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Sports

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Photo by Mike Sackett/Special to the Mirror

A group of Midlothian defenders gang tackle Justin Northwest running back Michael Reed during Friday’s game. The Panthers allowed just 228 yards of total offense to the Texans, the lowest total in more than a year by the defense.

Defending the homefront

Panther defense shuts down Northwest offense for final non-district victory By ALEX RILEY Mirror sports writer

By the time defensive lineman Ryan Jaisle got his hands on Justin Northwest quarterback Alec Laffoon, the defense had already proven a point. When Laffoon hit the turf, it was an exclamation point. A swarming Midlothian front seven controlled the line of scrimmage and limited the Texans to just 228 yards of total offense in an 18-6 win. Jaisle’s sack for a loss of 14 yards capped an effort that might have been the program’s best in years. Senior wide receiver Robert Kirkpatrick might have received the homecoming crown but it was the Panther defense that left the field as king. “It definitely felt good. We practiced all week on that, we knew they were going to come out and run the ball. It definitely felt good to be able to hold them,” Jaisle said. A week after putting up an impressive 152 yards rushing against Allen, the Texans ran into a wall of Panther defenders who were keyed in on stopping the run. None of the Northwest ball carriers cleared 40 yards rush-

Photo by Mike Sackett/Special to the Mirror

Midlothian defensive end grabs Justin Northwest quarterback Alec Laffoon for one of the team’s five sacks. ing on the night with an 11-yard gain going down as the longest rushing gain. Of course, negative plays helped that cause. The defensive line produced five sacks with

Panthers make big statement with start

I

ing staff, philosophies and t’s a two-word phrase game plans were beginning that hasn’t been used to to take root but there was still describe the Midlothian football program in quite some space for improvement. The Saginaw win was a time. Just call it a victory over an opwin streak. ponent the Panthers For the second should have beaten straight week, the and beaten by a sizPanther football able score. team came out Northwest was and took care of a should win game business winning but no guarantees. back-to-back games That’s what made for the first time that victory all the since 2007 when more important. the team beat Fort Alex Riley Last season, the Worth Brewer and Midlothian offense Arlington Seguin in Mirror had a habit of scorsequential weeks. ing but not scoring Friday’s 18-6 win Sports writer in timely situations. over Justin NorthThere were often west was a statetimes when it failed ment game. A statement that a lot has changed for to capitalize on momentum, leaving the door open for a Midlothian football over the comeback, which usually haplast year. pened. The season opener against Grapevine was a teaser. It See RILEY, Page 2C showed that the new coach-

Jaisle getting three of them. As a whole, the defensive unit posted 10 combined plays for negative yardage. “This week we really felt like if we stopped the run we would have a good chance. They actually had run the ball pretty well their last two games. We know how good Allen is and against a good Allen team they ran the ball well,” defensive coordinator Chris King said. “We felt like we had to stop the run and for the most part we did a good job of that. I was proud of them for playing hard and committing to a plan and staying with it.” All week long, the Midlothian offense answered questions about why the team had only posted 10 second half points this season. The offense did not score in the second half of Friday’s game. They didn’t have to. After holding Northwest to just one drive with seven or more plays in the first half, the defense turned up the intensity in the second half. Midlothian allowed yardage to the TexSee DEFENSE, Page 2C

Inside

• Kicker Dillon Wilson rebounds from rocky start • Wide reciever Bryan DuPont steps up when called upon • Blocked point after turns game, momentum around *Note: No game preview this week as the Panthers head into their bye week.

