Panthers romp past Hawks in 4-5A opener

Junior running back Richburg steps forward as MHS totals 388 yards on the ground

Mirror report
Midlothian junior running back Jordon Richburg breaks a run during the third quarter of Friday night's game at Birdville. Richburg finished the night with 173 yards and two touchdowns as the Panthers won their District 4-5A season debut, 31-7.

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS — In the deep stable of Midlothian High School running backs, junior Jordon Richburg was the “next man up” in Friday night’s District 4-5A (Division I) opener against Birdville.

In the absence of junior lead back De’ago Benson, Richburg stepped into the door and rushed for 173 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Panthers (2-2, 1-0) over the host Hawks, 31-7, at the Birdville Fine Arts Complex.

Fellow junior LJ Adineran added 64 yards and two rushing touchdowns, and sophomore Tyson Williams added a 27-yard field goal late in the game to wrap up the scoring as the Panthers ended the game on a 24-0 run. Kaden Smith, a senior, also had 66 yards rushing on eight carries.

After exchanging touchdowns in the first quarter, the MHS offense began to take control of the game, ending the night with 388 yards rushing. The defense helped lead the way, limiting Birdville to 203 total yards and eight first downs. They also forced five punts and blocked one field goal attempt on the night.

Defensively, Xavionte Jackson and Austin Henderson-Lowe each grabbed an interception for the Panthers.

Adineran’s 3-yard run with 2:15 left in the first quarter broke the ice and closed out a 67-yard drive, but the Hawks (2-2, 0-1) answered with a game-tying score on the final play of the quarter on a 65-yard touchdown keeper by quarterback Aiden Dollar, who finished with 172 total rushing yards.

The Panthers added a new wrinkle to their offense in the second quarter, inserting Drew Wendel at quarterback to share time with starter Chad Ragle.

Adineran’s 41-yard pickup was followed by Wendel’s 26-yard completion to Michael Garber to the Hawks’ 3-yard line, and Adineran took home his second scoring run of the night to put MHS on top for good, 13-7, after a blocked PAT.

The score stayed the same through halftime, and the Panthers missed a golden opportunity with a fumble at the 5 at the end of a 41-yard run. But from that point on, the Panthers put the game in the hands of Richburg and the MHS defense.

After another fumble, the team’s fourth of the night, the Panthers finally hit pay dirt again on a 9-yard run by Richburg with 1:09 left in the third, and Smith ran in the 2-point conversion making it 21-7.

Richburg’s second touchdown of the night increased the lead with 7:37 to go, and Williams’ field goal wrapped things up.

The Panthers return home to MISD Multipurpose Stadium this Friday night for a key “Pink Out” game against Colleyville Heritage (3-1, 1-0), which is up a spot to No. 6 this week in Class 5A Division I by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. Kickoff time is set for 7 p.m.

Last week, Colleyville had two pick sixes, two kickoff returns for TDs, and a missed field goal return for a touchdown as well in a 45-29 win against Richland, DCTF writer Matt Stepp reported.