By Evan Ren
Killeen Daily Herald
One team was peaking for a run at a 4A state title; the other was youthful and finishing up a disappointing season.
It didn't take Pel to figure out which was which, as the seventh-ranked Hewitt Midway soccer team dismantled Ellison 6-0 at Leo Buckley Stadium on Monday.
Finishing the regular season with a 20-3-2 record, including a 14-1-1 mark in District 17-4A, the Panthers got six goals from six different players en route to an easy win.
Ellison, which had already fallen 8-0 to Midway on Feb. 17, finished at 9-13-1 and 7-9.
"You don't want to end the season with one of the top teams," Ellison coach Niles Dunnells said. "We didn't get a good draw there, but you just have to take it and build on it."
Outshooting the Eagles by an astounding 42-5 margin, including a 23-2 first-half tally, Midway scored the only goal it needed when Justin Shaughnessy found the net with a free kick in the 13th minute of play.
Six minutes later, David Romero used the first of three assists from team captain Luther Danberry to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead an advantage which remained unchanged until the break.
"Ellison is young, and it's hard to come out and play hard when you know you're not in the playoffs," Midway coach Tim O'Leary said. "Plus we played about 22 guys, so Ellison had to be tired toward the end."
Midway's dominance continued unabated in the second half, with Isaiah Hicks scoring in the 52nd minute off a pass from Dewberry.
The Panthers extended their lead to 4-0 three minutes later when Garfield Hicks hit the back of the net off a crossing pass from Isack Alvarado.
"I think we're peaking at the right time," O'Leary said. "We had about three or four injuries early in the season and we're just getting our full team back.
"Now we're pretty much injury-free, so we just have to get past that first round in the playoffs. After that, I think momentum will take over."
On Monday, Midway's momentum never stopped.
Logan Yelderman tallied the Panthers' fifth goal with help from Dewberry in the 57th minute, after which Dewberry added a score of his own with an assist from Alvarado in the 61st.
Of Midway's 42 shots, 17 forced Ellison goalkeeper ZachWilson to make a play in goal. Of Ellison's five shots, only a 35-yard blast by Ricky Pallanez required a save by Midway's Joe Kidd.
Pallanez had Ellison's best scoring opportunity in the 26th minute of play, but failed when his header from point-blank range sailed over the crossbar.
"The good thing is, I don't have a single senior on the team," Dunnells said. "Hopefully, we'll bounce up and start preparing for next year.
"Since we're not losing anyone, we should have a close-knit group next season."
Contact Evan Ren at firstname.lastname@example.org