WYLIE (Nov. 6, 2015) — Call it an instant classic – just not one McKinney North’s Bulldogs will fondly recall.
Emilio Ames’ 14-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Whaley in overtime lifted the Wylie Pirates over North, 43-37, Friday at Wylie ISD Stadium. And with that result, Wylie (6-4, 5-2) makes the playoffs – but the Bulldogs’ season is over.
“The gamut of emotions was all over the charts,” North coach Mike Fecci said of the crucial contest. “I never stopped believing. … The kids fought their butts off. They deserved to win that game. I’ll leave it at that. Credit to Wylie. Congratulations to them. I wish them the very best. The kids played hard enough to win that game. We deserved that one. It just didn’t work out.”
“Sure, there were some calls that I didn’t like,” Fecci said, “but I’ve never had a game in my 18-year career where I didn’t walk out of there and go, ‘There was a call or two there I didn’t like’ – win or lose. … It came down to, we didn’t make a couple of plays when we needed to make them – maybe some decisions we shouldn’t have made. We’ll figure all that out. Right now, I’m just real proud of their fight.”
The game’s rollercoaster finale began with just over a minute left regulation. That’s when North quarterback Christian Files scampered 16 yards up the middle for a touchdown to give the Bulldogs their first lead since the second quarter, 34-30. The drive was set up by Bulldog linebacker Nathan Gifford’s interception on a deep ball with 4:43 remaining.
Wylie came right back with a 67-yard Ames-to-Whaley bomb, followed by Dru Thomas’ 8-yard TD run to put the Pirates back on top, 37-34, with 35 seconds left.
Game over, right? Wrong.
Working with two timeouts, North moved into Pirates territory where Chase Carraher booted true a 40-yard field goal with two ticks left on the clock, sending the game to overtime.
In the extra period, Wylie won the OT coin toss and elected to play defense first. The Bulldogs didn’t score, going four-and-out – after a 10-yard penalty – and Wylie sniffed victory. Eli Smith, on the Pirates’ first overtime play, moved smartly around right end to North’s 14. Ames then found Whaley for the game-winner, in the right corner of the end zone.
North led, 21-10, after one quarter on the strength of three Files-to-Miguel Hudson touchdown passes – of 55, 42 and 33 yards. Hudson finished with a game-high 213 yards on seven catches with four TDs. Files completed 15-of-32 passes for 280 with two interceptions.
The Pirates grabbed the momentum this night on two critical series – one just before halftime and one right after. Wylie took the lead for the first time on Kolten Okerstrom’s 1-yard touchdown run with 19 seconds left before the break. The Pirates then got the ball back with an onside kick to open the second half and drove 52 yards for another touchdown to lead 30-21.
From there, North battled up-hill, taking the lead again then tying it up late.
Ames completed 18-of-38 pass attempts for 398 yards with three touchdowns and three picks. Two TD throws went for 70 and 77 yards in the first half. Ames’ favorite target, Whaley, collected seven catches for 162 yards.
KJ Hart led Bulldog rushers with a game-high 64 tough yards on 17 carries.
Asked what he’ll remember about this Bulldogs squad, Fecci said, “I remember the pressure they came into the year under. They’re coming off a team that went four-rounds deep [in the 2014 playoffs.] You can’t explain the pressure that that is on young men, to come in, to want to go do that again, and the expectation they were going to go do that again. And to be faced with a Week 10 ballgame you’ve win to win to go get in [the playoffs]? To be faced with that, to score and then give up a score and then go down and score again? And all this happened in about a minute and fifteen seconds? It shows the guts, it shows the resiliency of our kids. That’s what I’m more proud of than anything, because that’s something that they can carry into their life.”
McKinney North 21 0 7 9 0 - 37
Wylie 10 13 7 7 6 - 43
North - Miguel Hudson 55 pass from Christian Files (Chase Carraher kick), 9:50
Wylie - Tyrell Mauzy 78 pass from Emilio Ames (Brandon Cunningham kick), 8:49
North - Miguel Hudson 42 pass from Christian Files (Chase Carraher kick), 7:45
Wylie - Brandon Cunningham 23 FG, 4:22
North - Miguel Hudson 33 pass from Christian Files (Chase Carraher kick), 2:53
Wylie - Dru Thomas 70 pass from Emilio Ames (Brandon Cunningham kick), 6:53
Wylie - Kolten Okerstrom 1 run (kick failed), 0:19
Wylie – Eli Smith 5 run (Brandon Cunningham kick), 10:21
North – Miguel Hudson 34 pass from Christian Files (Chase Carraher kick), 9:35
North – Christian Files 16 run (run failed), 1:11
Wylie – Dru Thomas 8 run (Brandon Cunningham kick), 0:35
North – Chase Carraher 40 FG, 0:02
Wylie – Jordan Whaley 14 pass from Emilio Ames
First downs 17 18
Rushes-yards 42-140 33-91
Passing yards 316 398
Comp-Att-Int 16-34-2 18-31-3
Punts-average 5-28.2 5-37.4
Penalties-yards 3-20 3-20
Fumbles-lost 0-0 0-0
Rushing - North: KJ Hart 17-64, Christian Files 14-51, Lamar Lucas 7-13, Miguel Hudson 2-7. Brennan Harris 1-5, Micah Baulicex 1-0. Wylie: Eli Smith 8-38, Dru Thomas 1-23 , David Addo 8-16, Kolten Okerstrom 8-8, Emilio Ames 7-5, Kollier Knight 1-1.
Passing - North: Christian Files 15-32-2-280, Brennan Harris 1-1-0-36, Miguel Hudson 0-1-0-0. Wylie: Emilio Ames 18-30-3-398, Kollier Knight 0-1-0-0.
Receiving - North: Miguel Hudson 7-213, Brennan Harris 4-41, Jordan Barany 2-15, Brett Hartland 1-36, Chris Gowen 1-8, Connor Manning 1-3. Wylie: Jordan Whaley 7-162, Dru Thomas 4-96, Kollier Knight 3-44, Tyrell Mauzy 2-79, Eli Smith 1-9, Justin Pegues 1-8.