opener, they had Cedar Park, a 5A team whose only loss on the season was to Manvel, and was thought by many to have a great chance at repeating as state champions. Next, the Panthers had Cedar Ridge, who ended up 11-1, their only loss to Klein Collins, a state semifinalist. Lastly, they beat Temple, who were state finalists. Then, Waco High, a rivalry game, which they won. Anyone who says that isn’t a murderer’s row of games is either blind or refusing to accept our current reality in some way.

Midway had a tough opening slate with a very young team, but rallied to burn through 8 straight, including an overtime win over Belton and a two point win over Harker Heights. Then, the Panthers entered the playoffs, where they drew one of the few teams in Texas more battle-tested than they were: Cedar Hill.

The game very obviously didn’t go the way Midway had hoped, they lost 52-17. However, with a young squad, a tough non-district, and a little playoff experience, you can rest assured that Midway will at least be back, if not better, in 2017.

Key Losses

RB Ger’markee Satterwhite WR D’unte Brown, S┬áLeondrae Robinson, DT Brian Holiday, DE Albert McGowan

Flexible threat Ger’Markee Satterwhite has taken his last snap as a Panther, and his explosive abilities will be missed. Wideout D’unte Brown closed out his career as a first team all-district selection.

Brian Holiday and Albert McGowan, the big men up front, will be sorely missed. Both provided excellence in run support for the Panthers. Leondrae Robinson was solid in coverage all year.

Key Returners

QB Tanner Mordecai, RB James Fullbright, DT Jaxon Player, CB Xavier Abalos, ILB Matt Barnhill

Are you ready for the fun part? Because this is the fun part. The Panthers return:

  • The district offensive player of the year
  • The district defensive player of the year
  • The district defensive newcomer of the year
  • Three all district defensive linemen, two first team, one second team
  • Two first team all district defenders
  • A first team all district running back

If you think that’s a load, you’re right. The Panthers will miss key pieces, yes. But with the continuity with the backfield of Tanner Mordecai and James Fullbright and the returning defensive experience, this could be a very fun year for the Panthers.

The Verdict

A young Waco Midway team had a tough draw in predistrict and playoff competition, but they had a young team. This year, that youth at key positions like linebacker, cornerback, and quarterback is all grown up and ready to go.

The Waco Midway Panthers will be dangerous in 2017. How dangerous remains to be seen, but this could easily be a deep playoff team if the chips fall just right. They have the talent. They have the experience. And now, they’ll have a shot after many big 6A names from teams they’ll face in the playoffs graduated. This very well could be a year to remember for Waco Midway.

 

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