HEWITT, Texas — After an "unacceptable" 2020 season, the Midway Panthers hope a coaching change will provide a spark and help them return to the playoffs in 2021.
The Panthers hired Connally Head Coach Shane Anderson late in the summer. Anderson served as an assistant at Midway before moving across town to coach the Cadets.
"Our goals are not gonna change," Anderson said. "We want to be a playoff football team, win a district championship, practice on Thanksgiving Day and play in December. And each and every day we're gonna try to come to work and make that possible."
The Panthers enjoyed an historic run from 2013-2018 where they won six straight district titles without losing a district game.
In 2020, the Panthers moved to District 11-6A in the latest round of UIL Realignment. As a result, Midway was paired with three teams consistently ranked among the Top 15 teams in the state and the path to the playoffs became far more difficult.
Last season, they won just two games and missed the playoffs.
"I think everybody's excited and ready to get that bad taste out of their mouth," Anderson said. "Last year was unacceptable for Midway and we've got to do a great job preparing each and every day so that we don't have to go through that again."
Players say the coaching changes have brought more energy to fall camp.
"These guys are tough but they're putting in the time and investing in us. And I appreciate what they've brought to us," Midway senior BJ Pitts said of the coaches.
Anderson is joined by former Robinson Head Coach Tommy Allison, who will serve as his offensive coordinator.
"We're gonna get the ball in the hands of our playmakers, and I feel like that's the best way," senior Sam Battle said. "We're gonna move the ball to guys in space where they can make a play."
The Panthers are projected to finish fourth in District 11-6A. They open the season against Round Rock.