In Friday’s gridiron action, McKinney rolled to a 2-1 mark, McKinney North stayed undefeated and Boyd fell to the state’s top-ranked team. Now, as the Lions and Bulldogs enjoy a bye week, the Broncos seek to end a 2-game skid.

Insight comes this week from three talented defensive backs: McKinney safety Jonathan Hobart, Boyd cornerback Armani Jenkins and North safety McShane Wyatt.

We begin.

McKINNEY BOYD BRONCOS

As for Friday’s 45-15 loss at Allen, Boyd coach Don Drake gets right to the point: “We’ve got to get a lot better. I think that’s pretty obvious. We’re not playing at the level that we need to be playing at this point and we’ve got to improve. So that’s what we’re going to be about, starting today [Monday].”

The Broncos (1-2, 0-1) were out of this one early, 21-3 – and against Texas’ top prep program, that’s a bridge too far for most anybody. To make things worse, senior safety Landon Livingston was carted off the field with a leg injury in the second quarter. Drake says while he can’t comment on a player’s specific injury situation, “I can tell that you he’s doing well.” Junior Antonio Tamez moves into Livingston’s starting spot.

McKinney Boyd senior cornerback Armani Jenkins played wide receiver as a freshman.

Boyd senior cornerback Armani Jenkins played wide receiver as a freshman.

 

Allen’s victory was mostly all Seth Green, the Eagles’ senior quarterback who threw for 222 yards to seven different receivers and rushed for 109. Boyd’s Armani Jenkins, a two-year starter at cornerback, said he felt the Broncos’ defense “played a little slow” Friday. “I think we can do better next week, fly around to the ball and play with confidence. … That’s the best team we’ll play,” he says of Allen. “I told the guys, that’s a learning experience. You’ve seen a great quarterback, Seth Green, a big quarterback. You’ve seen a good running back, receivers. You’ve seen it all. So there’s no reason we should not be prepared for the next week.”

Jenkins says losing Livingston, while a blow, will be a source of motivation for the defense. “We have more to play to for, really. We lost a brother. … We know we have to perform well for him.”

What makes a good cornerback? “You should know how to play receiver to play corner,” Jenkins says, “because you’ll know what to do, you’ll know the routes they’re going to run. And you have to be disciplined with your eyes.”

 

 

Boyd quarterback Grant Restmeyer completed 12-of -26 passes for 143 yards, with one pick returned for TD on the Broncos’ first play from scrimmage. Kaeden Markham rushed for game-high 139 yards and scored both Boyd TDs on 1-yard pushes. Brandon Bowling led Broncos’ receivers with 54 yards on three catches, while Stephen Driskell collected four passes for 45 yards.

McKinney Boyd assistant coach Robert Boone (left) runs a fumble drill on Monday.

Broncos assistant coach Robert Boone (left) runs a fumble drill on Monday.

 

Boyd’s top tackler was safety Parker Noren, with 13 stops.

Winless Flower Mound visits Ron Poe Stadium Friday, but don’t think for a minute that Drake views this as a “gimmee.” Not even close. “They’re 0-3 right now,” he says, “but they’ve been in three pretty close ballgames. They’re very capable. I’ll be honest, in this district, there’s not anybody we can look past.”

“Trust me,” Drake continues, “the message I’m giving our kids is, we’ve got to get a lot better. We’ve got to compete harder, we’ve got to play tougher, with more effort – and cut out the mental mistakes – because right now we’re not a very good football team, in my opinion. We’d better get it cleaned up or it’s going to be a really long road.”

The Jaguars come off a 36-24 loss to a good Plano East squad. Panthers quarterback Miklo Smalls hit on 14-of-20 passes for 240 yards and tossed three touchdown strikes. Flower Mound quarterback Noble Newton topped that with 250 yards through the air, and two TDs, but he also suffered two interceptions. Newton’s 54 rushing yards led the Jags as well, and collegiate prospect Brenden Alves was their top receiver, with nine catches for 99 yards.

Boyd topped Flower Mound last year, 46-6, for its first win over the Jags in three tries.

