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Midway dominates pair of quarters to win big in Ennis

Panthers capitalize on short-field scoring opportunities
The Ennis Lions didn’t play well on Friday and lost convincingly, but it wasn’t as if they faced any old 4A team.
Anyone who witnessed the action could clearly see the Midway Panthers (7-1, 5-0) are an outstanding football team and the Lions (7-1, 4-1) would’ve needed their A-plus game for a shot at victory. Instead, Midway won the turnover battle 6-0 and the game 56-31.
“We really were going to have to play a great ballgame for four quarters to have a chance to beat a playoff-caliber team like Midway,” said coach Sam Harrell.
“Midway is a really good football team; they’re so solid everywhere. In two quarters, we played the type of offense you’d hope for and in the other two we didn’t at all.
“Defensively, we just didn’t tackle tonight. It was a free test of what the playoffs will be like, so we’ve obviously got to get better in some areas.”
The six Ennis turnovers directly led to 21 points for Midway in a game the Lions lost by 25. Though the Panthers deserve credit for creating several of the fumbles and interceptions, Ennis might very well have kept the result in doubt heading to the fourth quarter had it been more prudent with the pigskin.
Due to all the short fields the Midway offense enjoyed thanks to the turnovers and several outstanding returns in the kicking game, Ennis actually finished with more first downs (26-24) and substantially more offensive yardage (433-327).
In the second and fourth quarters combined, Ennis outscored Midway 31-28. In the first and third quarters, Midway scored the only 28 points while Ennis mustered just three first downs and committed five of its six turnovers.
Quarterback D.J. Betik finished with 288 passing yards and two touchdowns, as well as 47 rushing yards. One of his three interceptions clearly wasn’t his fault and a number of drops prevented him from producing far bigger numbers.
Kyle Guinyard had his share of miscues, but he also had a gigantic evening with 11 receptions for 193 yards and two touchdowns. Against by far the toughest run defense he’s faced, Tim Hearne had a solid effort on the ground (14-65-1).
While it was a long night for the Lion defense, there were several plays made in the Midway backfield. Jason Minchew led the way with a sack and a tackle for loss, while Miguel Almanza (sack), Thomas Carter (tackle for loss) and Rob Boyd (tackle for loss) were also responsible for lost Panther yardage.
Staying with their winning formula, the Panthers were a two-man show on offense. Running back John Hubert will be hard-pressed to ever top his production on Friday after compiling 227 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.
The versatile Todd Glaesmann finished with 107-total yards and a touchdown on 10 touches. As for Midway’s rushing and receiving production beyond those two players, it was actually negative-seven yards on the ground.

Worst-case scenario for Lion start
Literally the only two positive plays for Ennis in the opening quarter were a six-yard first-down run by Hearne and Boyd’s tackle for loss. After holding the Lions to a three-and-out, Midway began a 12-play, 67-yard drive. Other than a couple of decent runs by quarterback Corey Holmes, the drive was all about Hubert as he scored from a yard out (kick good, 0-7).
As Ennis approached midfield during its second possession, cornerback Brandon Knapp lunged in front of Guinyard to intercept a Betik pass. Though the Panther fumbled, teammate Ahmad Dixon recovered the ball and returned it 16 yards to the 50.
The Lions did well to force a punt and escape the miscue, but Guinyard tried to snag the ball on the bounce with Panthers nearby and Midway recovered his fumble at the Ennis 9. The home team couldn’t prevent Midway from completing a three-play drive via a two-yard Hubert run (kick good, 0-14).
On the third play of the next Ennis drive, Betik ran for 12 yards on a keeper only to see Knapp recover his fumble. It appeared as though the signal caller might’ve been down before the ball came out, but the officials thought otherwise.
“We turned the ball over three times in three minutes and you can’t do that against good opponents,” Harrell said.
Hubert didn’t have to do much on the six-play drive that ensued. Glaesmann caught a first-down pass and drew a pass-interference penalty, which set the tailback up for a six-yard sprint-and-dive into the end zone on the first play of the second quarter (kick good, 0-21).
In desperate need of a big play, the Lions got one from Guinyard. On second down, the junior caught a screen pass and sped down the sideline. After breaking a tackle, he cut back to the middle and juked a pair of defenders to make good on a 70-yard touchdown (Colby Threet kick good, 7-21).
“Kyle had some big catches and kept battling, but it wasn’t a really good night for anybody on the team,” Harrell said.
With Ennis now in the midst of its best stretch of play all night, the Lion defense rose up. After sound tackles by Chonston Williams and Miguel Almanza, Minchew sacked Holmes on third down to force a punt.
With momentum in its corner, Ennis marched 87 yards in 11 plays. Blake Adams and Deonte McDade caught first-down passes, while Betik (two) and McDade ran for first downs. After an eight-yard Guinyard reception drew his team close, Jyavon King sped up the middle for a four-yard touchdown (kick good, 14-21).
With another defensive stop, the Lions would be in fantastic shape late in the half. On Midway’s first offensive play, however, Hubert went wide and broke a tackle to blaze a trail down the sideline for a 74-yard touchdown (kick good, 14-28). On a night of many big plays, it may well have loomed the largest.
“Hubert was everything I expected,” Harrell said of a player who rushed for 1,747 yards and 22 touchdowns as a junior in 2007. The Panther already has 22 touchdowns in 2008.
“He’s not real big, but he runs so hard and he’s hard to tackle. We showed that at times tonight and he’s fast enough to hurt you bad.”
The Lion offense was still in a rhythm, and so it began another march down the field. Betik threw deep down the middle into double coverage and Guinyard made a fantastic leaping 30-yard grab. Hearne got going as he ran for a pair of first downs and drew a facemask penalty to give Ennis first-and-goal at the Panther 5.
Betik was then brought down for a loss, and the Lions didn’t have enough time left to run the ball. Knapp came up big to break up a couple of passes intended for Guinyard, forcing the Lions to settle for a 25-yard Threet field goal (17-28).
Having returned the previous kickoff to the Midway 39, Dixon gave Ennis a major scare in the final seconds of the half with a kick return to the Lion 44. An Almanza sack managed to prevent any further damage, however.

