For 2020 Midway Panther Defensive Lineman Braden Endsley, football is in his blood.
His grandfather Lindy Endsley played college football for the Texas Aat the highest level for the Kansas City Chiefs for two seasons in the late 60s. Braden’s father and uncle played college football.
Lindy Endsley died of pancreatic cancer in 2013 at the age of 68. He is the reason Braden Endsley plays the game today.
“…I play for him because even though he can’t physically see me grow up and watch me play, I know he’s watching over me and proud that I dedicate myself to a sport [that] helps me grow in both physical abilities and in character,” Endsley said.
The Endsley family sold their home and moved in with Braden’s grandparents to take care of them during the time of the elder Endsley’s illness.
“…Watching him struggle through the physical and emotional pain that cancer brings will continue to impact me for the rest of my life.”
Endsley’s grandfather is the reason for his desire to play football but his father is the inspiration behind his plans after his playing days are over. He wants to become a dentist like his father, Endsley said that his father has a big impact on his life in terms of teaching him everything that he knows and being a great role model.
“…Football is a fantastic game that teaches me many important lessons, but ultimately it is a game that will not last forever,” he added.
The six-foot-one, 245 pound, Waco, Texas native knew that he had the talent to play the sport his freshman year. With hard work, the ability to be great was there. He finished the 2018 season with 62 tackles and a 2020 class 12-6A District II leading four sacks.
Those stats earned First Team All-District and in the classroom, he produces as well. He has a 3.9 GPA and 1210 SAT score. As a senior next year, he wants to get at or close to 100 tackles and more sacks than last year. Check out his junior year highlights.
He has no scholarship offers at the moment but has received interest from Sam Houston State, Abilene Christian and Northwestern State. He has his eye on Abilene Christian and Sam Houston State going into his senior year.
“Braden has really transformed his game by embracing the physicality and toughness of playing defensive line. He can get after the quarterback with his pass rush, handle pulling offensive linemen and really does a great job of studying the guys he’s going to face on Friday nights,” Midway Panthers Defensive Line Coach Aaron Nowell said.
Nowell is impressed by the plays Endsley makes quite often in practice or on game day. Nowell is glad he’s not the one trying to stop him from getting to the quarterback or football. He admires Endsley’s eye discipline enabling him to play faster and his ability to quickly read offenses.
To Nowell, Endsley exudes toughness and would like to see him trust his speed and ball get off on his pass rush. Since he has the ability to get on an offensive lineman’s hip in a hurry, Nowell believes that trust will open the door for more sacks by Endsley and more big plays by the Panthers defense.
Speaking of the Panthers defense they’re led by Endsley and Carson Byrd who combined for 149 tackles and six sacks in 2018. A championship for the Midway Panthers in Endsley’s mind would be an amazing result to the hard work those two put in together and strengthen their bond as friends.
Endsley, Byrd, and Nowell all have said that both players push each other to be great on and off the field.
“…Their teammates know they can count on them to be lined up correctly, know and execute their assignment and play with a relentless effort to get to the football,” Nowell said.
The Midway Panthers have dominated their district the last three years with 20 wins in a row. When asked whether that is attributed to the defense or culture created at Midway, Nowell had this to say.
“It’s the culture we have here at Midway. Every year there are high expectations. Our kids know that and love the challenge it presents each season. We are a tough physical team; our offensive line is big and physical. I always invite people to come and watch our inside run period, it’s my favorite part of practice. Big tough physical dudes doing dude stuff, then line it up and do it again.”
On the field, Braden Endsley wants to dominate the guy in front of him. Even if it doesn’t happen one play, he’s ready to do it on the next play.
“I will definitely miss the community and being part of a great football program that not only teaches great football skills but also what it is like to be a man [of] faith and character. I hope I am remembered as a leader,” he said about his time at Midway coming to a close.