In one of the most highly anticipated games in Central Texas and the state, the Waco Midway Panthers made the trip south on I-35 to face the Class 5A state finalists Temple Wildcats. Bob McQueen Field was electric and the stands were rocking, with a sea of red, white, and blue on both sides. In the end, it was the Panthers who pulled out a 40-28 win out of Wildcat Stadium.
Midway won the toss and deferred to the second half. Temple put together an impressive opening drive, the Wildcats RB Zion Leach got the drive going with runs of 12 and two yards. QB TJ Rumfield hit WR Xavier Johnson on a 33-yard pass for the game’s first touchdown. Midway only need a little over three minutes to answer the Temple touchdown.
The Panthers offensive star quarterback Tanner Mordecai hit WR D’Ante Thomas for 33 yards, but the Panthers needed to convert on 4th down to keep the drive alive. The Panthers were able to setup a two yard touchdown run by RB James Fullbright, with 6:20 on the clock. The defensive side of the ball came alive and both offenses were held in check for a most of the remaining first quarter. Midway was able to get into the end zone once again on a QB keeper by Mordecai with 1:13 left in the first bringing the score to 14-7 Midway.
Temple QB TJ Rumfield fumbled on in the red zone on Temple’s first possession of the 2nd quarter and it was recovered by Midway LB Tacoda Goodall at the 28 yard line. Midway was held to three and out on the following possession by the stout Wildcats defense. After a failed Temple possession, Midway QB Mordecai was picked off by Temple DB Markel Reed, who took it 76 yards for a touchdown making the score 14-14. Midway RB James Fullbright had a solid second quarter rushing the ball, before leaving the game with an injury. Mordecai was picked off once more by Temple DB BJ Sculark, who went out of bounds at the 26 yard line, the teams entered the half tied at 14.
The third quarter was the Marcus Johnson show for the Midway Panthers, the LB came in at the running back position in place of injured Fullbright and made a statement. Johnson found the end zone on a 16 yard run and after a missed PAT Midway took the lead 20-14. The Panthers defense forced an interception by Temple QB TJ Rumfield, as DB Grant Parnell picked it off at the 23 yard line. Tanner Mordecai hit WR Demarcus Degrate for a 77 yard touchdown, increasing their lead to 27-14. Temple was able to score once more and close the gap 27-21 at the end of the 3rd quarter.
Midway drove the ball down the field after a defensive struggle to start the 4th quarter and the Panthers missed a 31 yard field goal attempt. Temple was able to capitalize on the missed opportunity by the Panthers, as Rumfield found WR Xavier Johnson for a 15 yard touchdown, which gave Temple the lead 28-27. The Panthers answered as C.J. Williams was on the receiving end of a 41 yard touchdown pass,; Midway went for 2 but was unsuccessful making the score 33-28.
Midway was forced into a fourthe and 2 situation and Mordecai took the ball on a quarterback keeper and was given the first down on a close spot. Temple was flagged for an unsportsmanlike penalty after the spot of the ball and Midway gained an extra 15 yards on the drive. The ball was then handed off to the MVP of the game Marcus Johnson, who took it in for his second rushing touchdown of the night, bringing the score to 40-28 Midway.
Temple was given one last bit of hope, but guess who, Marcus Johnson sealed the victory for the Panthers with a quarterback sack. Next week the Panthers will host the 3-0 Waco High Lions in a cross-town rivalry game. Temple 2-1 will travel to Round Rock Cedar Ridge next Friday night.
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