Seeton clears century mark

Sophomore becomes second Panther with 100-yard game By ALEX RILEY Mirror sports writer

It took almost 12 hours before Justin Seeton realized what he had done and despite everyone’s praise and compliments on Saturday, he still couldn’t figure it out. The sophomore running back became the second running back this season to gain 100 yards in a game for the Midlothian football team, joining teammate Kalen Semper with the honor. Semper gained 116 yards last week against Saginaw while Seeton posted 101 yards in Friday’s win over Northwest. Official stats from the game weren’t done until Saturday, leaving Seeton in the dark about his accomplishment. “I found out Saturday after workout and everybody was congratulating me and I couldn’t figure out what I was being congratulated for. When they told me I was fired up,” Seeton said with a laugh. A year after the Panther offense hardly reach 100 yards rushing as a team, the unit has seen a vast improvement thanks to hard work of players like Seeton. The sophomore runner has scored three rushing and one reSee SEETON, Page 3C

Photo by Mike Sackett/Special to the Mirror

Midlothian running back Justin Seeton followed his blockers for his first 100-yard rushing night against Northwest.


Sports

2C   Midlothian Mirror,   Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Alex Riley, Sports Writer 469-517-1456 | alex.riley@wninews.com

Northwest Game Notebook

Kicker proves it’s mind over matter

put up a perfect pass and I just executed,” DuPont said. After seeing no catches in the first two games of the year, DuPont snared three passes for 21 yards and that score. In each of the three non-district games, a different receiver has stepped up and been the top target on the team. To open the year, it was Phillip Smith who posted a 119-yard performance. Last week, the Panthers had Smith, Colton Thigpen and Kyler Brown each step up. Thigpen again had a good game against Northwest but it was DuPont’s day to step up. The balance is a good thing the unit hopes is only just beginning to shine. “We have four or five strong receivers and everyone of our receivers is strong. We just come up big when we need it. I guess this week was just my week,” DuPont said.

By ALEX RILEY Mirror sports writer

Dillon Wilson doesn’t miss much. In fact, he hardly misses at all. So when the Midlothian kicker sent a 43yard field goal and an extra point try sailing wide of the uprights, the feeling was one he struggled to understand. “Here’s the thing – truth, 100 percent truth, I got messed up in my mind. You see it a lot of time with a lot of kickers and that’s the job of being the kicker is that it’s a lot of mental,” Wilson said. Along with missing both kick attempts, Wilson was lining his kickoffs down the field, bouncing them before the 10-yard line. The low, line drives gave Justin Northwest returners time to get off decent returns. So, when a pair of penalties put the Panthers within field goal range with :01 left in the first half, there was no question who the team was calling on to kick the ball – Wilson. The plan nearly backfired. Lining up for the 30-yard try, Wilson launched a ball that knuckled its way out of scoring position. But the try was for naught as Northwest called a timeout just before the snap in an attempt to ice Wilson. The call had the reverse effect. Wilson received a pep talk from coach Lee Wiginton, trotted back out and hit the try to give the team an 18-6 lead. The defense held and the Panthers picked up a win by that same score. The team got the win, Wilson restored his confidence. “Coach Wig came over to me and said, ‘Hey, go play some football. Relax.’ He said, ‘There’s not one person out there I’d rather have hit this field goal than you.’ It settled me down and I nailed it,” Wilson said. After hitting the try, Wilson opened the second half by blasting a touchback deep into the end zone on the kickoff. Thanks to there being no scoring in the second half, the Panthers did not need his services again for the game. While the early part of the game was a rough patch, Wilson says he is better for it. The Kansas State commitment knows there will be a time when his team will call on him to hit a game-winning shot. He plans to be ready when that time comes. “I’m just feeling good right now. I’m going to try not to think about the first half and just build on what happened in the second half. This is the best thing that could have happened to me before college starts,” Wilson said.

Packed house

Extra bleachers and seating were needed to accommodate the crowd at Friday’s homecoming game. Reunions for the 1969 class and the 50th anniversary of the Pantherettes were on hand as the majority of seats were taken to create a standing room only environment on the home side of the field. The final count of fans was 8,265.

Continuing to score

With the 18 points scored in Friday’s game, the Midlothian offense continues to improve over last season. During the 2009 campaign, the Panthers cleared 18 points in seven of the 10 contests. Already this season, Midlothian has scored at least 18 points in all three games. Photo by Mike Sackett/Special to the Mirror

After struggling through his first kicks of the night, Midlothian’s Dillon Wilson rebounded with a big field goal to end the first half and opened the second half with a touchback.

