Skip to main content

Southlake Style

Quarterfinal Round Preview: Dragons vs Waco Midway Panthers

Dec 08, 2017 02:01PM ● By Mike
by Justin Thomas

Carroll head coach Hal Wasson noted prior to the start of the Class 6A playoffs just how tough it would be for the Dragons to maneuver through a loaded Region I. Nevertheless, after defeating the Arlington Colts 28-24 last week his squad is one win away from doing just that.

Carroll will compete for the 6A Region I Division II title at 6 p.m. Saturday at Baylor’s McLane Stadium in Waco when the Dragons go head-to-head with Waco Midway.

The Panthers entered the playoffs as the third-ranked team in Region I according to the Texas High School Coaches Association and are unbeaten on the season at 13-0.

“They’re a very talented team and they’re undefeated for a reason,” Wasson said. “They’ve very polished, very experienced and very well-coached. But any time you can get this deep and be one of the final eight teams that’s what you’re going to see. We’re going to have to play a great football game in all three areas.”

Midway’s offense centers around quarterback and Oklahoma commit Tanner Mordecai. “He’s really, really good,” Wasson said. “We’re going to have our hands full.” The dual-threat senior has posted prolific numbers this season, completing better than 60 percent of his passes for 3,605 yards and 46 touchdowns against eight interceptions while rushing for 956 yards (6.8 per carry) with an additional three scores.

Mordecai is supported in the ground game by dynamic junior James Fullbright, who is in the midst of a season of 1,538 yards (7.6 per carry) with seven touchdowns. Fullbright is also fourth on the team in receptions with Clayton Williams pacing the squad with 75 catches for 1,380 yards and 19 touchdowns. D’Ante Thomas is a quality possession receiver in the passing game, while Demarcus Degrate may be the most dangerous of the bunch. The junior is averaging 21 yards per receptions with 12 of his 33 catches going for touchdowns.

Overall, Midway comes into the contest averaging 51 points and 473 yards per game.

Defensively, the Panthers are just as stout statistically, giving up an average of just 14 points per game, including just 38 points combined in their three playoff victories.

“They have a very good defensive tackle and a good rush end,” Wasson said. “They really run to the football well and are an athletic group. But like I said, they’re also very experienced and polished.”

A win would send Carroll to the state semifinals for the first time since winning it all in 2011. Midway also last reached the state semis in 2011 but has never won it all.