McKinney High School (4-2, 0-1)
Lions Head Coach Jeff Smith knows his team’s 38-21 loss to Plano on Friday came down to a handful of plays.
“We knew we would get [Plano’s] best and they played well,” he said, “… but I didn’t feel like we were as sharp as we had been. It came down to six or seven key plays – six or seven defining moments in the game that were the difference.”
One set of those plays occurred in the second quarter after McKinney had drawn to within three points, at 17-14, on Antonio Oliver’s 2-yard run. Plano promptly drove back 72 yards for a touchdown, scoring three seconds before halftime.
The Lions never got closer than 10 points the rest the way.
“No doubt, they grabbed the momentum with that drive,” Smith said.
Two lost fumbles by McKinney were also defining moments. The first came on a kickoff return after Plano’s first touchdown. That miscue turned into a field goal and a 10-0 Wildcat lead.
The second came with McKinney trailing, 31-21, in the fourth quarter. “We’d just gotten the ball away from them [with a fumble] and if we take that down and score, we cut it to three,” Smith said.
Instead, Plano drove for its final touchdown.
The Lions had a short week to prepare for Thursday evening's game against Plano East, a team smarting not only from its first loss – but from the 56-0 manner in which Allen delivered it.
“They’re a very good team,” Smith said. “They’ve been blowing people out all year long. They played a tremendous Allen team and had some turnovers of their own and some situations.”
Plano East (4-1, 0-1) is Texas’ largest high school – the only one with an over-6,000 enrollment – notes Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine.
The Panthers have averaged 48 points per game in their four wins. Quarterback Mario Smalls has thrown for over 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns already, with one interception. Leading rusher Ricky Illodionya averages six yards per carry, with seven touchdowns. Collin Shaw, Plano East’s main receiving threat is closing in on 500 yards. Tight end Cody Verhulst (6-7, 220) is a tremendous blocker.
McKinney will counter with 1,600-yard quarterback Robert Somborn, who had another 300-yard passing game last week, and leading receivers Red Shannon, Connor Fuentes and TV Williams.
The Lions’ defensive front must get big pressure on Smalls and turnovers must be eliminated for McKinney to prevail.
Prediction: Plano East roars back from Allen-mageddon, 41-24.
McKinney Boyd High School (4-2, 1-0)
The Broncos were hitting on all cylinders in their district opening 55-28 romp past Plano West on Friday. Boyd rolled up 540 yards of offense – 400 on the ground – while committing no turnovers and forcing four by Plano West.
The Broncos stormed to a 27-7 halftime lead then piled on 21 third-quarter points to seal their fourth straight win.
“I thought the kids did a great job,” said Boyd Head Coach Don Drake this week. “They played pretty well from start to finish.”
All-State back Brian Driskell rolled to another 200-yard rushing night, with four touchdowns, including another kickoff return for six points. Back-up Kalvon Howard added 100 yards rushing and two touchdowns, one on a nice 30-yard scamper in the third quarter.
“He’s just a great kid,” Drake said of Howard. “When he needed to go in, he did a great job, made some plays. … I’m very appreciative to have a kid of his caliber that we can utilize.”
Boyd quarterback Curtis Ladd was solid again with 135 yards passing and two TD tosses with no interceptions.
“We were able to stay kind of true to course as far as what we planned to do, scheme-wise,” Drake said. “I don’t think you can ever plan for the game to swing that much in your favor as quickly as it did, but again, it’s a credit to the kids.”
Daylon Markham and Chris Stanton had interceptions for Boyd, and Patrick Ladd booted field goals of 20 and 27 yards – a reassuring scoring option down the stretch.
“That’s huge,” Drake said. “He and Jared [Symmank] both … have been able to come in and put some points on the board for us when we get the ball down there in field-goal range.”
Next up for Boyd is Plano, fresh from its win over McKinney.
“Plano’s a tradition-rich program,” Drake said. “And when it comes to this time of the year, they’re usually playing pretty well. We’ll have to come out and have another great performance this week, if we expect to walk off that field victorious.”