DuPont finds his groove

During baseball season, Bryan DuPont handles the pressure of playing third base for Midlothian. It’s a spot on the field where a baseball can be hit like a rocket and require a player to get defensive or get hurt. There’s a reason it’s called the hot corner. So why would DuPont be nervous about having his number called during a passing play for the Panther football team? He couldn’t really explain it but he was happy to

grab it. DuPont, a senior receiver, hauled in his first catches of the season during Friday’s game against Northwest, including a seven-yard comeback route in the end zone for a touchdown. He was forced to a Santana Moss impersonation by catching the ball and tapping his feet in-bounds while falling out of bounds. “It was crazy. When they called the play I knew it was coming to me and I got kind of nervous. (Quarterback) Dillon (Fairbanks)

Injury report

Senior linebacker Chase Stokes appears lost for the season to an injury similar to that of fellow senior Blake Lunday. The senior linebacker was taken by ambulance for X-rays but early reports were a possible broken bone in his leg and knee ligament damage. Lunday, an offensive lineman, had a very similar injury in the first game of the season that required surgery to repair. Stokes had three tackles in the game before leaving. He finished with a total of 15 tackles for the season. Contact Alex at alex.riley@wninews.com or at 469-517-1456.

Defense

Riley

ans who crossed into Panther territory on their final two possessions of the game. Both times, the defense stood firm and prevented any points from being put on the board. Facing a fourth and five to start the fourth period, Northwest picked up the necessary yardage to keep the drive alive with a nine-yard pass to the 20yard line. The Texans wouldn’t be in the red zone very long as a pass went for a three-yard loss thanks to the defense of Slater Gravens. After a third down pass was broken up by Gage Windsor, the Texans were forced to go for it to try and narrow the gap. That’s when Jaisle brought down Laffoon for an eight-yard loss to halt the drive. Again Northwest had the ball with a potential point-scoring drive in mind. A pair of offside flags against Midlothian put the Texans in good shape. After a chop block call backed Northwest up, defensive end Vincent Panza stepped up for a sack. On the next snap, Jaisle got another sack. In two plays, the Texans lost 17 yards. “It feels great. We knew what we had to do,” Panza said. “We were down in the fourth quarter but we knew we had to finish because that was problem last year. But we stuck it out and finished.” For the night, Northwest was limited to just 93 yards on 26 carries for an average of 3.6 yards per carry. Their passing game produced 178 yards on 20 completions but only one pass went for 30-plus yards and only one receiver finished with 45-plus yards receiving. The 228 total yards allowed is the lowest total since allowing 248 to Cleburne last season. The second half stand and strong overall performance were things King attributed to his unit’s experience ear-

On Friday, after the Texans had a point after attempt blocked and returned for two points, Midlothian drove the field on the ensuing drive and scored. When Northwest committed a pair of personal foul penalties just before the end of the half to set the team up in field goal position, it scored. Last year, the Midlothian defense had a negative reputation of allowing big plays, big yardage and second half scoring that cost the team wins. There were questions of their ability to finish that lingered into this season’s opener as Grapevine rallied for a win. On Friday, those questions were answered when the unit picked up five second half sacks, allowed no points and dominated Northwest in the second half. It threw the Texans for 10 plays of negative yardage and allowed less than 230 yards of total offense. The questions that hung over the team at the beginning of the season are nowhere to be found. This team has responded and responded well. One or two bounces of the ball and Midlothian is a 3-0 team. But 2-1 is where it needs to be. That one loss serves as a reminder of how far they have come and how far they still have to go.

Continued from Page 1C

Continued from Page 1C

Photo by Mike Sacket/Special to the Mirror

Linebackers Victor Gonzales and Colton Clanton put a hit on Justin Northwest quarterback Alec Laffoon during Friday’s game. The Panther defense had 10 plays go for negative yardage. lier this season. After holding a sizable second half lead against Grapevine, the Panthers allowed a rally that led to an eventual overtime loss. With that game in the back of the defense’s mind, the squad was motivated to not let that happen again. It was a nice game. But players acknowledged there

is still much work to be done. “It gets us pumped up, excited for district. It’s a win but we’ve got to go into district even better than we are right now,” Panza said. Contact Alex at alex.riley@wninews. com or at 469-517-1456.

