HEWITT, Texas — The Midway Panthers were given a gift during the 2022 UIL realignment cycle when they were moved out of 6A's "District of Doom" and back into District 12-6A, where they enjoyed nearly a decade of dominance.
Midway will be paired with Copperas Cove, Temple, Bryan and Harker Heights, as well as new district foes Weiss and Hutto.
It is a welcome relief for a Panther team that went a combined 3-17 in their last two seasons, including a 1-9 campaign in 2021.
"The last two years for Midway football hasn't been the standard," second-year head coach Shane Anderson said. "And we're gonna do everything we can. And we have been doing everything we can since January to get that bad taste out of our mouth."
The Panthers played a largely young and inexperienced group of underclassmen in 2021, including returning quarterback Reid Tedford. Tedford threw for over 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns in limited action.
However, Anderson believes the biggest area of growth this offseason came in the trenches. Midway returns several offensive and defensive linemen, who have taken on the onus of leadership this year.
"A lot of our guys really weren't strong enough when these coaches first showed up," Kooper McCaig-Forbis said. "They didn't like that. So, they changed that pretty quickly. We're all pretty strong now. We know what it takes. We're claiming ourselves as the leader of this team, so we're doing whatever we have to do to win."
Forbis mentioned that, compared to recent seasons, there is more optimism surrounding the program heading into 2022.
"Everybody has kind of bought in at this point," he said. "We really think we are going to get somewhere, so we are not down on ourselves."
The Panthers hope to compete for a playoff spot and potentially a district title, but Anderson said the focus right now is on winning "one day at a day."
Midway is projected to finish sixth in 12-6A.
2022 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE:
8/26 vs Mansfield 7:00
9/2 at Odessa Permian 7:30
9/9 vs Austin Vandegrift (at UMHB) 7:00
9/16 vs Rockwall-Heath 7:00
9/23 vs Hutto* 7:30
9/30 at Killeen Harker Heights* 7:30
10/7 vs Temple* 7:30
10/14 at Copperas Cove* 7:30
10/21 vs Bryan* 7:30
10/28 at Pflugerville Weiss* 7:30
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