HEWITT — It started as a shootout, but ended in a blowout.
For two quarters, Temple and Waco Midway did what most people expected. The two teams went back and forth, combining for 639 yards and 41 points.
After halftime, however, the Panthers took complete control of the game, posting 42 unanswered points while allowing the Wildcats across midfield just once, and won 63-20 at Panther Stadium.
“We were as bad in the second half as we possibly could have been,” said Temple head coach Mike Spradlin. “We just couldn’t pull ourselves out of the spiral. We just couldn’t do it. It started snowballing on us, and we couldn’t get it stopped. We couldn’t stop it on offense. We couldn’t stop it on defense.”
Following an exciting first half, Midway clung to a 21-20 lead, but it didn’t take the Panthers (5-0, 2-0 8-5A) long to blow the contest wide open.
Midway scored four touchdowns in the third quarter, including two in a 9-second span. Quarterback Kramer Robertson accounted for 295 passing yards and five touchdowns, in addition to a pair of touchdown runs.
The Panthers took their first possession of the third quarter 80 yards for a touchdown, and, then, with Temple (3-2, 1-1) facing third-and-9 from their own 31, Midway linebacker Dustin Vasek intercepted Zach Allen´s pass to set up a three-play scoring drive that Robertson punctuated with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Jarmon that put the Panthers ahead 35-20.
“I thought the first half wasn’t bad, but 42-0 in the second half says it all,” Robertson said. “We really came out firing on all cylinders in the second half. We scored on our first drive, then got the interception, and it was all Midway from there.”
Later in the quarter, Midway found the end zone once again before recovering a fumble on the ensuing kickoff. One play later, Robertson passed for his fourth touchdown of the game.
While Robertson thrived after halftime, Allen struggled to find rhythm. Temple’s Syracuse-committed quarterback completed 13 of 16 passes for 268 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, but was just 2 of 7 for 25 yards with an interception and was sacked five times in the second half.
“(The third quarter) was a quick turnaround,” Spradlin said. “We needed something positive to happen after that, and it didn’t happen.
“It’s unbelievable. I’m pretty disappointed to be honest.”
Although the second half was a one-sided affair, fans expecting a shootout were not disappointed in the first half.
Midway forced a turnover on downs inside the red zone, thwarting Temple´s opening drive at the Panthers 9-yard line.
Robertson capped a seven-play, 91-yard drive with a 3-yard scoring run.
Allen needed just three snaps to respond. He hit Chad President for a 70-yard score, but the Wildcats trailed 7-6 with 3:58 left in the first quarter after missing the extra point.
Only 32 seconds came off the clock before the Panthers scored again.
DeChaar Greer’s 58-yard kickoff return set up a two-play dive, culminating with Robertson´s 28-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Jarmon.
The squads exchanged fruitless possessions before Allen recorded his second touchdown pass of the half, finding Keith Buhl for a 35-yard score to pull Temple within a point, 14-13.
The Wildcats forced a punt on the ensuing possession and turned it into their first lead of the night as Buhl found the end zone for a second time. This time, running in from 15 yards out.
Midway, however, led 21-20 at halftime thanks to a 12-play scoring drive that Greer punctuated with a 1-yard scoring run.
“We were very concerned coming in because Temple is an excellent football program,” Midway head coach Terry Gambill said. “We beat a good football team tonight and it was a complete team victory.”