Scout player of the week Will Marks

Teacher of the week Mr. Shackelford Defensive player of the week Slater Gravens, SR

Special teams player of the week

Gage Windsor, SR

Alex is a sports writer for Waxahachie Newspapers Inc. covering Midlothian athletics. Contact him at alex.riley@wninews.com or at 469517-1456.

Follow WNI sports writer Alex Riley on Facebook for in-game updates and breaking sports news.

Panther players of the week

Offensive player of the week Jeffery Reynolds, SR

As players roamed through the stands after Friday’s game, there were hugs and handshakes of congratulations from classmates, family members, friends and the community in general. Fans simply hung around, refusing to leave, soaking it all in. Has it really been four seasons since this program had a winning record? Yes, and that’s what made the feeling worth sticking around for. The road is far from over and it won’t get easier. The upcoming district schedule is tough. It will test all the things this team has been taught. Winning will not be given, it will be earned. There will be plenty of nights when the Panthers will be the smaller, slower and overall less talented team. The players know that. But those factors aren’t the only thing that will factor into the outcome. To quote legendary college coach Lou Holtz, “Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” All three factors are right for more success. Now the test begins. Now the season begins. And this team looks ready for whatever comes.

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Sports Junior Enderle embracing new roles, competition

Wednesday, September 15, 2010   Midlothian Mirror   3C

Alex Riley, Sports Writer 469-517-1456 | alex.riley@wninews.com

By ALEX RILEY

Upcoming schedule

Mirror sports writer

If the natural order of things was in balance, Hunter Enderle would be a veteran simply playing tennis for Midlothian. Leadership wouldn’t really be a word buzzing around him. In fact, he’d be learning how to lead for next season. This season is not that easy. With a small amount of senior players of the Midlothian tennis team this season, Enderle has been called on to offer guidance, advice and show leadership to a very young program. The junior doesn’t skate around the subject because frankly there is no place to skate. “They kind of tell us that we’re going to be the leaders now. There’s really not anyone older than us so we’re really the leaders, we’re the ones everyone looks up to,” Enderle said. “It’s kind of tough because just coming into a season and being told, ‘Hey, you’re going to be the leaders now, there’s no one really above you, so you’re kind of the role model. You have to change your ways. You have to the leader, everyone looks up to you now.’” Last season, Enderle was on the other end of the spectrum. As a sophomore for the Panther program, Enderle was one of the top four players all last season. He and team-

Sept. 17 @ S. Grand Prairie Sept. 21 vs. Duncanville Sept. 24 @ Mansfield Legacy Sept. 28 vs. Cedar Hill *All matches at 3 p.m. mate Tyler Honeycutt took home fourth place in doubles at district. His hope coming into the season was to build on that experience. He didn’t realize he’d have to do it so quickly. While the leadership role on the team has been left to those few players with varsity experience, Enderle seems to be handling all the roles and requests of him very well. His record as the No. 2 boys player is solid. Truth be told, he doesn’t mind the challenge. It only makes him more alert and prepared. “I think it makes it a little tougher. You can’t really slack off as much

Photo by Alex Riley/The Mirror

Junior tennis player Hunter Enderle has quickly been thrust into a leadership role on the Midlothian tennis team with the lack of senior players. because everybody is watching you. You have to be on your best all the time,” Enderle said. After a solid weekend of work at the Texas High Tournament, the tennis program is preparing for uncharted territory as a member of the 5A classification. District play opens with a road trip to South

Grand Prairie, a home match against Duncanville and a road match at Mansfield Legacy. The new frontier might worry some athletes. Not Enderle. He’s been thrust into new experiences and situations before. He believes the team will respond accordingly. “This is the first year in 5A,

you’re not really sure what to expect so you want to be tip-top all the time,” Enderle said. “So far I think we’ve done really good. You can’t really ask for much more. We’re doing our best and it’s showing.” Contact Alex at alex.riley@ wninews.com or at 469-517-1456.