McKINNEY HIGH LIONS

Friday’s 41-9 road-win over Carrollton Newman Smith (0-3) was the Lions’ largest margin of victory since thumping North Garland, 48-7, in 2013. McKinney stormed the Trojans for 24 fourth-quarter points – two Walker Torrain rushing touchdowns, Tyson Wilson’s 38-yard interception-return and a Gavin Baechle field goal – and voila: breathing room, for a change, as the clock ticked to zero.

McKinney High coach Jeff Smith observes warm-ups before Tuesday’s practice.

McKinney coach Jeff Smith observes warm-ups before Tuesday’s practice.

 

“That was good to see,” McKinney coach Jeff Smith says. “We’ve played a lot of close games here in the last few years – some we’ve won, some we’ve lost. We haven’t really pulled away like that in a while.”

The Lions’ ground game continues to impress, with Torrain collecting a game-high 135 yards and three touchdowns, and Matt Gadek adding 103 yards with a score. McKinney’s relatively small but effective offensive line just keeps moving opponents out. “They’ve really played well,” Smith says of the o-line. “Coach [Mark] Gibson and Coach [Glenn] Williams do a great job with them. They play great technique, they do the little things right. And they’re just tough kids. … We’ve got some good seniors up there to kind of lead the way. [Aidan] Mulligan, Caleb Stricklin and Jett Carson, they kind of set the tone. They’re playing a lot bigger than they are.”

 

 

Michael Shipley booted a 42-yard field goal in the second quarter to give the Lions a 10-0 lead.

As for cornerback Wilson’s “pick-6,” Smith notes, “They were trying to throw a hitch-type route … and Tyson did his job, broke on the ball and made a nice play. And he finished it well by getting into the end zone. That was huge. It’s always great when you can score on defense. … That’s the strength of our defense: our [all-junior] secondary, and how they tackle and how they cover. We’re going to need them in the district race.”

McKinney relied almost entirely on the ground game Friday, totaling 336 bruising yards against only 15 yards by air. Newman Smith was held to less than 250 total yards, with safety Jonathan Hobart stopping two Trojan drives cold with a pair of interceptions.

McKinney High junior safety Jonathan Hobart nabbed two interceptions versus Carrollton Newman Smith.

McKinney junior safety Jonathan Hobart nabbed two interceptions versus Carrollton Newman Smith.

 

Hobart says it was his first two-pick game. He also led the Lions in tackles, with 8 stops.

“It was a good game for the defense,” Hobart says. “We forced some turnovers and we were just playing our technique. … It’s a good time to get on a roll, going into district [play].”

Of his first interception, Hobart says, “They were starting to get some momentum in the game and they ran three vertical [routes]. I just picked off the one they decided to throw to.” The second was a sideline interception in traffic near game’s end. “It was good to be a defensive back that game,” he says.

What’s required to play safety? “I would say you have to have a mean composure to you,” Hobart says. “You have to be mean in getting there [to defend a pass], but you also have to know your technique.”

The Lions now draw a bye, with the rest of District 10-5A, before starting district play Sept. 25 vs. Wylie. Smith’s assessment of his team so far? “I’m just very pleased with the improvement from Week 1 to Week 2 to Week 3,” he says. “That’s what it’s all about, getting better. That’s our focus.” The bye week, Smiths adds, is “a chance to get healthy and work on academics a little bit – and work on the Lions a little bit, get ready for that district race.”

McKINNEY NORTH BULLDOGS

A memorable night indeed during what could be another memorable Bulldog season: Quarterback Christian Files threw for 436 yards Friday, setting a new single-game school record in North’s 48-30 win over Richardson Pearce (2-1). Files’ feat smashed Eric Herbel’s mark of 374 yards, set nine years ago against Frisco Centennial. Not only that, but Miguel Hudson’s 185 receiving yards broke – by 1 yard – David Douglas’ 2007 record set versus Highland Park. Hudson also gathered in both of Files’ TD passes.

McKinney North gets back to work Tuesday afternoon after a day off on Monday.

McKinney North gets back to work Tuesday afternoon after a day off on Monday.

