THE GAME

The Panthers open District 5-5A action Friday night at 7:30 on the road against the Joshua Owls.

Owl Stadium is located at 909 South Broadway in Joshua.

GAME COVERAGE

The game — and every game this season — will be broadcasted heard live by the crew of Midlothian Panther radio at www.mhsradio.com or viewed online at www.nfhsnetwork.com.

The NFHS stream does carry a nominal subscription fee and will not air until sometime after 11 p.m. on Friday nights, per UIL rules. Subscriptions will allow fans to watch both Midlothian ISD teams, as well as many others across the state.

LAST TIME OUT

The Midlothian Panthers traveled to the historic Leo Buckley Stadium for their first road game of the season and dominated the Killeen Shoemaker Grey Wolves.

Behind 135 rushing yards from Nolan Samek and 100 more from Ethan Hill, the Panthers cruised to the 36-7 victory in a game they never trailed.

The Panthers led 8-7 at the half thanks to an 18-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Austen Thomas to Hill. They then received touchdown runs from the two in the third quarter before Thomas added a second rushing score in the fourth quarter.

Isaac Houston (5-27) scored the final touchdown for the Panthers late in the fourth quarter.

In his weekly newsletter, head football coach Doug Wendell said the Panthers excelled throughout the week in practice and "it showed Friday night."

"We played a much stronger and faster opponent than the previous week. This was a good win versus a 6A team," Wendell stated. "We intentionally scheduled Shoemaker with the thought that there would be lots of carryover on both sides of the ball and help prepare us for district play. I was really proud of the way we handled the rain delay, travel, and the style of play Shoemaker showed."

Thomas finished the game with 16 carries for 38 yards, while Laine Martin picked up 32 yards on five carries, Jeremy Mccoy had 26 yards on seven carries and Riley Angel had one carry for 23 yards.

Thomas and Nick DelosSantos combined to throw for 34 yards on 3-of-5 passing.

"Offensively, Shoemaker gave us multiple looks and man coverage most of the night," Wendell continued. "I thought the offensive staff made good adjustments at halftime. I told the kids at the half that our offseason, boot camp and August training camp prepared them to be in a four-quarter fight and that we would outlast them."

JT Cavendar led the defensive unit with nine total tackles and two tackles for loss. Jonathan Cox (6 tackles) and Nick Pollard (4 tackles) both recorded a tackle for loss.

Nathan Humpherys, a sophomore defensive back, hauled in the lone interception of a Shoemaker quarterback and returned the football 32 yards.

"Our defense is flying around making big plays," Wendell added.

Nolan Samek was a perfect 4-for-4 on point-after kicks.

ABOUT THE PANTHERS

Midlothian enters Friday's contest with its defensive having dominated Carrollton Creekview and Killeen Shoemaker. The Panthers have outscored their first two opponents 86-7 in those two contests.

JT Cavender leads the Panthers defensive unit with 17 total tackles and four tackles for loss.

Nick Pollard has 14 total tackles and three tackles for loss, while Austin Adams (12 tackles), JoNathan Cox (11 tackles), and Dylan Seago (11 tackles) have all reached double-digit tackles.

The Panthers offense has averaged 317.5 rushing yards per game over its first two ball games.

Nolan Samek leads the Panthers rushing attack with 167 yards on 10 carries, while sophomore Ethan Hill has 166 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries.

Quarterback Austen Thomas also has three rushing scores on his 24 rushes for 63 yards. He has also completed 4-of-8 passes for 76 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.

ABOUT THE OWLS

Joshua enters Friday night with a 1-1 record on the season after a week one loss to Lampasas (56-29) and a 36-0 win last week against Lake Worth.

Dave Campbell's Texas Football projects Joshua to finish seventh in the nine-team District 5-5A Division II standings.

The Owls returned three offensive and four defensive starters from last year's team that finished 4-6 overall and 2-5 in district action. Joshua has not made the playoffs since 1996.

According to Midlothian head football coach Doug Wendell, "They will have a big crowd and lots of enthusiasm against us. Joshua runs a spread offense with lots of RPOs. Defensively they run a four-man front. We are looking forward to this contest and will play with tremendous Panther pride!"

UP NEXT

The Panthers begin District 5-5A action at 7:30 p.m. next Friday on the road against the Joshua Owls.

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Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith

(469) 517-1470