Providing a needed spark Blocked point after attempt serves as turning point in second straight win By ALEX RILEY Mirror sports writer

Photo by Mike Sackett/Special to the Mirror

Gage Windsor’s scoop and score on a blocked extra point try helped turn the game in Midlothian’s favor.

Can one play in the first half really change the entire outcome of a football game? Give Gage Windsor a second to catch his breath and he’ll tell you it will. After Northwest running back Michael Reed found the end zone from three yards out, the Midlothian football team clung to a one-point lead with the ensuing extra point try bound to tie the game at 7-7. Enter Eric Agbaroji. Put on the special teams front line as an edge rusher, Agbaroji had already blocked one kick this season, a field goal try by Grapevine’s Alex Mueller in game one. Why not block another one? “Coach (Jimmy) Spradley our special teams coach he always says if you get a block in a game there’s a 95 percent chance you’re going to win that game,” Agbaroji said. “I kind of pride myself now on trying to get blocks, coming off the edge as fast as I can. Last year was pretty tough with that knee injury but I mean everybody

Seeton

Continued from Page 1C ceiving touchdown this season, including one rushing score against the Texans. Seeton posted career highs in both carries (18) and yards (101) while averaging 5.61 yards per carry. His 29-yard scamper early in the second period set up a field goal try for the Panthers and is the longest run from scrimmage for the team so far this season. The improved run game is something Seeton attributes to more than just good backs, citing a team effort as the reason Midlothian has found success on the ground each week. “I believe that we have more chances to get that 100 yards a game. We have better blockers, it’s just kind of syncing up with everything,” Seeton said. “Our lineman are busting their butt, our wide receivers are doing their part to help us out and it’s starting to open up a lot of stuff for us.” Last fall, the Panther run game never really got on track as Brent Middleton’s 100-yard effort in the season finale was the only 100-yard individual game of the season. As a whole, the Panther offense cleared 100 or more yards of rushing as a team in just three of the 10 games. Quarterback Dillon Fairbanks was the

Photo by Mike Sackett/Special to the Mirror

Running back Justin Seeton high steps his way for a touchdown against Northwest. He finished the game with 101 yards rushing. rushing leader last fall with 428 yards while Michael Glenn had 191 and Middleton added 187. Already this season, Seeton has 238 yards followed by 158 from Fairbanks and another 151 from Semper. Coach Lee Wiginton doesn’t stress

knows I’m healthy now so watch out.” When the senior turned the corner there wasn’t a blocker between him and the holder. As Matt Paytonjian put toe to leather, Agbaroji laid out and stopped the try. The ball took a bounce perfectly into the arms of Windsor, who for a second didn’t realize he had the ball. With Agbaroji in tow, the duo raced more than 90 yards for a two-point conversion. Instead of a tie ball game, the Panthers had a 9-6 lead. “I couldn’t believe that it even came to me. We’ve been just going backside looking for a block every time this week. It came in my hands and I could never be so thankful to Eric for that,” Windsor said. “I’ve never been so tired in my life. I came over here to the sidelines and I just puked my guts out. I was dying.” More importantly, it turned momentum. On the next drive, Midlothian scored to go up 15-6. A field goal on the final snap of the first half put the team up 18-6. There would be no more points in the game as

the importance of individual statistics but moving the ball on a consistent basis. In theory if that happens, the stats will come. “I think it’s neat to have a couple 100yard rushers in there but that’s not really one of our team goals or individual goals or any of those things. It’s just to move the ball on a consistent basis and I think at times we’ve done that and at times we haven’t moved it like we wanted to. I’m happy for Justin as a sophomore to have his first 100-yard game,” Wiginton said. “To be honest, yesterday we didn’t talk about that, he didn’t talk about that, it was just another night on the gridiron for him.” Establishing a ground game has been a goal all through spring and fall training and into the regular season for Midlothian. The hope is that they’re well on the way to doing that. Seeton shrugs off a lot of the personal accolades and praise for his efforts on Friday because there is still plenty of season left to play and more 100-yard marks to reach. Still, it was a nice feeling to work and be rewarded. “It feels great because it’s the first time like you said. Been working hard and it finally paid off to get that 100yard mark. It wasn’t by much but 100 yards is 100 yards,” Seeton said. Contact Alex at alex.riley@wninews. com or at 469-517-1456.