Plano’s jumbo-quarterback Richard Lagow (6-6, 220) threw for 140 yards against McKinney and scored three touchdowns, two by rushing. The Wildcats (4-2, 1-0) are tied for first place with Boyd and Allen, and the Broncos can winnow the field a bit this week – as long as they don’t overlook this one for the showdown with Allen next week.
Prediction: Boyd rumbles on, 39-20 – as should Allen. (Get your tickets now!)
McKinney North High School (1-5, 1-2)
In its tough 24-17 loss to undefeated Lovejoy on Friday, North held the Leopards to their lowest point total of the season. Lovejoy indeed needed all four quarters to put this one away.
“We got after them pretty good,” said North Head Coach Mike Fecci this week. “It just came down to a couple of plays. … We were eight-of-nine on third down stopping them, but the one time we didn’t, they got a touchdown. We were two-of-three on fourth down stopping them, but the one time we didn’t, they got a touchdown.”
Ronald Jones racked-up a 100-yard rushing game for the Bulldogs that included a game-tying TD in the second quarter. That performance comes on the heels of Justin Jones’ 100-yard game last week.
“They’re a good combination of backs to have,” Fecci said, “because they’re both really good at different things. I was happy for Ronald, no doubt.”
North quarterback Ben Dutze threw for 180 yards and a touchdown, and kicker Will Ashun kicked a clutch 40-yard field goal in the fourth quarter that drew the Bulldogs to within 17-10.
“He kicked that with a lot of room to spare,” Fecci said. “I knew he had it in him, but to actually get out there and do it from the hash-[mark] like he did was big.”
Lovejoy offensive catalyst Nick LaSane still got his yards - 100 yards each, rushing and receiving - including a 75-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter that stole North’s momentum. Lovejoy added a field goal on the half’s final play for a 10-point lead.
Leopard freshman quarterback Bowman Sells threw for over 200 before leaving the game with a fourth-quarter injury. “He’s got a big, big future ahead of him,” Fecci said.
The Bulldogs face Wylie on Friday in a game that will likely help decide that final playoff spot behind Lovejoy, Sherman and Wylie East. Along with North and Wylie, Denison and Royse City are log-jammed with 1-2 district records.
Wylie picked up its first victory last week, a 50-7 drubbing of winless Greenville.
In that one, Wylie’s 1,000-yard passer Carson Cook threw three TDs and TK Rockwell returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown.
“You can look at their record, they’re 1-5,” Fecci said, “but they’re very similar to us in that they played really good people in preseason.
“It’s a big game for us, it really is. And it’s a big game for them.”
Prediction: North squeezes by, 24-20, positioning itself for post-season play.
The Ol’ Prognosticator’s record moves to 14-4 (.777) after last week’s 2-1 result.
District 10-5A Standings:
- Allen 5-1, 1-0
- McKinney Boyd 4-2, 1-0
- Plano 4-2, 1-0
- McKinney 4-2, 0-1
- Plano East 4-1, 0-1
- Plano West 3-3, 0-1
District 13-4A Standings:
- Lovejoy 6-0, 3-0
- Sherman 5-1, 3-0
- Wylie East 4-2, 2-1
- McKinney North 1-5, 1-2
- Denison 1-5, 1-2
- Wylie 1-5, 1-2
- Royse City 1-5, 1-2
- Greenville 0-6, 0-3
- McKinney High School vs. Plano East: Thursday, Oct. 18, 7 p.m., at McKinney’s Ron Poe Stadium
- McKinney North vs. Wylie: Friday, Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m., at McKinney’s Ron Poe Stadium
- McKinney Boyd at Plano: Friday, Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m.
Above: McKinney Boyd quarterback Curtis Ladd (No. 3) prepares to hand off during drills this week.
McKinney North receiver KJ Bualicex (No. 14) works against defender Taylor Jones at practice this week.