Opportunistic Panthers pull away
As awful as the start had been for the Lions, they were still very much in the ballgame as the third quarter began. Unfortunately, disaster struck in the next four minutes.
After Hubert ran the kickoff back to the Midway 44, he ran for a first down and then Ennis committed a personal foul. The next play saw Glaesmann head left on a keeper and break multiple tackles for a 30-yard touchdown run (kick good, 17-35).
Ennis’ first offensive play of the half saw Hearne lose a fumble, as James Morris made the recovery. Hubert then pounded the ball on four of five plays, including a nine-yard touchdown (kick good, 17-42). Though the Lion defense brought up fourth-and-short along the way, a Holmes keeper did the trick.
“I thought the third quarter was worse than the first quarter because we seemed to answer the call in the second quarter to get back in the game,” Harrell said.
“If we win the third quarter it’s a ballgame, but it started out like the first quarter and it put us too far behind.”
While Betik completed first-down passes to Charles Cox and Adams on the next Lion possession, his pass intended for Guinyard was tipped up into the air and picked off by Vyonte Guess. Carter’s tackle for loss on third down helped force a Midway punt, but the Lions committed a pair of personal foul penalties as they had to punt in front of their own end zone and Guess returned the ball back to the Lion 22.
Having previously scored on a 20-yard drive, Midway overcame a holding call for another short march as Hubert found the end zone yet again from three yards out (kick good, 17-49).
Proving they were human, the Panthers committed a pair of foolish personal foul penalties on the next Lion drive. Betik threw a first-down pass to Guinyard and Hearne ran for a 12-yard gain before the running back dove into the end zone from a yard out (kick good, 24-49).
Dixon took the ensuing kickoff and reversed his field to reach the Ennis 31. With more spectacular field position, it didn’t take Midway long. Glaesmann made a great leaping 30-yard grab down the middle as Hubert followed with his seventh-and-final touchdown (kick good, 24-56).
“We were trying to keep it away from [Dixon] on the kickoffs and somehow he kept getting it and returning the ball across midfield,” Harrell said.
“It just wasn’t a good night for us in all three phases.”
While Hearne opened the next Ennis drive with a 12-yard run, a deep pass by Betik was intercepted by cornerback Chris Jones. Fortunately, Minchew’s tackle for loss on first down helped bring about a Panther punt.
With the contest long since decided, credit the Lions for finishing with a 13-play, 89-yard scoring drive. Betik completed first-down passes to McDade (two), Cox and Guinyard (two) as Ennis recaptured its strong execution from the second quarter. On third-and-goal, Guinyard made a leaping five-yard touchdown grab just across the goal line to finalize the score (kick good, 31-56).
Several Lions were banged up after the loss, with King being the main concern. The junior only played the first-two quarters.
“Jyavon hurt his shoulder and we really hope he’ll be okay,” Harrell said.
Ennis will now travel to face the Midlothian Panthers on Friday, as the blue team is fresh off a 17-16 victory over Waco University.
“Midway is definitely big school and we’re small school [regarding enrollment], so this game really won’t affect playoff pairings if both teams take care of business from here,” Harrell said.
“We’re going to have to get healthy and go play hard in Midlothian. Even though their chance for the playoffs is probably gone, anytime they have a chance to beat Ennis they get excited. We’ll get their best shot.”

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Posted by on Oct 27 2008. Filed under Editorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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