BURLESON — A four-point swing in the fourth quarter could well have decided which team will get into the playoffs — the two points Midlothian got, and the two points Burleson didn’t.
The Panthers were fortunate to turn a bobbled snap into a two-point conversion with 10:27 left in the game. Then the defense stopped Burleson quarterback Blake Myers on a game-tying attempt with 5:26 to go as Midlothian escaped Burleson ISD Stadium with a 32-30 victory on Friday night.
The win leaves the Panthers (6-2, 4-2) with a magic number of one to punch their postseason ticket. MHS will host Cleburne this Friday at MISD Multipurpose Stadium needing either an outright victory, or a Waco University loss to Everman.
Burleson (5-4, 3-4) is not out of the playoffs by a long shot, but the Elks, who are idle Friday, will likely have to beat Cleburne on the road in Week 11.
Junior Ethan Hill finished with 151 rushing yards and two touchdowns, the second of which gave the Panthers a two-touchdown lead early in the fourth. On the PAT, the connection between the snapper and holder went awry, but holder Riley Angel was able to recover the ball and passed to a wide-open J.T. Cavender for two.
The extra cushion turned out to be a boon for MHS, as Burleson’s Myers answered just over a minute later with a 25-yard scoring run to make it 32-24. Then Myers, who finished with 190 rushing yards, tacked on his third TD of the night on a 27-yard run. The Elks went for two and the tie, but Myers was stuffed just short of the goal line, leaving the Panthers cradling a two-point lead.
The Panthers then put the game away by holding the ball for the final 5:26, with quarterback Nicholas de los Santos converting two gutsy fourth-and-1 play calls — both still in Midlothian territory — to keep the chains, and the clock, moving.
De los Santos added 55 rushing yards and a touchdown, and Darren Greeson carried for 29 yards and a score. Shane Reasonover chipped in with a 35-yard field goal in the third quarter.
Myers also threw for 122 yards and a TD for Burleson, but also threw three interceptions.
The Panthers quickly broke on top on Hill’s 4-yard run, but just as quickly, Myers uncorked an 84-yard run to tie the game with a little more than two minutes off the clock. Then after Greeson and de los Santos each found the end zone on short runs, the Elks used a field goal to cut Midlothian’s lead to 21-9 at the break.
After Reasonover’s field goal, the Elks took to the air and got a 32-yard pass from Myers to Jaxon Winburn, then Myers ran in the 2-point conversion to make it a one-possession game with 5:25 remaining in the third quarter.