Midway eSports team crowned State Champions

WACO, Texas (KWTX) – The Midway esports team has won the Texas State Championship in the game Knockout City, competing in the Vanta League.

Midway junior Ryan Jacobs and seniors Anthony Ho and Aidan Witt are the best in the state. While many think it’s just a game they’re playing, Jacobs says he trains for it like an athlete trains for a sport.

“I get home at around 5:30, get off at 9:30, and all of that time is spent gaming,” said Jacobs. “I do homework in the morning in my mom’s room because I don’t want to do it at home because I’m gaming.”

The Panthers took home the hardware in just the team’s second full season. Esports coach and Midway tech teacher BJ Williams had a hand in bringing the program to life.

“I feel like the school wanted an esports program, didn’t know exactly what needed to happen,” said Williams. “They were supportive of the idea, but really didn’t know what to do or the kind of push that it took, and I’ve had to do a lot of research to figure that out myself.”

Say what you want about video games, but Williams says his students have already benefited from competing in the program.

“One of the things that’s really exciting is to see the kid’s hand-eye coordination goes up, said Williams. “But they also have to plan and think through things at a much deeper level. Watching them strategize, coming up with how am I gonna do this, that’s with all of the esports across the board.”

While the popularity of esports continues to grow, it still a challenge to convince some parents of the benefits of gaming.

“My mom is not really into it,” said Midway junior Anthony Ho. “She doesn’t trust that like going into gaming and arts and stuff are not going to have a good future in it.”

However, that’s not the case in every household.

My family was really supportive,” said Jacobs. “I told them almost the moment I won, and it was really really impactful the way they cared so much about what I was doing and how I was achieving more than just at home playing games on a couch.”

Plus, Williams says the opportunities to have successful careers in the esports world are waiting for competitive gamers just like the Midway team.

“There’s not just the competitors, but there’s all sorts of other jobs out there that are gonna be able to make a lot of money,” said Williams. “And if you get really good at the game, you’re going to be able to make six figures.”

The Midway technology teacher said that his favorite part about the esports program at Midway is the fact that anybody and everybody can play.

“I don’t have to turn anyone away,” said Williams. “Anybody who wants to play can come in, they can all compete at a competitive level. We put the best people together to try and compete and advance as far as possible, but everyone can come and play.”

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