MCKINNEY — If you were in attendance for the matchup one year ago at The Star in Frisco, there was no doubt of the scoring capabilities of both teams heading into the Friday showdown between Midlothian and McKinney.
Though the Panthers held the lead early, Cordrick Dunn and the Lion offense were just too much to contain, almost literally running away with a 52-34 win. Dunn finished the game with 340 rushing yards to the 329 yards gained on the ground by seven Panther ball carriers.
The Panthers quickly jumped out to a 7-0 lead on a Nolan Samek nine-yard scamper into the end zone. Then, early in the second quarter and after Dunn put McKinney on the board with a little over a minute to play in the first, Marco Peters carried the ball across the goal line for an 8-yard score.
The Maycol Reyes extra-point kick with 10:19 to play in the first half had (1-2) Midlothian on top of (3-0) McKinney, 14-6.
But the lead did not last much longer for the Panthers.
What began with McKinney quarterback Damon Witmer (9-of-12, 174 yards) hitting Quinton Quirrenbach for a 6-yard touchdown with 8:54 on the second-quarter clock ended five touchdowns later when Andrew Pitts picked off a Tate Corbin pass (3-of-9, 51 yards) and returned it 60 yards to the house. The interception return put the Lions on top of the Panthers 45-14 with 2:26 remaining in the third quarter.
The Panthers managed to find the end zone three times in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Lions 21-7 over the final 12 minutes.
Peters started the fourth-quarter scoring with a one-yard touchdown, his second, with less than one minute off of the clock. Peters finished as the Panthers’ leading rusher with 119 yards on 24 carries. Dunn led the Lions with his 340 rushing yards on 29 carries (11.7 ypc) and three scores.
John Rodgers then hauled in a Corbin pass for a 30-yard touchdown with 6:50 to play in the game and Corbin called his own number from one-yard out after a Dunn touchdown to cap the scoring and 52-35 McKinney win.
Midlothian posted 396 yards of offense to the 533 of McKinney. The Panthers also had two turnovers. Nolan Samek added 90 rushing yards on his nine carries, while Austen Thomas accounted for 77 yards on 13 totes and Diego Gonzales ran five times for 29 yards.
Midlothian returns to the field to begin the District 10-5A schedule Friday, Sept. 22 against (2-1) Mansfield Legacy. According to statistics kept by DMN SportsDayHS, the Broncos are averaging 16.0 points per game while surrendering just 15.0 points per. Led by 2016 AP 5A Defensive MVP Jalen Catalon (junior), Legacy has allowed 231.0 yards per game, while the Panthers enter R.L. Anderson Stadium averaging 368 yards per.