By Evan Ren
Killeen Daily Herald
HEWITT The Ellison Eagles put forth one of their best efforts of the season Friday at Hewitt Midway, but three old enemies intervened to spoil it. Hampered by the lack of a ground attack, turnovers and big plays, the Eagles fell 51-34 at Panther Stadium.
Jared Ray passed for 319 yards and three scores to lead Midway (5-2, 2-0 District 16-4A), which won its fourth straight game and its second over Ellison in as many years.
With the loss, the Eagles, who had five turnovers and just 84 yards rushing, fell to 2-5 and 1-1.
The Eagles got off to a quick start, taking a 3-0 lead on a 38-yard Tom Santos field goal on its opening drive. A little more than two minutes later, Ellison's Pat Reilly picked off a Wesley Sauls pass and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown and a 10-0 lead.
Ellison had an opportunity to expand its advantage to 17-0 on its next possession, but Midway's Brian McDaniel intercepted Ivan Delgado at the Panther 3 to end the threat. Two plays later, Ray hit Garfield Hicks with a 96-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline to cut the gap to 10-7.
Ray, who replaced an injured Sauls (throwing hand) on the Panther's third possession, led another Midway touchdown drive to open the second quarter, a bizzare 10-play, 36-yard possession which ended with a 1-yard Jimell Trumbach TD run. Ellison had apparently stopped the possession when it blocked a 23-yard field goal by Justin Shaughnessy, but an offside penalty gave the Panthers a first down and new life.
Trailing 13-10 with 1:34 left in the half, the Eagles reclaimed the advantage when Delgado found Demyron Bell with an 80-yard touchdown pass to give the Eagles a 17-13 advantage heading into the break.
Ellison's momentum, however was short-lived.
Midway reclaimed the lead just 18 seconds into the second half when Matt Davis scooped up a Delgado fumble and raced 22 yards for a score. The Panthers found paydirt again on their first possession of the half when Ray found Hicks with a 25-yard scoring strike with 8:02 left in the third.
Leading 27-17, the Panthers seemingly took control of the game when Ray hit Dustin Dickerson with a 60-yard bomb with 4:40 left in the third, but the Eagles weren't finished.
On the ensuing possession, Delgado found Bell with a 73-yard touchdown pass, after which the Eagles cut the lead to 34-27 when Santos connected with his second field goal a 38-yarder with 1:37 remaining in the third.
The Panthers got a field goal of their own, when Justin Shaughnessy connected from 27 yards to cap a 51-yard drive and put Midway up 37-27 with 5:35 to play. Again Ellison countered, first with an 81-yard pass from Delgado to Bell which landed the Eagles at the Midway 1. One play later, Delgado scored on a sneak to make it 37-34.
Ellison, however, had scored for the final time. And when Justin Cavasos raced 49 yards for a score on the Panthers' next possession, the Eagles' were all but finished.
Trumbach added the final TD of the evening, a 1-yard plunge with 1:14 to play.
Ellison will next see action when it hosts Brownwood at Leo Buckley Stadium on Friday. Midway will travel to Waco University on the same evening.
EAGLE NOTES Bell finished with 238 yards on four receptions ... Delgado was intercepted twice, giving him 13 picks on the year. ... In all, the Eagles had five turnovers, giving them 23 through seven games. ... Midway rushed for just 66 yards on 33 carries.
Contact Evan Ren at firstname.lastname@example.org