MANSFIELD — If not for a pair of late touchdowns and a costly fumble, Jarreth Sterns' strike to JT Cavender would have been a game-winner.
The (1-4 overall, 0-2 in District 10-5A) Panthers 37-28 loss to the (3-2 overall, 2-0 in District 10-5A) Wolves on Friday night at R.L. Anderson Stadium marked its third consecutive loss of the season and the second to Mansfield ISD.
Midlothian High School lost 47-29 to Mansfield Legacy High School (3-2, overall, 1-1 in District 10-5A) last week despite 146 rushing yards from junior running back Landry Songer, 72 from senior wide receiver Chris Gomez and 96 from Sterns.
Gomez and Sterns each had a touchdown and Songer had two. Much like the game against Mansfield Legacy, though, the game was determined by the Panthers' play in the second half.
On Midlothian High School's final drive of the game, Sterns (7/12, 87 yds, 1 TD) completed consecutive passes to Nolan Samek and Landry Songer that paved the way for a 19-yard touchdown pass to Cavender. Samek (4 rush, 10 yds, 1 rec, 12 yds) was one of 10 rushers and receivers who helped the team gain 320 total yards.
Songer, too, had a productive day. He earned his third 100-plus yard rushing performance of the season and the Panthers collectively gained 233 yards on the ground, but it wasn't enough to claim their second win of the season.
Despite outgaining the Wolves in yardage in the first two quarters and entering halftime with a 20-17 lead — capped by Sterns' nine-yard scamper into the end zone — fourth quarter touchdowns on back-to-back drives were the proverbial straw that broke the Panthers' back.
On its final two drives, Mansfield Timberview ran just 10 plays that scored two touchdowns. They also didn't attempt a pass in the fourth quarter and only attempted only two — one a 59-yard touchdown pass from Zeke Kuyawa to Jalen Knox — in the second half.
The second half performance helped the Wolves out-Midlothian Midlothian and gained 194 total yards to the Panthers' 98 despite running 11 fewer plays than MHS.
Midlothian has the 16th (Songer - 94 rush, 552 yds, 8 TDs) and 20th (Jarreth Sterns - 77 rush 534 yds, 7 TDs) best running backs in 10-5A but enters the open week looking to heal from a rough-and-tumble start to their district schedule. The Panthers, however, face an undefeated and ranked Waxahachie High School team in week six.
They are scheduled to play the Indians at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 7 at MISD Multipurpose Stadium — the second time in two seasons. The Indians narrowly won the matchup 40-32 last season.