Johnny Jefferson spun free from one tackle only to be hit with another.
That’s when the ball popped loose and flew into the air.
Waco Midway picked it up, ran it back 38 yards to the Shoemaker 37-yard line, and one play later, Panthers quarterback Kramer Robertson ran a sweep around the left tackle and scored.
Jefferson and the Grey Wolves hung with Waco Midway for a half, but two key fumbles in the fourth quarter allowed the Panthers to run off 20 straight points and win 40-20 Friday at Leo Buckley Stadium.
“I don’t know if they did much else different (in the second half),” said Shoemaker coach Channon Hall. “We shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times and didn’t capitalize a few times.
“And when you let (the Midway) offense on the field, they are going to make some good plays.”
The Grey Wolves (1-7, 0-5 8-5A) cut into the initial 7-0 Midway lead when Zierre Banner found Qwoy Blunt wide open in the middle of the field for a 68-yard touchdown pass.
But Midway (8-0, 5-0) struck back with a big play.
Robertson, who passed for 196 yards and ran for 74, found Jayson Clements streaking down the sideline. Clements, who had three receptions for 134 yards, caught the ball around the 30 and cut back across the field to complete the 75-yard touchdown strike.
Both teams kept punting, though. The Grey Wolves and Panthers combined for 11 punts in the first half.
Then with less than two minutes left, they figured it out.
Jefferson, who ran 23 times for 132 yards, tied the game with a 13-yard touchdown run with 1:37 left in the half and then capped off the scoring run with a two-point conversion.
After a long kick return set up the Panthers deep inside Shoemaker territory, running back BJ Kelly, who had 18 carries for 88 yards, scored from 5 yards out to give Midway the lead back, 20-14, with 37 seconds left in the half.
“That was huge, because any time you can score, we are going to take points,” said Midway coach Terry Gambill. “That is what our kids have been able to do this year — answer.”
Shoemaker drove 75 yards on its opening drive of the second half to tie the game at 20 thanks to a 31-yard run by Jefferson to put the Grey Wolves within striking distance. Jefferson then finished off the drive with a 13-yard run.
After that score, Midway dominated. They went down the field in seven plays to answer the Shoemaker touchdown, scoring on a 10-yard run by Robertson.
After forcing the Grey Wolves to a three-and-out, they scored in two plays. This time Robertson hit Clements again — on a 48-yard touchdown pass.
“We hit a big pass play and then had some stops,” Gambill said. “It is not going to be easy any Friday night.”
The next two Shoemaker drives ended in fumbles. The first by Banner and the second was Jefferson’s, which set up a 37-yard touchdown run by Robertson for the 40-20 lead with 9:48 left in the fourth quarter.
“That hurts because we were threatening and trying to get some points on the board,” Hall said. “We fumbled the ball and, of course, they capitalized and scored.”