HEWITT — Tyler Lee was trailing by just a touchdown and had the ball in Waco Midway territory in the final minute of the third quarter.
An interception on fourth down gave the ball to the Panthers, who scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter on the way to a 35-7 victory in the bi-district round of the playoffs on Friday night at Panther Stadium.
Lee head coach Kurt Traylor was adamant about the Red Raiders not being satisfied with just being in the postseason but looking to make some noise. The Red Raiders did just that as it was a one-possession ball game heading into the fourth quarter.
Despite rushing for just 29 yards and having 78 yards of offense in the first half, Lee went into the locker room trailing just 14-0 against the host team.
With Midway getting the ball first to open the second half, the Red Raiders knew they had to make something happen with their defense in order to initiate the offense.
Lee forced a quick punt. The Red Raiders moved the ball down to the Midway 10 thanks to a 39-yard pickup by quarterback Trent Adams. But after a scuffle that led to offsetting penalties, the officials moved the ball back to the 17-yard line, forcing the Red Raiders into a fourth and 11 attempt instead of fourth and 4. The pass was incomplete, giving the ball back to the Panthers.
Lee’s defense continued to put pressure on Midway and forced another quick punt.
On third and seven, Lee had a holding penalty called, but Midway’s Braden Endsley delivered a punch, which not only led to his ejection from the contest but also a Red Raider first down. On the next play, the Red Raiders converted a triple reverse, and Trent Adams connected with Jamal Ligon in the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown pass to cut the score to 14-7 with 4:06 left in the third quarter.
On the ensuing drive, Elliott Davison had a tackle for loss on second down, and Ligon recorded a sack on third down to force another Midway three-and-out.
A short punt gave the Red Raiders the ball at the Midway 37.
Lee tried a double pass on fourth down, but Mark Patton’s attempt was intercepted by Gerrard London at the Midway 16 with 16 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Lee defense held Midway without a first down in the third quarter.
On third and 8 from its own 20 early in the fourth quarter, Jared Moore connected with Jaylon Gibson for a 57-yard gain. The Panthers turned it into a 1-yard touchdown run by Will Nixon to make the score 21-7 with 10:17 on the clock.
Following a Lee punt, Nixon broke free for a 61-yard touchdown run to push the score to 28-7 with 9:01 to play. The Red Raiders held the Nebraska commit to 41 yards on 14 carries before that run. Nixon finished with 120 yards on 19 attempts and the two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
The Panthers added one more touchdown with 3:00 left as Moore connected with Gibson for a 64-yard touchdown pass.
Moore was 14 of 25 for 233 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 19 yards and a score. Gibson had four grabs for 143 yards and two touchdowns. Gibson’s other touchdown reception came with 31 seconds left in the first half from 24 yards out to give the Panthers the 14-0 halftime advantage.
Both teams were scoreless in the first quarter. An interception by ZaCobie Haverly gave the Panthers the ball late in the first quarter, and they turned it into a 6-yard touchdown run by Moore five seconds into the second quarter.
Jamar Arceneaux led Lee with 69 yards rushing on three carries. Adams rushed for 42 yards, and Bryson Donnell had 27 yards on seven carries. Adams threw for 115 yards and a touchdown. Jeremiah Turner finished with five catches for 26 yards.
Lee finished the season with a record of 6-5 and advanced to the postseason for the first time since 2014.
Midway (8-3) will take on McKinney, which was a 13-10 winner over Garland Naaman Forest.
Waco Midway 35, Tyler Lee 7
Lee 0 0 7 0 — 7
Midway 0 14 0 21 — 35
MID — Jared Moore 6 run (Bryce Boland kick), 11:55
MID — Jaylon Gibson 24 pass from Moore (Boland kick), 0:31
LEE — Jamal Ligon 23 pass from Trent Adams (Christian Baxter kick)
MID — Will Nixon 1 run (Boland kick), 10:17
MID — Nixon 61 run (Boland kick), 9:01
MID — Gibson 64 pass from Moore (Boland kick), 2:52
First Downs 12 15
Rushes-Yards 37-147 31-129
Passing Yards 115 233
Comp.-Att-Int. 11-22-2 14-25-0
Punts-Ave. 6-37 5-34.8
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 1-0
Penalties-Yards 9-87 4-35
RUSHING — Lee, Jamar Arceneaux 3-69, Trent Adams 11-42, Elliott Davison 4-23, Bryson Donnell 7-27, Mark Patton 1-(-2), Jamarion Miller 11-(-13). Midway, Will Nixon 19-120, Jared Moore 10-19, Team 2-(-10).
PASSING — Lee, Trent Adams 11-21-1 115, Mark Patton 0-1-1 0. Midway, Jared Moore 14-25-0 233.
RECEIVING — Lee, Jeremiah Turner 5-26, Elliott Davison 2-12, Jamal Ligon 1-23, Mark Patton 1-19, Bryson Donnell 1-12, Jay’lon Warren 1-3. Midway, Xavier Harris 5-40, Jaylon Gibson 4-143, Zach Stewart 4-45, Kaleb Fonteneaux 1-5.