 

Files connected with six different receivers this night, including Brennan Harris, who added eight catches for 162 yards. And while the Mustangs fought this aerial assault, North running back K.J. Hart was taking another stellar turn, ripping for 192 yards and three touchdowns.

“It was awesome,” Bulldogs coach Mike Fecci says of North’s nearly 700-yard offensive display. “It was one of those games, to be honest with you, that I had no earthly idea [Files] threw for that many yards.” Fecci adds that North’s offense and defense complimented each other very well. “When we got a stop defensively, our offense went and scored. If our offense got stopped, then our defense was able to go out and get a stop, for the most part.”

 

 

Pearce quarterback Hank Hughes – who finished with 260 yards passing, 165 rushing – kept the game tight into the final stanza. But then, leading 31-24, North pounded 17 straight points to seal win No. 3. “Pearce is a good football team,” Fecci says. “That quarterback is very, very good. … To contain him to the degree we did was a big testament to our defense.”

Jamarrius Hill’s second-quarter interception ended one Pearce threat in North’s end zone. “A very impressive play,” Fecci says, noting Hill was beaten earlier on the same route. “That’s what you want – if your [defensive back] gives up something, and they come back to it, you want him to make the play next time and he did. … I [also] thought [linebacker] Zach Palmisano played extremely well, made a lot of big plays for us.”

Bulldog senior safety McShane Wyatt led McKinney North in tackles last Friday.

Bulldog senior safety McShane Wyatt led North in tackles last Friday.

 

Safety McShane Wyatt’s 16 tackles led the Bulldogs Friday. “This was the first time we gave up more than 10 points, actually,” adding that 40 points in three games is still impressive. Especially, having faced Pearce’s offense, right? “They’re a really good offense,” he says. “The first half we didn’t know how to stop [Hughes]. We made some adjustments at halftime, and just found a way to stop him in the second half.”

Saturday’s Dallas Morning News featured a picture of McShane crashing into a Mustangs receiver causing both players’ helmets to fly off. “As soon as he threw the ball I just came over and made the play,” McShane says. “I just wanted to make a statement.” He adds, “I’ve got to tighten my helmet up a little bit.”

What’s it take to be play safety? “You’ve got to be the quarterback of the defense,” McShane says. “You’ve got to be vocal too. … You’ve got to be the leader to be successful.”

Fecci has two good kickers and both contributed Friday. Chase Carraher booted field goals of 33 and 29 yards and Sam Ashun repeatedly boomed kickoffs deep. “When you can kick the ball out of the back of the end zone,” Fecci says, “and don’t have to worry about allowing a return of any kind, that’s huge.”

His take on the Bulldogs at the bye: “I thought we played a really complete game Friday night. We needed to play four quarters of football against a quality opponent, and we did. … All in all, I like where we are. Our kids are playing with confidence, our kids are playing together and they’ve got a lot of belief right now.”

THIS WEEK

Friday, Sept. 18

McKinney Boyd vs. Flower Mound, 7:30 p.m., Ron Poe Stadium

McKinney BYE

McKinney North BYE

FEARLESS (AND WORTHLESS) PREDICTIONS

Last week 3-0; Season 7-2

McKinney Boyd 34, Flower Mound 17

(Coach Drake gets the Broncos’ attention.)

District 6-6A
School District Overall
Allen 1-0 3-0
Flower Mound Marcus 1-0 3-0
Plano East 1-0 3-0
Hebron 1-0 1-2
Plano West 0-0 1-1
Plano 0-1 2-1
Lewisville 0-1 1-2
McKinney Boyd Broncos 0-1 1-2
Flower Mound 0-1 0-3
 
District 10-5A
School District Overall
McKinney North Bulldogs 0-0 3-0
Denison 0-0 2-1
Lovejoy 0-0 2-1
McKinney Lions 0-0 2-1
Prosper 0-0 2-1
Wylie East 0-0 2-1
Wylie 0-0 1-2
Sherman 0-0 0-3

 

About the author: Rick Atkinson is a McKinney-based freelance writer and cartoonist. He has covered McKinney high school football for McKinneyOnline.com for the last three seasons. You can reach him via email at rikat2@att.net.