WACO — Midway mistake…Stephenville touchdown.
That was the case all night in the season-opener here at Waco ISD Stadium in the season-opener for both schools, and the first game of the 2007 H-E-B Heart of Texas Kickoff Classic.
Brad Mills ran for three Yellow Jacket touchdowns, and Stephenville scored points off of four Midway turnovers in the 41-7 win.
Mills’ touchdown runs came on plays of two, 33 and 44 yards. He was honored as MVP of the game by officials at the Classic. Mills credited the offensive line for clearing the way for him all night.
"The offensive line did a great job blocking. We couldn’t have done it without him," Mills said. "Whenever I got the ball there was a big hole. It would just open up like the red sea."
Stephenville Head Coach Chad Morris agreed with Mills’ assessment of the offensive line.
"Brad did a great job, but you have to give credit to the offensive line as well," Morris said.
Both squads started slow, as the first quarter ended in a scoreless tie.
Midway made its first big mistake on the first play of the second period.
Running option to the right side, quarterback Todd Glaesmann was unable to connect with pitch-man John Hubert, and the ball fell to the turf at the Panthers’ two yard line. Wayne Viotto pounced on it for Stephenville, and Mills took the ball across the goal line one play later. Mills, who was five-of-six on extra-point kicks, added the PAT for a 7-0 Jackets lead with 11:53 to play in the first half.
Stephenville’s War Dog defense forced Midway into a three-and-out on the Panthers’ next possession, and the Jackets took over after a punt at the Midway 46.
Mills struck again four plays later, taking the handoff on a draw and sprinting through the right side of the Panthers defense for a 33-yard touchdown run. His kick put the Jackets ahead, 14-0.
It was the Stephenville special teams that scored the next Jacket touchdown, as Josh Emmons blocked a Midway punt. The ball rolled to the Panther 10 where Travis Haschke picked it up and carried it into the end zone. Mills’ third kick made it 21-0.
Midway finally got on the board when a 12-yard strike from Corey Holmes to Germain Gilbert ended a 10 play, 66 yard scoring drive with just 44 seconds remaining in the half. The PAT cut the Stephenville lead to 21-7.
Stephenville wasted no time re-securing the momentum after the break. The Yellow Jackets took the third-quarter kickoff and marched 60 yards in 11 plays, capped off by a two yard jaunt by Trey Taylor. Mills’ kick gave SHS a commanding 28-7 advantage.
Another Midway miscue set up the Jackets’ next touchdown. The Jackets forced MHS to punt, and the snapped sailed over the head of Holmes, who also handled punting duties. He picked up the ball and attempted to run, but was brought down quickly in the backfield for a turnover-on-downs.
Spano picked up 12 yards on two runs, and added six more with a six-yard pass completion to Jordan Fornes, leaving the ball at the Midway two. Colby Lozano finished off the drive with a short scoring run, and the game was out of reach. The extra point made the scoreboard read 35-7.
Stephenville added their sixth and final touchdown with 2:37 to play in the third, when Mills recorded his longest and last touchdown run of the evening from 44 yards out. The play was set up by a 39 yard strike from Spano to Josh Graves. The point after was blocked, and the final tally was 41-7.
In addition to Mills, Spano and Emmons were honored as offensive and defensive players of the game, respectively.
The win is the Jackets’ sixth straight victory in a season-opener.
Stephenville returns to action in the home-opener at Memorial Stadium next week. The Jackets host Azle Friday, with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m.