With a 2-1 overall record the Midlothian Panthers, celebrated homecoming and begin the District 5-5A portion of their schedule against the South Grand Prairie Warriors.
The Panthers took their two-game win streak into Friday night with the Warriors who were currently riding a two-game losing streak as district play began.
Midlothian was not able to contain the Warriors’ running game as South Grand Prairie grabbed the first game of district play 45-24.
Midlothian’s defense came up big early after a South Grand Prairie punt return gave the Warriors the ball at the Midlothian 27-yard line. Seven plays later, the Panthers only yielded a 22-yard field goal to the Warriors, who took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter.
Later in the first quarter, Treavon Peace intercepted a Warrior pass to set up Midlothian inside South Grand Prairie territory. The Panthers drove down inside the Warrior 25-yard line and then missed a 42-yard field goal and a chance to tie the game.
After taking the ball back over on downs, the Warriors went on a 75-yard, 10-play drive that ended on an eight-yard touchdown run by Quaze Woods and with a good extra point and 7:59 left in the half, South Grand Prairie led 10-0.
On the Warriors’ next possession, the Midlothian defense would get the Panthers on the board. On the third play of the drive, Beach Sutton intercepted a Warrior pass and retuned the pigskin 35 yards and with a Jordan Diedrich’s successful extra point, the Panthers trailed 10-7 with 3:22 remaining in the first half.
South Grand Prairie would respond on the next possession. From the Midlothian 46-yard line Jared Johnson would hit Bryan Ajumobi for the completion and a 54-yard touchdown pass put the Warriors up 17-7.
At half, the Panthers would find themselves down by 10 points.
Midlothian would go three and out on their first possession of the second half and that gave the Warriors the ball inside Panthers territory.
Seven plays later, South Grand Prairie ran themselves into the end zone on a 25-yard touchdown carry by Leonard Aikens. With a good extra point, the Panther found themselves down 24-7.
With just under six minutes left in the third quarter and Midlothian on a drive into South Grand Prairie territory, Bryce Murphy hit Phillips Smith at the one yard line before the ball came out on the turf. The Warriors were able to recover the fumble and take over at their own 20-yard line after the touchback.
Midlothian’s defense would stand strong again, forcing a three and out, setting up the Panthers’ next drive that ended on a Diedrich 41-yard field goal, which put the Panthers two touchdowns from knotting the game.
However, the Warriors would not allow the Panthers to get any closer. On their first play from scrimmage after the field goal, Johnson hit Ajumobi on 52-yard touchdown pass and with 1:37 remaining in the third quarter, Midlothian trailed 31-10.
After a Midlothian fumble, the Warriors took the ball back inside Panther territory and four plays later, Aikens punched it in again and South Grand Prairie took a 38-10 lead in the waning seconds of the third quarter.
Midlothian struck first in the fourth quarter and capped an 81-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run by Murphy. Diedrich’s extra point was good and Midlothian trailed 38-17 with 9:37 remaining.
But the Warriors were not done scoring, on their sixth play on the ensuing drive, Wood shot out from the line of scrimmage and went 41 yards untouched up the middle of the field to give the Warriors a 45-17 lead with 7:05 left in the game.
The Panthers would not go quietly into the night as on their third play of the ensuing drive, Murphy hit Brendan Cornell on a 46-yard touchdown pass. Murphy hit Cornell in perfect stride down the side line. Midlothian trailed 45-24 with 6:39 left in the game.
Looking for their first district win, Midlothian will travel to Duncanville Friday at 7:30 p.m. Duncanville doubled up Grand Prairie 42-21 on Friday night.