Home | Sports | Football | Wendel tosses 4 TDs, Midlothian rolls against Cleburne in 4-5A home test

Wendel tosses 4 TDs, Midlothian rolls against Cleburne in 4-5A home test

By Travis M. Smith | Ellis County Sports

MIDLOTHIAN — Two facets of the Midlothian Panthers shined in the first half Thursday night against Cleburne. The Panther defense then completely dominated the second half en route to a 47-15 District 4-5A Division I victory at Midlothian ISD Multipurpose Stadium. 

Senior quarterback Drew Wendel completed 10-of-his-14 first-half passes for 181 yards and 4 touchdowns. 

Wendel ultimately led the Panther offense to outgain the visiting Yellowjackets 476 total yards to 256. He has now tossed 13 touchdown passes to just one interception with 659 yards through Midlothian’s 4-1 start to the season and 3-0 mark in 4-5A DI.

The first of Wendel’s Thursday touchdowns went to Zach Brown (39 yards, 9:26 1Q) and Kole Tompkins (14 yards, 4:22 1Q).

Senior all-everything wide receiver Bryant Wesco then got in on the action with his first of three touchdowns to put the game away. The Clemson commit capped a long Panther drive with a 10-yard touchdown as the second-quarter clock ticked toward 9 minutes.

The ensuing Cleburne possession ended with Wesco returning a punt 64 yards for a 28-9 Midlothian lead with 26 seconds to play in the first half.

Wendel and Wesco connected for the 10th time this season — this time for a 30-yard score — with 8:30 to play in the fourth quarter to put the Panthers comfortably ahead, 41-15. 

Wesco ended the game with 4 catches for 81 yards and two touchdowns. He now has 26 catches for 389 yards and 10 touchdowns on the season — for an average of 14.96YPC and a touchdown every 2.6 receptions. 

Running back Michael Garber rushed for a career-high 182 yards and one touchdown on a game-high 20 carries. Garber and Nick King (6-35, TD) both scored for the Panthers in the second half.

Those offensive totals will appear “odd” for the casual fan or critic who has either refused to acknowledge the Panthers’ three-year flip toward a more balanced and spread offense…or the ones who continue to provide the lame take that Midlothian is stuck in whatever age with a run-first wing-T offense.

There’s no shortage of downfield threats or big-play athletes on the Panthers’ roster. And head coach Doug Wendel continues to find new ways to get those cats the football in space.

It’s also important to note the Panther defense forced three turnovers, marking the fifth time in as many games for Midlothian to force multiple turnovers. 


The Midlothian Panthers opened District 4-5A Division I play with a 14-7 win against Killeen Shoemaker at Midlothian ISD Multipurpose Stadium. The Panthers then routed Waco, 41-0, on the road.

Midlothian will travel to (3-0, 1-0) Killeen and host (3-1, 1-1) Granbury to wrap up the “easy” portion of its district slate. That’s typed with no slight, as both teams are more than capable.

The Panthers close out the regular season with away games against Lake Belton (Oct. 20) and Red Oak (Nov. 3) and a home game against Killeen Ellison (Oct. 27). The final three teams were projected by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football to represent 4-5A DI in the postseason.

Midlothian was predicted to finish third. It’s time to buckle up the chinstraps. 


The Panthers will travel to face Killeen at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29. 

The Kangaroos have wins over 5A Killeen Chparal (33-6), Stony Point (48-40) and Cleburne (37-13). 


Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith


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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