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November 29, 2008
Midway returns to Corsicana and defends 16-4A flag
Tiger fans watched this movie way back in October.
Midway jumping out to a big lead with all its playmakers from running back John Hubert to receiver Todd Glaesmann making huge plays.
Midway punishing opposing running backs.
Midway having the look of a state championship team.
Fast forward to Friday afternoon, with powerhouse Highland Park in town at Tiger Stadium, and there was Midway leading 28-7 late in the first half of a regional semifinal playoff game.
It kind of felt like a few months ago, when Midway blitzed the Tigers with a 21-0 first quarter, then cruised to a 43-7 road victory to go to 2-0 in district.
It was at that point, Panthers coach Kent Bachtel said after Friday's 41-36 victory over the Scots here, that Midway had a feeling it would be in the playoffs.
And once you get into the playoffs, especially with good players - and Midway has a lot of them - then you just never know.
"We knew there was the Big 4, Ennis, Waxahachie, Waco and Corsicana," Bachtel said. "We knew when we got one of those wins we were probably on our way. So that win here was huge. We knew we were probably in there."
Sounds pretty confident considering that Tigers-Panthers game was only the second district game of the season, but Midway had good reason then and now to believe it had the makings of a special team.
"We knew we were good back then," said Hubert, who had 282 yards and four touchdowns on 35 carries against the Scots. "We were positive about it after we played that game."
If Midway knew after beating the Tigers they were a very good team, they're even more convinced of it now.
Midway has now run a gauntlet where it has defeated Ennis, Waco, Waxahachie, Forney, Texarkana Texas High and Highland Park in the last six weeks.
"That's an unreal run," Bachtel said. "And we'll get our toughest test next week."
Midway will get the winner of the Carter-Longview showdown at 2 p.m. today at Tiger Stadium.
It will be difficult to match Friday afternoon's atmosphere. Some fans stayed away because of the cold and rain, but still there were at least 8,000 fans in attendance for Midway-Highland Park.
What they saw was Midway control the game, leading 28-14 at halftime and then holding Highland Park to a crucial field goal to start the third quarter as the Scots started out with the ball.
"We needed a touchdown there," Scots coach Randy Allen said. "We missed some opportunities, but that's not to take anything away from Midway."
Midway built its lead to 35-17 in the fourth quarter before the Scots pulled off another one of their cardiac rallies. The Scots, who had two touchdowns and a two-point conversion called back because of penalties, had Midway scrambling at 35-30 with five minutes left.
Hubert did his thing again, breaking off yet another long run, this one of 24 yards after scoring on runs of 33, 37, and 34, giving the Panthers the lead at 41-30 with just over a minute left.
Highland Park kept scoring, making it 41-36 with a minute left, and the Scots nearly recovered an onside kick.
But on this day, Midway was better.
The Panthers will have to shore some things up next week against Carter or Longview. They were flagged for four pass interference calls in the fourth quarter, and as far as managing the game, they left too much time on the clock for Highland Park's explosive offense.
But with Hubert running like he did - he had an ice pack on his leg after the game that Bachtel said was for a cramp - and the big-play ability of the 6-5 Glaesmann to go with physical play on both lines, Midway is a strong bet to win state if it gets by the next round.
"We love playing football," Midway defensive tackle James Morris said. "We're going to state."