Last season the Midway Panthers made it all the way to the Texas 4A Division One Regional Final before losing to Denton Ryan 19-10 at Cowboys Stadium. This season the Panthers will be looking to go further in the playoffs with quite a few key players coming back next season.
The Panthers will also have a new signal caller leading the team in Jordan Darling, a 6-foot-4 and 230-pound gun slinger who made a name for himself at Lakota West HS in West Chester (OH) as a sophomore. Darling and his family moved to Waco for his mom who is stationed at Fort Hood and currently is overseas in Afghanistan.
Even though Darling has yet to start a game at Midway, he is already receiving interest from a few Big 12 programs including the participants of the Red River Rivalry.
Back in June, Darling took part in the Sooners' summer camp, which made it the third year in a row that Darling has been in attendance.
"It was an awesome camp and it was my third year going," Darling stated. "It was a great experience and I had a lot of fun up there. It was a chance to compete and Coach Heupel is a good coach and I just learned a lot up there. He's an excellent coach."
Darling talked about Coach Heupel as a coach and what it was about Darling that impressed the Sooners former National Championship winning quarterback."Coach Heupel like I said is an excellent coach. He's done it himself as a quarterback for Oklahoma, won them a national championship. So, he's high up there. He's really good at communicating. It's really easy to learn from him, there's really no other way to explain it. He's just an excellent coach. He told me personally that he was really impressed with my mechanics, throwing motion and arm strength. He told me to keep up the hard work, keep working hard and as the quarterback, of course, you have to be the leader of the team," Darling explained.
It's still pretty early into the process for Darling but the Sooners are a school he would be ‘honored' to play for if given the opportunity. Now whether it is Oklahoma or any other program that he decides to play for, Darling will look to the man upstairs for guidance throughout the process.
"Oklahoma is a great university and I would be honored to go there," Darling began. "I will need to pray about it and I will see where I am in two years but obviously Oklahoma is up there because Oklahoma is a great school."
Darling has attended other camps as well this summer but is making sure to keep his focus on the Panthers' upcoming season.
"Everything's been going well," Darling stated when asked what he's been up to as of late. "Still focused on high school football because I got to get through high school first. Recruiting is pretty much the same. We went up to the TCU camp and that went well."
Playing high school football in Ohio is a lot different than in the state of Texas and Darling has already noticed differences when looking at the offense he will be running at Midway compared to the offense he ran in Ohio.
"In Ohio the offense I ran and the offenses I competed against in games they were more conservative," Darling said. "The offenses here especially at Midway it's more spread out and more wide open. The passing attack here in Texas as far as I have seen in Texas is stronger as opposed to Ohio. "The GNC was a pretty tough conference and had very strong defenses that I played against. I lead my conference in passing yards. In the GNC it was more running prone, it was more pro-style so it was difficult to get a lot of passing yards than you would at a school like Midway."
In less than a month Darling and his Midway teammates will take the field in their first game of the season in there trek to try and bring home a state championship. The plan will be to take it one game at a time to try and get better every week Darling says.
"A couple of goals that we have as I would hope for every high school football program in Texas would be to win a state championship," Darling stated. "We are going to take it game by game and we are going to continue to improve every week and see how that goes."
Stay with Sooners Illustrated for more coverage on Darling, who appears to have all the tools to become one of if not the top prospect at his position for the 2013 class in the state of Texas.--Joey Helmer--