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Ellis County Football Friday: Week 8 sees undefeated teams hit the road, potential for playoff berths

By Travis M. Smith | Ellis County Sports

Week eight of the high school football season will see state-ranked Red Oak and Midlothian Heritage take their undefeated starts on the road and several teams closing in on playoff berths.

Ellis County Sports has compiled recaps and projections (provided by the computers at Dave Campbell’s Texas Football) into one handy gameday article.

Final scores, stats, photos and links will be added throughout the weekend. 

(5-2, 2-2) WAXAHACHIE 38, (1-6, 0-4) Mansfield Legacy 12 — FINAL

The Indias completely dominated Mansfield Legacy to get their playoff dreams back on track after back-to-back District 11-6A losses to defending state champions No. 3 DeSoto and No. 1 Duncanville. 

The Indians held the Broncos to 0 (yes, zero) yards of offense through the first half at Vernon Newsom Stadium on Friday. Waxahachie led 21-0 at the half.

DCTF computers gave Waxahachie a 92.6% chance of winning and placed the spread at +24 points. 

LAST TIME OUT

The Waxahachie Indians lost to 6A No. 1 Duncanville 44-10. The Indians trailed the defending state champions from the state’s largest classification 30-0 at the half. 

Duncanville scored its first points on a safety due to a high snap over the Indian punter’s head on the game’s second drive. Waxahachie mustered just 31 yards by halftime. Fourteen of those yards came on 6 completions, which goes to show just how well the Panther defense swarmed to the football. Duncanville, meanwhile, had 253 total yards at the break, with 207 coming through the air on just five completions.

No. 7 (7-0, 5-0) RED OAK 35, (2-5) Cleburne 10 — FINAL

The Red Oak Hawks continued their undefeated start to the season with a 35-10 victory against Cleburne at Yellow Jacket Stadium. 

Red Oak outgained Cleburne 354 total yards to 171 and 17 first downs to 6 to build a 21-7 first-half lead. The Hawks also had two turnovers.

Reggie Moody Jr. finished the first half 11-of-17 for 183 yards with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Rodney Malone caught two of those touchdown passes on his 2-24 half. Taz Williams had the third, finishing the first half with 6 catches for 89 yards. Chris Martinez rushed 10 times for 108 yards in the first half. 

The Hawks had previously never started a season better than 4-0.

DCTF computers projected Red Oak to win by 29 points and gave the Hawks a 91.6% chance of remaining undefeated.

LAST TIME OUT

The Red Oak offense continued its historic roll, amassing over 550 total yards in a 63-7 homecoming win against district-foe Waco. 

Having built a 35-7 lead by the half, the Hawks turned to the run game in the second half. Roman Bedolla rushed 11 times for a game- and career-high 167 yards and one touchdown. Chris Martinez added 12 carries for 144 yards and a score, though most of that total came in the first half.

Red Oak quarterback Reggie Moody finished the game 16-of-18 for 220 yards and 3 touchdowns. 

(6-1, 5-0) MIDLOTHIAN — BYE WEEK

The Midlothian Panthers will enjoy a bye week following their undefeated start to the District 4-5A DI slate.

The Panthers could very well secure a playoff spot simply by watching tonight’s games play out. 

Midlothian has a 3-win lead on the three teams currently tied for the fourth playoff spot. With just 3 district games to play, a few scenarios could secure the Panthers’ spot (which isn’t exactly in question, anyway). 

LAST TIME OUT

Midlothian used another balanced offensive attack and stellar defense to defeat district-foe Granbury 49-15.

The Midlothian offense accounted for 371 total yards to Granbury’s 206 total yards and three turnovers (all fumbles). 

Quarterback Drew Wendel completed 10-of-his-14 first-half passes for 165 yards and one touchdown — a 34-yard score to Bryant Wesco (6-110) in the first quarter. Wesco started the Panther scoring with a 57-yard punt return for a touchdown after the Panther defense forced the Pirates to punt on the opening drive.

Running backs Slater Callahan (6-87, TD), Michael Garber (12-61, 2TD) and David Aborisade (5-23) all ran for Panther touchdowns. 

(7-0, 4-0) No. 4 MIDLOTHIAN HERITAGE 38, (3-4, 3-1) ENNIS 35 — F/OT

This big-cat version of a US Highway 287 battle will almost certainly decide the District 5-5A DII champion. Kick is at 7 p.m. at Lion Memorial Stadium.

