BEDFORD — For many Texas high school football teams, surviving past the Thanksgiving weekend is a significant milestone.
The Mart Panthers have a little bit higher bar.
The Panthers showed they are just cranking up their engine as they raced past Windthorst, 58-6, on Friday afternoon at Pennington Field.
Mart (11-1) posted four touchdown plays of 50 or more yards in the first half and led 48-0 when the bands took the field at halftime.
The Panthers march on in the playoffs to play De Leon (12-0) . Mart, ranked No. 5 in Class 2A, meets the seventh-ranked Bearcats 7:30 on Friday night in Whitney.
Running back Tyrek Horne ignited Mart in the first quarter when he took a handoff on the Panthers’ fourth offensive play and darted down the sideline for a 58-yard touchdown. Horne’s score put Mart in front 7-0 with just 84 seconds gone from the first quarter.
Then Panthers running back Shatydrick Bailey put on a show for the rest of the first half.
Bailey, who rushed for 160 yards on six carries in the first and second quarters, found a hole up the middle and sprinted 57 yards for a touchdown, putting the Panthers ahead 14-0.
Horne also topped 100 yards in the first half as he added a 59-yard touchdown run to his earlier romp. Horne’s second score of the contest gave him 124 rushing yards on four carries and put the Panthers ahead 27-0 early in the second quarter.
Not to be outdone, Bailey made Mart’s sixth possession a one-play touchdown drive. He scrambled through the Windthorst secondary, then followed a convoy of blockers down the right sideline on a 72-yard touchdown run.
Bailey added a key contribution on the defensive side when he sacked Trojans quarterback Hunter Wolf for an 8-yard loss on a third-and-8 play early in the second quarter.
Mart’s defense showed as much quickness and dominance as its offense in holding Windthorst to 14 total offensive yards in the first half.
The Panthers led 41-0 before Windthorst gained its initial first down late in the second quarter.
“We’ve been harping on defense all year long,” Mart coach Kevin Hoffman said. “These kids have done an awesome job and they just continue to do that. You can’t give our defense enough credit. They put our offense in short fields and frustrate the other team’s offense. “
Mart quarterback Jace Terry, who had an eight-yard touchdown run midway through the first quarter, capped the scoring in the first half when he found wide receiver Jermaine Madkins for a 16-yard touchdown with nine seconds to go before the break.
Game officials allowed a running clock in the second half. But Mart still had time to score 10 points as Bailey tacked on a 20-yard touchdown run and finished with 181 on the ground, and kicker Angel Ortiz nailed a 19-yard field goal.
Windthorst scored its only touchdown when Wolf hit Colton Bates for an 18-yard touchdown with about a minute left in the fourth quarter.