Box Score Midlothian 18, Saginaw 6 Saginaw Midlothian

0 6 00 7 11 0 0

Total yards First downs Penalty-yard Rushes/yds Passing yds

NW Midlo 228 319 15 19 6-70 3-25 37/212 26/93 178 107

Passing Dillon Fairbanks 12-of-19 for 107 yards and one touchdown Rushing Bryce Murphy two carries for five yards, Kalen Semper six carries for 29 yards, Dillon Fairbanks nine carries for 70 yards, Justin Seeton 18 carries for 101 yards and one touchdown Receiving Derrick Agbaroji one catch for

six yards, Phillip Smith two catches for 11 yards, Justin Seeton two catches for 22 yards, Colton Thigpen four catches for 47 yards, Brian DuPont three catches for 21 yards and a touchdown Defensive plays Sacks: Chris Lampkins, Vincent Panza, Ryan Jaisle (3) Kick blocks: Nathan Fisher and Eric Agbaroji

the defense held fast and kept the Texans out of the red zone. The block served notice that the Panthers are capable of making game-changing plays in all three facets of the game. Already this season, the defense, offense and special teams have come up with statement drives that punctuate a win. While there is still a lot of season left to play out, Windsor sees the team’s success so far as a good sign of things to come. After all, last season the Panthers weren’t making these plays. That right there is a difference everyone can see. “It is a great feeling. That shows how much we’re improving in every aspect of the game,” Windsor said. “When they score, it should be a momentum for them. But when we’re able to stand up and stop them and change the momentum right back, it’s wonderful. A great feeling.” Contact Alex at alex.riley@wninews. com or at 469-517-1456.

Senior Taylor shines at Pebble Beach event Cody Taylor, a senior golfer at Midlothian, and D.A. Weibring finished seventh at the First Tee Open at Pebble Beach held Septe. 3-5. The tournament format was best ball with each player playing their own ball and taking the best score on each hole, between a junior player and a Champions Tour player. Taylor, the first male Panther golfer to advance to state, had 14 birdies in his three rounds of play. The Champions players were also competing in a normal event as well. To show you how well Taylor played as the junior, here is a list of Champions players’ scores from the top 7 team spots: 1) -21 team and Russ Cochran -10 2) -20 team and Tom Pernice Jr. -13 3) -19 team and Tom Kite -12 4) -19 team and Olin Browne -8 5) -18 team and Ted Schulz -14 6) -17 team and Bobby Clampett -9 7) -16 team and D.A. Weibring Even


Sports

4C   Midlothian Mirror,   Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Alex Riley, Sports Writer 469-517-1456 | alex.riley@wninews.com

Volleyball mid-season report

Ready for life in 5A district play By ALEX RILEY Mirror sports writer

An up-and-down record is nothing new to the Lady Panther volleyball team to start a season. Every year, coach Rhonda Currey puts her team in some of the toughest tournaments in the state of Texas (namely the Duncanville and Pearland events) and every year the team takes its lumps. And every year it seems to use those tournaments as a spring board to a good district run. This season was no different as the Lady Panthers entered district play on Friday with a 10-14 overall record. Thanks to a hardfought, four set win over Mansfield Timberview, Midlothian opened 5-5A play with a 1-0 record to give the team wins in four of the last six matches played. The upcoming district slate isn’t overly impressive as six of the eight teams have opened the year with sub-.500 records. Only Mansfield had a winning record but did not play a district match on Friday. The biggest obstacles between Midlothian and a district title look to be Duncanville and Mansfield. Timberview put up a fight but the Lady Panthers proved they were the better team in this go-round. The schedule lays out well with the first three match-ups of district play at home followed by trips to Cedar Will and South Grand Prairie. There might be a few games that go to five sets but the Lady Panthers have a chance to finish well ahead of the fourth place spot in the district race.

