Home | Sports | Football | Two, 2 and too: Waxahachie defense stuns Midway for 6A DI bi-district championship

Two, 2 and too: Waxahachie defense stuns Midway for 6A DI bi-district championship

By Travis M. Smith | Ellis County Sports

HEWITT — The power of twos landed the Waxahachie Indians a second-consecutive 6A football bi-district championship.

Waxahachie (9-2) defeated (5-6) Hewitt “Don’t call us Waco” Midway 20-19 on Friday at Panther Stadium in…Waco.

If you are new to the rivalry, which is very much real and across all sports, there was a time not too long ago that the Midway Panther faithful raised quite a bit of cane when they were referred to as Waco Midway. 

But we digress. This recap is about the power of twos.

Waxahachie blocked two punts on Friday. Sophomore kicker Ethan Guillen converted on two field-goal attempts. Midway had two second-half possessions. And that’s just the highlights from 40,000 feet.

Under third-year head coach Shane Tolleson, the Indians are moving on to the second round of the 6A Division I playoffs for the second consecutive year. This is the most important sentence of the entire article. 

(Courtesy WISD Athletics)

Waxahachie started the scoring Friday night when the first Ethan Guillen field goal (35 yards) capped a 14-play, 68-yard drive that ate up just under 7 minutes of game time. Running back Wade Lemons (24-115) had 8 carries for 48 yards on the drive to set up the 3-0 Waxahachie lead with 10:33 to play in the second quarter. 

The second Guillen field goal (27 yards) proved to be the game-winner. A moment the sophomore won’t soon forget, especially in his second year of high school football. 

Waxahachie faced a 4th-and-1 at the Midway 44-yard line and just under 11 minutes to play in the fourth quarter. Backup quarterback Beck Sullivan took the snap and ran behind the jumbo package to easily pick up the needed first-down yardage. For a fun two-sport note: Sullivan officially inked a National Letter of Intent to play baseball at the University of New Mexico during a signing ceremony Friday morning. 

A continued power of twos. 

Guillen eventually had the opportunity at his second field goal attempt and split the uprights for a second time. The sophomore placekicker put the Indians ahead, 20-19, with 6:47 to play in the bi-district championship. 

Midway took its first lead by capitalizing on a short Waxahachie punt with under 7 minutes to play in the second quarter.

On the third snap of the drive, Panther quarterback Ty Brown connected on a fade route with Jackson Baird in the right corner of the end zone. The successful extra-point kick put Midway on top, 7-3, with 5:46 showing. 

The two teams traded punts and Waxahachie took over at its own 35-yard with 1:43 to play in the first half.

McKinney Jr. and Trenton Kidd connected across the middle for a 17-yard completion into Midway territory. Two snaps later, the quarterback found Michael Esparza for a 15-yard gain to the 23-yard line with 64 seconds to play. 

McKinney Jr. took the ensuing snap, avoided a rush from his left, ran up into the box and threw a dart on the run toward the left corner of the end zone. Jayden Watson pulled in the Tribe’s first touchdown of the 2023 postseason in a spectacular diving effort — and he only needed his left hand for his first touchdown reception of the season. 

Guillen’s extra-point kick gave the Indians a 10-7 lead with 36 ticks remaining on the first-half clock.

The Indians ultimately doubled up the Panthers in time-of-possession (33:06 to 16:46) and total plays 70 to 35.

Waxahachie running back Wade Lemons rushed 24 times for 114 yards, more than twice as many yards as the Panthers’ leading rusher. 

The Midway Panthers were afforded just two second-half possessions. And that might be the most incredible stat of the evening. 

Waxahachie ultimately outgained Midway 335 total yards to 214. Lemons and quarterback Ramon McKinney Jr. (19-91) carried the offense on the ground to 216 total rushing yards.

McKinney Jr. also completed 19-of-his-20 passes for 89 yards and 1 touchdown.

That McKinney Jr. touchdown pass gave the Tribe its second lead (again, the power of twos) and came in the middle of quite the offensive exchange in a game otherwise dominated by defense.

In fact, if you blinked, you likely missed the third scoring change of the playoff game.

On the ensuing Midway snap, Brown rolled right and hit Baird on a quick out toward the Panther sideline. The receiver turned upfield and raced home for a 67-yard Panther touchdown. 

The extra-point kick was blocked, however, leaving the Midway lead at 13-10 — a play that proved pivotal in the grand scheme. 

The Panther response took just 12 seconds of game time. Midway took its 3-point lead into the halftime locker room.

The first Waxahachie possession of the second half saw the Tribe line up for a 2nd-and-Carls Corner conversion attempt.

McKinney Jr. rolled left and handed the ball to senior wide receiver Jayden Watson, who found Trenton Kidd for a 30-yard gain and first down. The conversion moved the Indians inside the Midway 30-yard line with 7 minutes-and-change to play in the third quarter. 

Lemons scored two snaps later. His 12-yard rushing touchdown capped a 14-play drive and put the Indians on top 17-13 with 6:41 to play in the third quarter. 

The Midway offense quickly assembled a response drive that moved the Panthers inside the Indian 25-yard line. 

Lathan Whisenton later rushed to his left, cut against the grain and crossed the goal line for a 22-yard touchdown run. The extra-point attempt was blocked, leaving the Midway lead at 19-17 with 2:29 remaining on the third-quarter clock.

Back to that whole “power of twos” idea — this marked the second extra-point attempt blocked by the Indians in a game they won by one.

Neato.

But even cooler was how the Indians converted a 4th-and-1 at the Midway 44-yard line with just under 11 minutes to play in the fourth quarter. Sullivan took the snap and used the jumbo package to easily pick up the needed first-down yardage. 

Back to football and a few snaps later, McKinney Jr. broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage and zoomed ahead to the 12-yard line. 

Guillen eventually drilled the 27-yard field goal with 6:47 to play in the bi-district championship. His right foot gave the Indians the 20-19 lead that would carry through the final buzzer.

The Indian defense forced yet another punt on the Panthers’ second possession of the second half. The Tribe offense then successfully ran out the clock to secure the golden-ball trophy.

Waxahachie ultimately ran 70 plays for 335 yards, with 216 of those yards coming on the ground. The number of offensive plays? Yep, double that of Midway. The Indians also doubled up the Panthers in time of possession (33:06 to 16:54). 

The Panthers were limited to just 214 total yards (76 rushing) on 35 plays. Brown completed just 6-of-his-12 passes for 138 yards and 2 touchdowns. Baird (3-101) caught both of those touchdowns in the first half, only to be shut out by the Indian defense in the second half.

McKinney Jr., meanwhile, completed 18-of-his-20 passes for 89 yards and 1 touchdown. He also rushed 19 times for 91 yards, while Lemons added a game-high 115 rushing yards on 24 totes.

UP NEXT

Waxahachie moves on to the second round of the 6A DI playoffs for the second consecutive season. And, for a second consecutive time, the Indians will face (10-1) No. 17 Rockwall.

Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. Saturday at Allen Eagle Stadium. 

Waxahachie defeated Rockwall 31-25 in the 2022 6A DI area championship at Choctaw Stadium.

____

Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith

tsmith@elliscosports.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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