McKINNEY (Oct. 16, 2015) — McKinney North rolled past McKinney, 52-21, Friday in the annual "Crosstown Showdown" at Ron Poe Stadium for its fourth straight win over the Lions. Bulldog quarterback Christian Files threw for 272 yards and four touchdowns, and rushed for two more, as North’s defense slammed the door on McKinney after halftime.
“I thought our defense answered the call again tonight,” North coach Mike Fecci said. “I’m very proud of them, and I’m very proud of Christian.”
Files’ favorite targets this night were Miguel Hudson – five catches for a game-high 110 yards and two touchdowns – and Brennan Harris – four for 74 yards and two TDs. Hudson also rushed for a score. “They’re two seniors and they’ve played a lot of football games here,” Fecci said. “They’ve been on the varsity since their sophomore year. … They stepped up big. You want your big-time players to make plays in big-time games and they did.”
Photo by John Tyler,
Bulldog Miguel Hudson (12) led all receivers with five catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns. He also scored a rushing TD for McKinney North's first points.
“We were thinking we can beat them deep,” Harris said, “because they were just focusing on our running back. All we had to do was a little jab inside and go out, and it was over. … [This win] will give us confidence for the last three games, definitely. That’s what we needed. We needed a spark to get us back up on our feet after the loss to Lovejoy.”
Said McKinney coach Jeff Smith, “We had our chances. We had our big-play chances, we just couldn’t haul them in. … I’m proud of the effort. The kids played hard. McKinney North’s a good football team, and we knew that. We wish them the best. For us, we’ve just got to get better.”
The Bulldogs (5-2, 2-2) built a 35-21 lead at the break, scoring touchdowns on all five first-half possessions. North’s aerial assault began in earnest late in the second quarter with the score tied, 21-21. First, Files threw deep to Miguel Hudson for a 60-yard touchdown then, after a McKinney three-and-out, found Hudson again for a score, this time from 16 yards out.
Before that, McKinney (3-4, 1-3) had given the Bulldogs all they wanted.
North got off to an “inauspicious start,” as Fecci put it, fumbling away the opening kickoff. The loose ball was recovered by McKinney’s Ryan Wood at North’s 27-yard-line and three plays later Matt Gadek strolled in for a touchdown, untouched off left tackle from four yards out. The key play on the short drive: a 22-yard pass from quarterback Tyree Johnson to Dominic St. Leon.
Johnson also connected on passes of 18 and 36 yards to Joseph Robinson and Rickey Fantroy, respectively, in the first half and later just missed on two deep balls to Quinton Quirrenbach. “They threw the ball a lot better than people think they can,” Fecci said. “We knew they could throw it. They have a heck of a running game, but they threw the ball well. And they did some things to us that caused us a couple of issues early.”
Photo by John Tyler,
McKinney's Ryan Wood, Cameron Calhoun (83) and Tyson Wilson (2) bring down a Bulldog ball carrier Friday.
North responded to being down 7-0 with an 11-play, 58-yard drive, capped by Hudson’s 1-yard touchdown push. After a McKinney punt, the Bulldogs took the lead, 14-7, on Files’ 11-yard TD run, after driving 56 yards in seven plays. The Lions came right back, tying the score on Gadek’s second TD, a 22-yard scamper. McShane Wyatt returned the ensuing kickoff to midfield and from there the Bulldogs needed six plays to regain the lead on Files’ 23-yard TD pass to Harris.
McKinney then forged its best drive of the game to tie the score a final time: 78 yards in 14 plays, capped by Johnson’s 6-yard run up the middle. Kicker Michael Shipley then recovered his own onside kick near midfield and the Lions looked to take the lead again. The drive stalled, though, at North’s 36 when Gadek was stopped two yards short on fourth-and-9.
And that’s when Files-to-Hudson struck twice before halftime.
Gadek went on to lead all rushers this night with 185 yards on 24 carries.
“Honestly, I just think it was execution,” Johnson said of the Lions’ early success. “I feel like we were doing what we had to do right. We schemed all week and we executed. … They’re a solid team,” he said of North.
Smith said he was proud of Johnson, who stepped in for the injured Damon Witmer, now lost for the season. “He threw the ball well and ran the offense well, so I’m pleased with him and some of the other guys who had to step up tonight. Chane Falls played center for us because Caleb [Stricklin] was out. And [running back] Josh Whytus again played a little bit more than normal because Walker [Torrain] is still not quite back where he needs to be.”
