McKINNEY (Sept. 25, 2015) — The Wylie Pirates built a 21-0 fourth-quarter lead then held off McKinney’s furious rally for a 24-21 win Friday at Ron Poe Stadium. It was Wylie’s sixth straight win over the Lions and kept McKinney from staking it first three-game win streak in two years.
But the Lions (2-2, 0-1) didn’t go down without a fight.
Things looked bleak indeed for McKinney after David Addo’s 22-yard scoring scamper gave the Pirates a three-touchdown lead late in the third quarter. But then Lions’ offense, led by quarterback Damon Witmer, came alive, driving 70 yards in six plays for their first points of the night. Walker Torrain did the honors, diving in for the touchdown from two yards out. The key play on the drive: Witmer’s tackle-breaking 26-yard run to Wylie’s 2 on 4th-and-5.
The ensuing on-side kick was recovered by the Lions’ Akayleb Evans and nine plays later Torrain bulled in for another score, this time from four yards out. But McKinney would not get the ball back with a chance to tie. Wylie’s relentless next drive ate valuable minutes off the clock before a Cameron Cunningham 29-yard field goal gave the Pirates a 10-point cushion with 1:28 left to play. The dagger for the Lions, perhaps, was Wylie quarterback Emilio Ames’ 21-yard run on 4th-and-1 from McKinney’s 36 with four minutes remaining.
Still the Lions roared back, driving 70 yards in five plays to score again, capped with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Witmer to fellow sophomore Quinton Quirrenbach. Wylie (2-2, 1-0) would recover the out-of-timeouts Lions’ onside kick to end the game.
“The first half we just couldn’t get in synch,” McKinney coach Jeff Smith said of the Lions’ offense. “It was a mistake here or a fumble, penalties, things like that. We saw moments where we were doing really, really good. ... So we felt pretty good going in at the half that we could move the football. In the second half we kind of put it more together. We started executing a little bit more. I’m proud of the way they responded in the second half.”
“We can learn a lot from that, even though it’s a loss and we don’t want that.”
“I couldn’t be more proud of the way we played on defense,” he said. “We had some fourth-down stops, we had a takeaway [fumble recovery]. They got us on a couple of big plays but really we played very, very hard on defense.”
“We played our hearts out,” defensive end Cameron Calhoun said. “Wylie played hard too. Just 3 points short. That game could have gone either way, easily.” Though shutout in the first half and trailing 14-0, Calhoun said the Lions knew they were still in it at halftime. “We knew we were going to come out and lay the wood down,” he said. “That’s what the coaches coach us to do and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Witmer led all rushers this night with 134 yards on 20 carries. “You could see [Witmer] mature a little bit through the course of the game,” Smith said. “Wylie is better than anybody we’ve played up to this point. ... Just seeing him make good decisions and give us a chance at that quarterback spot was big for us.”
Rickey Fantroy and Joseph Robinson each had three catches for McKinney, for 30 and 29 yards, respectively. Torrain finished with 53 yards on 14 carries and Matt Gadek added 50 yards on nine tries. Ames led Wylie rushers with 65 yards on 11 carries. He also threw for 150 yards with no interceptions.
McKinney travels to face Denison (2-2, 0-1) on Friday, Oct. 2.
Go to the next page for the scoring summary
Wylie – Tyrell Mauzy 2 run (Brandon Cunningham kick), 10:44.
Wylie – milio Ames 6 run (Brandon Cunningham kick), 5:57.
Wylie – David Addo 22 run (Brandon Cunningham kick), 1:33.
McKinney – Walker Torrain 2 run (Gavin Baechle kick), 11:06.
McKinney – Walker Torrain 4 run ( Michael Shipley kick), 8:32.
Wylie – Brandon Cunningham 29 FG, 1:28.
McKinney – Quinton Quirrenbach 20 pass from Damon Witmer, 0:45.
Rushing — Wylie: Emilio Ames 11-65, David Addo 11-55, Dru Thomas 3-34, Kolten Okerstrom 6-23, Tyrell Mauzy 2-11, Eli Smith 3-3, Kollier Knight 1-2. McKinney: Damon Witmer 20-134, Walker Torrain 14-53, Matt Gadek 9-50, Rickey Fantroy 2-19, Tyree Johnson 1-(-2).
Passing — Wylie: Emilio Ames 21-30-0-150. McKinney: Damon Witmer 9-18-0-84.
Receiving — Wylie: Tyrell Mauzy 8-22, Kollier Knight 4-35, Justin Pegues 3-18, Dru Thomas 2-9, Andrew Nwachukwu 1-44, Taylor Perry 1-10, Jordan Whaley 1-7, Eli Smith 1-5. McKinney: Rickey Fantroy 3-30, Joseph Robinson 3-29, Quinton Quirrenbach 2-27, Tyree Johnson 1-0.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.