HEWITT — The Killeen Kangaroos were slow and methodical, nothing like Waco Midway running back B.J. Kelly.
Kelly ran for 348 yards and three scores and helped pull the Panthers away from Killeen, 44-17, at Panther Stadium on Friday.
Kelly scored on runs of 65 and 38 yards in the first half, part of Midway’s 20-0 run that turned a back-and-forth affair into a runaway.
“We just missed tackling him,” Killeen coach Sam Jones said. “He’s a good back. He’s been good all year. When you play against a good back, you’ve got to be able to tackle. That’s the bottom line.”
The Panthers (7-0, 4-0 8-5A) took a 30-10 lead three minutes into the second half on Kelly’s two touchdown runs and a pair of field goals by Drew Owen.
The Roos (5-2, 2-2) closed to within 30-17 late in the third quarter, but the Panthers stopped Naaman Young short of the goal line on a fourth-and-goal play inside the 1-yard line on the first play of the fourth quarter. Kelly then ripped the next play 65 yards to the Killeen 33 and capped the drive with his third rushing touchdown six plays later from 2 yards out.
“If we go in there, you’re talking (the difference between) 30-17 and 30-24. It’s a different ball game,” Jones said of the failed fourth-down try. “The momentum changes a little bit, the kids play a little bit better. You never know, but that’s high school football.”
Midway quarterback Kramer Robertson came back and threw his only touchdown pass of the night 35 yards to Devontre Stricklin for the Panthers’ final score inside the 4-minute mark.
Daniel McCants ran for a career-high 212 yards and two scores on 26 carries, and the Roos ran for 372 yards against District 8-5A’s second-best defense.
McCants’ 20-yard touchdown run with 5:44 left in the third quarter snapped the Panthers’ scoring streak.
His first touchdown was a 15-yarder that capped Killeen’s game-opening 10-play, 78-yard drive that sucked up the first four minutes of the game.
“It was important. I just wanted to make a statement and just let them know that we’re not just going to lay down,” McCants said of the Roos’ game-opening score.
The Panthers scored three first-half touchdowns, all after Killeen punts, and led 27-10 at halftime.
Kelly’s 65-yard scoring run gave the Panthers a 20-10 lead with 7:35 left in the second quarter.
Following a three-and-out by the Roos, Kelly’s 38-yard touchdown run gave Midway its halftime lead.
The senior had 160 yards on eight carries in the first half.
“He wasn’t difficult to tackle, it’s just that we didn’t wrap up,” said Killeen senior linebacker Quantavis Patterson. “We’re a good defense, we just made some mistakes. It happens to the best of us. We can fix it in practice next week.”
After McCants gave Killeen its 7-0 lead, the Roos defense held Midway to a 29-yard field goal by Owen despite allowing a 59-yard completion from Robertson to Hunter Jarmon.
A false start penalty and a chop block personal foul inhibited Killeen’s answering drive, and two plays after the Roos’ punt, DeChaar Greer gave Midway a 10-7 lead on a 19-yard touchdown run.
Killeen answered with Phatanasin Sandod’s 25-yard field goal that tied the game at 10 with 11:10 left in the second quarter. Owen answered for Midway with a 37-yard kick that reclaimed the Panthers’ 3-point lead with just under 10 minutes to go in the first half.
“What we were running was working. We thought we could run on them, we thought we could pass on them. We were taking what they gave us,” Jones said. “Then we kind of got away from that a little bit because of them scoring and the way the game changed, though. It went from us being ahead to trying to catch up.”