The Midlothian Panthers won their first playoff game in three decades Friday and ended a history-making season for the Red Oak Hawks at Billy Goodloe Stadium.
Midlothian amassed 387 rushing yards on 61 carries to run away, literally, with the 5A DII bi-district championship, 42-13.
“We ran up and down the field and executed the option," Midlothian head football coach Doug Wendel said. "I told Tate [Corbin] all week that he had to play great and that we had to be the most aggressive team on the field and the most physical team on the field. The defense did a phenomenal job, obviously just keeping them to seven before they scored there at the end, but all around it was just a great team effort. I am just so proud of our focus and our poise. I am really proud of the Panthers tonight.”
Neither team scored in the first quarter, but the Panthers did manage to take a 14-7 lead into the halftime locker rooms.
Two more Midlothian touchdowns in the third quarter then put the game on ice.
Nolan Samek led the Panthers on the ground with 11 carries for 118 yards and two touchdowns. He was followed by Austen Thomas (13-96), Tate Corbin (10-62, 2 TDs) and Laine Martin (13-60).
Dawson White, Ethan Hill, Nick De Los Santos and Riley Angel all combined for 14 carries for 51 yards.
Corbin also completed all three of his passing attempts for 90 yards and one touchdown — a 37-yard score to Jayson Mccall. Samek (1-32) and Thomas (1-21) caught the other two completions.
JT Cavender led the Panthers defense with 11 total tackles, three tackles for loss and one sack.
The victory also improved Midlothian to 9-2 on the season, which is the most victories for the program since at least 1991. It was also the first playoff win for the Panthers since a 19-13 win against Chapel Hill in 1998.
Midlothian now faces (11-0) Frisco Reedy in the area championship at 3 p.m. Friday at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco.
Red Oak ended its first year under head coach Chris Ross with a 9-2 record.
The Hawks were led on the ground by quarterback Zayid Aziz, who finished the game with 24 carries for 137 yards and two rushing touchdowns. He also completed 2-of-his-9 passes for 37 yards.
Hats off to Midlothian, they did an excellent job, and they are a good football team and we wish them the best of luck,” Ross said after the game.
“[...] I am so proud of our seniors and what they accomplished," Ross continued. "This program just went from 4-36 to 9-2 and that doesn't happen without their dedication, their leadership and the standards that these guys tried to uphold all season. They did a tremendous job for us all season — throughout injuries and all the changes and everything else. Our guys fought and played hard, week in and week out. This night didn't go the way that we wanted to but I'm certainly proud of my boys tonight.”
Fred Phipps/Mirror contributed to this report.