With four games to play, Friday’s winner will also officially clinch a District 5-5A DII playoff berth. Losses by Arlington Seguin and Burleson would secure a playoff spot for both Ennis and Midlothian Heritage. 

DCTF computers project this district showdown as a near coinflip, favoring Midlothian Heritage by just 2 points and in 53.0% of the contests simulated.

Ennis led Midlothian Heritage 21-19 at the half, outgaining the Jaguars 221 total yards to 134.

Ennis’ Jeremy Brown Jr. rushed 10 times for 102 yards in the first half to pace the Lions offense. Wondame Davis Jr. (2-8, 50yds, TD, INT) and Gracen Harris (3-5, 60yds, TD, INT) combined for 85 yards through the air. Harris added 8 carries for 63 yards and the lone Ennis rushing score in the first half.

Midlothian Heritage quarterback Carter Rutenbar completed 5-of-his-15 passes for 43 yards and a touchdown to Freeman Robinson (26yds). Rutenbar also led all Jaguar ballcarriers with 53 yards and a score on 8 carries.

The Jaguars forced 3 first-half turnovers.

LAST TIME OUT for the Jaguars

State-ranked Midlothian Heritage suffocated the Mansfield Summit offense in a 42-7 district win.

The Summit Jaguars picked up just 8 first downs on 117 total yards against the Heritage defensive front seven.

Carter Rutenbar led the Heritage offense by completing 15-of-his-26 passes for 213 yards and 3 touchdowns (1 INT). Stetson Sarratt pulled in all 3 of those touchdown passes on his way to game-highs with 6 catches for 76 yards. 

LAST TIME OUT for the Lions

The offensive experiment has continued in impressive fashion for the Lions, who defeated Joshua 61-0.

The tandem of Gracen Harris and Wondame Davis completed 11-of-their-17 passes for 312 yards and 4 touchdowns to no interceptions. The duo also rushed 4 times for 78 yards and a score AND caught 4 passes for 137 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Yes, you read all of that correctly.

(5-2, 2-0) Stephenville 59, (2-6, 0-2) LIFE WAXAHACHIE 19 — FINAL

Life Waxahachie will have its hands full with the Stephenville Yellow Jackets in a District 5-4A DI tilt Friday at Mustang Stadium. 

DCTF computers project Stephenville to win by 40 and give the Mustangs just a 2.0% chance of pulling the upset.

Stephenville led 42-0 at the half.

LAST TIME OUT

Life Waxahachie lost its district opener to Waco La Vega 56-20.

Senior running back Kordell Berry continued to pace the Mustang offense with 14 carries for 87 yards and 2 touchdowns. He now has 855 yards and 12 touchdowns on 104 rushes through 7 games this season. 

Sophomore Aadon Shull led the Mustangs with 14 total tackles and one pass defended. 

(4-3, 2-0) Hillsboro 28, (1-6, 0-2) FERRIS 21 — FINAL

In a 6-team district, securing a playoff berth only takes a couple wins. Ferris will look to use home-field advantage to start that push Friday against the Hillsboro Eagles at Yellow Jacket Stadium. 

The Yellow Jackets pulled the road upset this past season on their way to the 2022 4A playoffs. 

DCTF computers projected the Yellow Jackets as slight underdogs, giving Ferris a 48.3% chance of winning and favoring Hillsboro by just 4 points.

Hillsboro led Ferris 21-14 at the half.

LAST TIME OUT

The Ferris Yellowjackets lost their District 4-4A opener to Godley 56-17. 

Sophomore quarterback Joshua Greek completed 21-of-his-46 passes for 238 yards and 2 touchdowns (3 INT). Junior wide receiver Gavin Garcia caught 5 passes for 80 yards and 2 touchdowns, while sophomore Quidarwin Cotton had a team-high 8 grabs for 67 yards. 

(5-2, 4-1) West 38, (5-2, 3-2) MAYPEARL 0 — FINAL

This 9-team district still has a ways to go before deciding playoff positioning, but the winner between the Panthers and West Trojans on Friday will have the leg up on a top-3 finish. 

Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. at Roesler Stadium in Maypearl. West defeated Maypearl 89-0 in 2022, so there will certainly be a little fuel behind the Panthers. 

DCTF computers only favor the Trojans by 9 points and give the Panthers a 32.5% chance of pulling the home upset.

West led 21-0 at the half.

LAST TIME OUT

Maypearl scored 6 first-quarter touchdowns en route to a 62-0 District 7-3A homecoming win against Dallas Inspired Vision. 