Gadek opened the second half with a 67-yard run to North’s 3-yard line, but here North’s defense rose up. On fourth-and-goal from the 1, linebacker Nathan Gifford tossed Gadek for a two-yard loss. “I thought we had the momentum with that first run that we popped,” Smith said, “and we just didn’t get in the end zone. Our kids came out ready to go.”
“I believe if we’d scored there it would have been more of a ball game,” Lions defensive end Cameron Calhoun said. “But we didn’t.”
After a scoreless third quarter, the Bulldogs tacked on 17 last-stanza points, including Chase Carraher’s 23-yard field goal, Files’ final TD pass – a 28-yarder to Harris – and Files’ 2-yard touchdown run.
Wyatt ended McKinney’s next-to-last possession with an end-zone interception returned to midfield.
Photo by Rog Pachuta,
Bulldog running back K.J. Hart runs in heavy traffic as Marcus Ramsey (56), Andrew Mills (46) and Isaac Nunez (31) close in.
A trio of North rushers garnered at least 57 yards each, with Micah Baulicex’ 68 yards on 13 carries leading the way. K.J. Hart carried 14 times for 57 yards and Files added 62 yards on nine tries. “Everybody on both sides of the ball did what they needed to do,” Baulicex said. “The o-line made holes where we could get five yards per carry and Files was just droppin’ dimes.”
As for the emotion of playing in this rivalry game, Calhoun said, “You know the guys – some are your best friends – but you want to beat them. … We’re going to give glory to the Lord whatever we do. We’ll try to play hard and win out.”
North’s Harris called the game “crazy,” adding, “I grew up with a lot of these kids. It’s just good to know that we beat them, because we now can brag every time we seen them. It’s just a great feeling.”
“We’re going to take [these last three games] one at a time,” Smith said, “and we’re going to give everything we’ve got, each one of those. We’re going to control what we can control – and that’s our effort, that’s our execution, that’s our team.”
“Tonight is what high school football is about,” Fecci said. “That atmosphere was phenomenal from our crowd.” He again praised the Lions’ coaching staff, as he had earlier this week. “They’re some of the best coaches around and they’re going to have a great plan and their kids are going to play hard. And they did that.”
North travels to face Denison (4-3, 2-2) on Friday, Oct. 23, and McKinney hosts Wylie East (6-1, 4-0) on Thursday, Oct. 22.
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 email@example.com.
Go to the next page for the scoring summary
McKinney – Matt Gadek 4 run (Michael Shipley kick), 11:17
North – Miguel Hudson 1 run (Chase Carraher kick), 7:49
North – Christian Files 11 run (Chase Carraher kick), 4:25
McKinney – Matt Gadek 22 run (Gavin Baechle kick), 2:22
North – Brennan Harris 23 pass from Christian Files (Chase Carraher kick), 0:24
McKinney – Tyree Johnson 6 run (Michael Shipley kick), 6:25
North – Miguel Hudson 60 pass from Christian Files (Chase Carraher kick), 3:14
North – Miguel Hudson 16 pass from Christian Files (Chase Carraher kick), 0:17
North – Chase Carraher 23 FG, 11:58
North – Brennan Harris 28 pass from Christian Files (Chase Carraher kick), 10:28
North – Christian Files 2 run (Chase Carraher kick), 3:37
Rushing — McKinney: Matt Gadek 24-185, Josh Whytus 11-45, Tyree Johnson 7-15, Walker Torrain 2-4, Cade Galyean 1-(-1). North: Micah Baulicex 13-68, Christian Files 9-62, K.J. Hart 14-57, Miguel Hudson 4-21, Lamar Lucas 4-13, Matthew Pursley 1-0.
Passing — McKinney: Tyree Johnson 3-8-0-76, Cade Galyean 0-2-0-0. North: Christian Files 19-28-0-272.
Receiving — McKinney: Rickey Fantroy 1-36, Dominic St. Leon 1-22, Joseph Robinson 1-18. North: Miguel Hudson 5-110, Chris Gowen 5-29, Brennan Harris 4-74, Jordan Barany 4-43, Connor Manning 1-16.