Panthers drop close one at Brewer
MHS drive for win stopped on downs at 6; team makes home debut Friday
WHITE SETTLEMENT — The Midlothian Panthers were just six yards away from grabbing a season-opening victory, but fell just short on downs at the end.
The Panthers got a defensive stop with under two minutes to play and made a late push toward the goal line, but a fourth-down run was stopped as the host Brewer Bears escaped with a 23-20 win on Friday night in the 2021 lid-lifter for both football teams.
Junior quarterback Chad Ragle completed a touchdown to sophomore Bryant Wesco on a fade in the back right corner of the end zone with 6:22 remaining to cut the deficit to three points, but the point-after kick was no good. Ragle completed three of 12 pass attempts on the night, all to Wesco.
Junior De’ago Benson rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown and had another long scoring run nullified by a penalty, and Xavionte “Tae” Jackson added a 10-yard TD run for the Panthers.
On defense, senior Andrew Colman led the squad with nine total tackles. Xavier Ruffin, Julian Lofgren and Bradyn Smith each recorded a sack, and junior Carsen Bates added an interception.
The Bears broke the seal on the scoring with 2:21 remaining in the first quarter on a Jaylen Spriggs 3-yard keeper, but a muffed punt gave the Panthers an opportunity at the Brewer 13-yard line. Four plays later, Jackson scored on an end-around to square things at 7-7 with 3:14 left in the half.
Then Bates’ interception and return to the Brewer 18 led to a 13-yard sprint by Benson for the go-ahead score at the 1:26 mark, sending MHS to the intermission holding a 14-7 edge.
Brewer drove for a 30-yard field goal to open the second half, then took a 16-14 lead on a 25-yard run by Montrail Cushionberry late in the third quarter. The Bears made it a 9-point gap with 9:29 to go as Spriggs threw an 11-yard pass to BJ Williams.
The Panthers will make their home debut against Forney this Friday night at MISD Multipurpose Stadium, with kickoff set for 7 p.m.