HEWITT — Two offensive juggernauts charged into brick walls on Friday night.
Shoemaker traveled to Panther Stadium leading District 8-5A in takeaways, which proved to be the difference against Waco Midway in a 7-3 victory that saw the Grey Wolves beat the 8-5A- leading Panthers on their home field despite not scoring on offense.
The district leader in lost fumbles fed the Grey Wolves two loose balls.
And the Wolf Pack held its own, with zero turnovers.
With 6 minutes remaining in the first quarter, Darnell Everett saw Midway running back Eric Clayburn bumble a catch at the line of scrimmage. The Grey Wolves defensive back snatched the loose ball and sprinted untouched down the left sideline for 88 yards.
“There was nothing but open field, and I just had all my blockers running with me. It was just a good team effort,” he said.
It was the senior’s first-ever touchdown.
“I was tired (after the run),” Everett said. “I’m not going to lie. ... But it was exciting.”
Despite Shoemaker’s failure to score after Midway running back Stephon Free fumbled a handoff in the fourth quarter at his own 11, Shoemaker (5-3, 3-2) emerged from Panther Stadium with a 7-3 win.
“This is the best team in the district, so we didn’t have any worries,” said Shoemaker coach Channon Hall. “We just had to show up and play and just play ball. They’re a good football team. They’re the best in this district, so we wanted to come and show up and represent Shoemaker well and I think our kids did that.”
The loss broke Midway’s 15-game district win streak.
After star Panther quarterback Ben Hicks left the game in the beginning of the fourth quarter with an unspecified injury, Kahlil Haughton hit passes of 12, 8 and 14 yards to guide his team 28 yards to Shoemaker’s 49 with 3 minutes, 6 seconds remaining.
But a second-down 10-yard sack by linebacker Teneak Hall and a bat-down on third and 20 by shutdown cornerback Dwayne Williams set up fourth-and-long. Haughton then underthrew his receiver, and the Grey Wolves stayed in victory formation after 1:31.
Midway’s only points came on a Leo Peralta 27-yard field goal, which capped his team’s opening 13-play drive lasting 3:25.
But three of Midway’s six first-half drives ended in three-and-outs, as Grey Wolves held the Panther tandem of Xavier Hailey and Eric Clayburn to 42 rushing yards.
The Grey Wolves didn’t allow a single Panther first down in three third quarter drives, and only four in the fourth quarter.
Shoemaker averages 37 points in district games, and reached 19 percent of that total on Friday.
The Grey Wolves punted nine times, but held the district’s offensive leader to 196 total yards.
“Our defense played hard,” Hall said. “They picked up the offense, because we weren’t having a great game, but them guys balled, that team balled. We’ll take it.”
Contact Brian Bradley at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7567