MIDLOTHIAN — When Midlothian squares up with Boerne at the Alamodome on Friday night, there will be plenty of parallels between the two teams. Both squads have a solid senior wide receiver that will require constant supervision by the defense. Both have a talented veteran safety leading the secondary. Both are expected to finish just outside of the playoff-making mark in their respective districts. And each lost more than 25 lettermen from last year’s squad.
But the microcosm of the youth movement might be standing in the backfield for each team.
The Panthers and Chargers are expected to give the start at running back to a pair of sophomore players who are looking to shine under the lights of the Texas Football Classic. As if just playing your first game of the season wasn’t enough to churn up the nerves.
For Midlothian, that player will be Michael Glenn who will carry much of the running load. His counterpart in the Boerne backfield will be sophomore David Rogers.
“It’s both scary and exciting at the same time. I just can’t wait to play,” Glenn said. “(It’s been) a lot of hard work since the eighth grade. It’s all I’ve been working for.”
Maturity like Glenn’s is exactly what Midlothian coach Robby Clark was hoping he would see from his team in the weeks leading up to the game. And so far, he has.
With school taking back in this week, the players have given plenty of effort at practice to ready themselves for the challenge awaiting in San Antonio. After going over basic plans on Monday, the team began concentrating its efforts on what to do specifically for Boerne. Clark got exactly the reaction he expected.
“You hope Wednesday is your sharpest day of the week and it was,” Clark said. “The kids are real excited. It’s going to be a fun trip, it’s a big environment and obviously there’s a lot to be excited about.”
The hope is that those nerves won’t get the best of the Panthers before kickoff. With more than a dozen underclassmen expected to contribute in the game, Clark has tried to make sure his team remains focused on the field and not the surrounding hoopla.
“I think that comes into your head any time you take a young team into a place like that, you’re worried about that,” Clark said. “We plan to get there real early to hopefully knock a little of that off before we get going.”
Getting going might not be the easiest thing in the world for the Panthers, who fell to the Chargers 35-7 last season.
The coaches and players have been spending their time leading up to the game studying as much information on the opposition as possible. But now the coaches are looking to deal with the outside elements surrounding the team that might factor into performance.
“We’re going to start doing a lot of that talking over the next two days about how we think the game will go, the environment they’ll be in and all that kind of stuff,” Clark said. “But I think it’s going to be a great match-up.”
While the coaches hope the team doesn’t get caught up in the madness, Glenn welcomes the support from the Midlothian fans and feels their assistance will be just the boost the team needs.
“I’m just hoping we get a lot of support from our fans and hopefully everybody plays with heart through the whole game,” Glenn said. “We’ll just see what happens.”
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