First half MVP: Tadam Merenger,

Questions abounded about her return to the court following a massive knee injury. Those questions have since been answered. Mergener has either led or been near the top of the leader board in kills every match this season. Her outside hitting has been as good as it ever was and that is a good sign for the Lady Panthers. Mergener continues to wow opposing teams with her vertical leaping ability, showing no sign of injury at all. The junior has also been a leader for Midlothian with good defense and a willingness to set up teammates for the kill. All those factors have helped her shine in the early goings.

Photo by Gary Puckett/Special to the Mirror

After a sub-.500 non-district showing, the Lady Panthers will build off the lessons in their first season of 5A competition. Opposing teams will key on Mergener in the second half, which should open things up for someone like Lexa Corbin but the seasoned player should continue to post gaudy numbers until then.

Defensive MVP: Destiny Berry

Berry has been a block machine this season, posting an average of about four block kills per game. Her vertical game has been tested all year and each time she has responded by showing she is up to the challenge. The opposition has taken away some of her killing prowess with good defensive effort but they have not been able to stop her from towering over the net and Photo by Gary Puckett/Special to the Mirror putting a block down to end Coming off injury, Tadam a serve. Some of the teams Mergener has played as Midlothian will face in the well as any player in the second half might have taller Metroplex this season and players on their front line but continues to be a force for none will be as athletic or as the Lady Panthers. mentally prepared as Berry.

Surprise player Madi Wilkerson

This spot could have gone to a number of players but predicting Wilkerson’s efforts would have been a stretch. There was little doubt the talented freshman would play some as the coaching staff wouldn’t have called her up otherwise. But Wilkerson’s play in tough spots has been flawless. She has served for match point, played libero and been a defensive standout

Box Scores Sept. 7 vs. Red Oak L, 17-25, 17-25, 25-21, 24-26 Sept. 10 vs. Mansfield Timberview W, 25-23, 23-25, 25-20, 26-24

Upcoming schedule Sept. 17 vs. Mansfield Sept. 21 @ Cedar Hill *All games at 6:30 p.m.

MISD Sub-varsity Round-up

Red Oak 25-8, 14-25, 25-14. The A team was defeated by Mansfield Timberview in their first district match on Friday 12-25, 27-25, 17-25. Their record is now 6-4 on the season and 0-1 in district. The freshman B team was also defeated by Timberview 23-25, 23-25. Their record is 0-4 on the season and 0-1 in district.

Photo by Alex Riley/The Mirror

Freshman libero Megan Jones returns a ball during action earlier this season. The A team is 6-4 on the year.

Frank Seale seventh-grade volleyball update

The Frank Seale Middle School Lady Cub seventh-grade B team lost a hard fought battle to the Howard Lady Knights 25-22, 17-25, 25-26. Ciera Cunning and Shelby Hicks had strong serves and the whole team played well.

Frank Seale eighth-grade volleyball update

The Frank Seale eighth-grade A Lady Cubs, started off their season opener off with a stellar win over the Howard Lady Knights 25-7, 25-20. The Lady Cub eighth-grade B team was defeated by Howard 18-25, 25-21, 25-20.

Freshman football update

The freshmen had an up and down evening last Thursday. The black team traveled to Frisco Heritage and fell 28-12 to the Coyotes. Abraham Beam had a 60-yard kickoff return while the offense was lead by Daniel Gordon. Defensively, the Panthers’ heavy hitter this week was Travon Semper. The white team lit the fireworks with a 4420 win over Northwest. Offensively, the two headed quarterback combo of Bryant Malone and Taylor Rawlinson were all over the field throwing, running and blocking. Con-

Biggest positive

The words tenacity and heart keep rearing up when discussing the Lady Panther first half of the season and for good reason. On more than on occasion, the team has been down in a set and on more than one occasion they’ve rallied. That will be a crucial factor in any second half success as the team is sure to face plenty of adversity. How they overcome it will be critical to making a run at a district title.