Junior runningback JT Washington rushed 6 times for 117 yards and 3 touchdowns, while senior Ryan Stevens added 6 carries for 49 yards and 3 scores. 

Senior quarterback Heath Graf completed 9-of-his-12 first-half passes for 165 yards and 3 touchdowns. 

(5-2, 3-0) PALMER 20, (5-2, 2-1) Mildred 15

Friday’s match-up between Palmer and the Mildred Eagles at Asby Stadium will feature two of the three still unbeaten District 7-3A teams. 

The Mildred defense has allowed just 80 points on the season (Palmer 178), but the Bulldogs hold a safety’s-edge in points scored (222-220). 

DCTF computers surprisingly favor Mildred by 3 points and give the Bulldogs just a 38.1% chance of securing the district road win. 

Palmer trailed 7-6 with 2:02 to play in the second quarter.

LAST TIME OUT

The Bulldogs enjoyed a bye.

(8-0, 4-0) Axtell 36, (4-4, 3-1) ITALY 30 — FINAL

Former Italy head coach Craig Horn and the Axtell Longhorns travel to Willis Field to face the Gladiators in a crucial District 7-2A contest on Friday. 

DCTF computers favor Axtell by 14 points but also project the Longhorns to win 80.2% of the simulated contests.

Italy led Axtell 18-14 at the half.

LAST TIME OUT

The Italy Gladiators (4-3, 3-0 in 7-2A) continued their torrid run through district play by shutting out Itasca 52-0.

Junior quarterback Gared Wood completed 12-of-his-14 passes for 294 yards and 7 touchdowns en route to being named the Methodist Midlothian Medical Center Player of the Week. Senior wideout Dredick Owens pulled in 5 of those touchdown passes on a night where he finished with 6 catches for 188 yards. Eric Solis (1-37) and KT Cockran (1-16) caught the other two Wood touchdown passes. 

The Gladiators clinch a 7-2A playoff spot with their next win. 

(3-4, 1-0) AVALON 62, (3-5, 0-1) Covington 18 — FINAL

Avalon opens District 11-1A Division I on the road against the Covington Owls at Charles Sonny Moore Athletic Complex. 

DCTF computers call this 6-man game a coinflip, favoring Covington by just 5 points and 63.5%. 

Avalon led 32-6 with 5:28 to play in the third quarter.

LAST TIME OUT

Avalon defeated (2-5) Campbell 46-0 in a non-district game. The game ended in a mercy rule following a third-quarter Eagle touchdown and subsequent defensive stop.

Sophomore athlete Josh Novak rushed 7 times for 82 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also completed his lone pass to senior Jake Ozymy for a 10-yard touchdown. Novak and Ozymy accounted for 11 and 10 total tackles, respectively.

Avalon will host Milford (Oct. 20) and Blum (Nov. 2) at home during district play, with a game between those two on the road against Three Way on Oct. 27.

(3-4, 0-1) Blum 30, (5-2, 1-0) MILFORD 72 — FINAL

Milford hosts the Blum Bobcats at 7 p.m. Friday at Horton Field in the Bulldogs’ first District 7-1A DI contest. 

DCTF computers give Milford a 79.2% chance of winning and favor the Bulldogs by 17 points. 

Milford led 49-16 with 10:01 to play in the fourth quarter.

LAST TIME OUT

Milford defeated Three Way School 52-6.

(6-0, 4-0) Dallas Lakehill Prep 51, (4-3, 1-3) OVILLA CHRISTIAN 13 — FINAL

Ovilla Christian will host Lakehill Prep in the fourth TAPPS 2-DII contest for both teams on Friday.

DCTF computers favor Lakehill Prep by 16 points and give Ovilla just a 16.6% chance of pulling the home upset. 

LAST TIME OUT

Ovilla Christian (TAPPS 2-DII) suffered back-to-back district losses to Lucas Christian Academy (78-47) and Dallas Lutheran (60-13) prior to the week 7 bye. The Eagles opened district play with a thrilling 59-56 victory against WPA (Wylie).

Ovilla Christian returns to action at 4 p.m. Saturday at home against (5-0) Lakehill Prep. 

____

Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith

tsmith@elliscountysports.com

About Travis M. Smith

Travis M. Smith is the owner and content director of Ellis County Sports and has over a decade of award-winning sports coverage. He most recently served as the digital sports director for KBEC 1390AM/99.1FM. He is the former managing editor of the Waxahachie Daily Light, Midlothian Mirror and Glen Rose Reporter.

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