Work in progress

Sadly, the Lady Panthers have struggled with killer instinct. There have been matches where they’ve been ahead but haven’t been able to put the other team away. If that lingers, it could cause some problems down the road. This team is pretty united in a common goal to win but there needs to be more than one player who is ready to step up and put a match away when it really matters. Contact Alex at alex.riley@wninews.com or at 469-517-1456.

than Brooks and Jacob Montes was steady as they made some key catches and blocks down the stretch. The three freshman teams finish their nondistrict play with a combined 7-2 record.

Junior varsity football update

Junior varsity volleyball update

The junior varsity volleyball team won a battle against Abilene 25-19, 18-25, 2521. Victoria Rees had six kills followed by Marisa Ellis with five. Maggie Brown had 34 passes while Chandler Gentry dominated with 13 serves. The JV team got a solid win last night against Red Oak defeating them in two sets, 25-12 and 25-13. The JV volleyball team started its district season with an outstanding win against Mansfield Timberview, 25-10, 25-14. Their overall record is now 12-1 with a 1-0 start to district.

on the back row in plenty of games this year. What’s surprising about Wilkerson’s play has been that she’s beaten plenty of other players out for playing time. On a team with 15 other athletes, being a freshman who has received as much action as she has is a huge boost for Midlothian.

Photo by Alex Riley/The Mirror

The freshmen teams finished nondistrict play with combined 7-2 record after going 1-2 last week. nor Buttgen, Jacolby Foreman and Dakarai Berry caught a few balls but really stood out as excellent blockers. Roman Brown had an interception returned for a touchdown to cap it all off. The blue team ran out of luck as it fell 2212. The defense was the story of the night after being put in bad situations all night and responding every time. The defensive line was anchored by Clark Wickliffe while the linebacking core was led by Donavan Hernandez, Riley Trevino, Dylan Clary and Ryan Sisco. In the secondary Alex Cazares, Brendan Cornell and Victor Williams help shut down the Texans’ air attack. Offensively, the Panthers were highlighted by a 55-yard catch by Na-

For the first time in many years, the Midlothian junior varsity football team has an unblemished record through the first three games thanks to a 23-14 win over Justin Northwest. Jordan Deidrich had three touchbacks and also punted the ball well all night giving the Panthers the field position edge for the majority of the game. Allan Jordan had a huge tackle on kickoff to stun the Texans early in the second half. The coverage on kickoff was really good all night. The JV defense had another stellar performance as they held Northwest in check all night. The Panther unit had numerous tackles for loss and also a key safety late in the game. Will Marks (tackle for safety), Devon Golden and Kendall Jackson were causing havoc in the Northwest backfield all night. Blake Starnes had a caused fumble and Kyle McComas had a fumble recovery. The offense scored on three explosive plays, twice in the first three plays from scrimmage as Jordan Dietrich had catches of 73 and 61 yards from Bryce Fausett for touchdowns and Beechy Sutton had a 33-yard run for a touchdown. The offensive line continues to improve and was led by Dillon Faulkner, who did a fine job on the line. –Alex Riley and staff reports

Pantherette weekly honors and reunion

Walnut Grove eighth-grade volleyball update

The Walnut Grove Lady Cats eighth-grade volleyball teams had a great start to the season last night defeating Wester. Both A and B teams won starting off at 1-0 in district. The B team went threes sets 16-25, 25-16, 25-17. Top servers were Carley Haizlip, Harley Floyd, and Callen Gentry. The A team won in two sets 25-22, 25-19. Top servers were Keaton Shirk and Lauren Paschall.

Freshman volleyball update

The freshman A volleyball team defeated

Photo special to the Mirror

Hannah Knight, Spirit girl of the week

Brittany Titus, Pantherette of the week

Former and current members fo the Pantherette dance team held a 50th anniversary reunion during last week’s homecoming game. The group featured former Pantherettes from many different classes.


Mirror Sports 9-15  

All four pages of the Midlothian Mirror sports section from 9-15

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