McKinney High School
One thing’s for sure of late: McKinney opponents had best be ready to play when the second half starts.
The Lions (4-0) have outscored opponents 42-6 in the third quarters of their last two games, including last Friday’s 41-18 defeat of North Garland.
What’s up with that, Coach?
“I don’t know,” said McKinney head coach Jeff Smith this week. “It’s a good thing. … We’ve been very pleased with that third-quarter output, for sure -- on both sides of the ball.”
One third-stanza score at North Garland was a fumble-return touchdown by linebacker Jontrell Rocquemore.
“Obviously,” he said, “when you make adjustments and talk to the kids at halftime, you want them to respond and come out and play well, and they have so far this year.”
Quarterback Robert Somborn logged another 300-yard passing game, with four TD tosses, and the Lions’ defense shut the door in the second half.
McKinney is averaging just under 46 points per game, “above and beyond” what Smith expected, he said, adding he wouldn’t call it “a surprise,” though.
“We felt like we had a lot of weapons on offense and that we’re capable of putting those kinds of points up.”
Senior receiver Connor Fuentes led McKinney last week with nine catches for 215 yards and two touchdowns. “He’s got great hands and he’s deceptively fast,” Smith said. “Friday night was his night.”
Next up, McKinney hosts Denton Ryan (1-2), which comes off a bye week.
Though favored over Coppell to win District 5-5A by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine, the Raiders have stumbled of late. After a season-opening win over Corsicana, Ryan lost two close games to 4A schools Wichita Falls Rider and Wylie East.
The Raiders’ appearance in McKinney will be its first road game of the year.
“Ryan is very good,” Smith said. “They played in the state championship just a couple of years ago. They’re a great program and Coach [Joey] Florence does a great job.”
Offensively, Smith noted the Raiders’ size up front and their skill players. Offensive tackle Matt Griffin anchors the line at 300 pounds. Trent Willis and Xavier Gray are a dangerous receiving combination. The two lead Ryan with a combined 25 catches for 340 yards.
“They’re going to be the best team that we’ve seen up to this point,” Smith said. “To be successful, we’re going to have to really raise our level.”
This week’s Blue-Plate Special: The Lions win in a barnburner, 37-34.
McKinney North High School
North (0-3) comes off a bye week with its sights set on district play and a new start. The task begins at Sherman (2-1) on Friday against a team also fresh from a week off.
In preparation for Sherman’s venerable (old) Bearcat Stadium, the Bulldogs are practicing this week on grass. “It’s just different,” said North head coach Mike Fecci of grass fields. “Shouldn’t be that much different, but it is.”
Fecci said he’s pleased with the Bulldogs’ work last week. “I thought we had a good bye week. I thought we got a lot of stuff accomplished. We were able to get a little bit of rest, able to kind of lock-in on our grades, and we were able re-focus our minds and get ready for this district run.”
With no game last Friday, Fecci said he and his wife ordered pizza and watched a movie with their kids. “We sat around and ate pizza and watched 'Marmaduke,'” he said. “It was a little bit different, but it was really, really nice.”
When asked what comes to mind when he thinks “Sherman Bearcats,” Fecci had one word – and he said it twice: “Tough.”
“And I mean physically and mentally tough kids,” he said. … That’s their reputation, that’s how they play and it will be a challenge for us.”
In its last outing, Sherman fell to state-ranked Highland Park at home, 35-21, in a game that was closer than it looks. The Scots scored a late touchdown to ice it. Bearcat quarterback Dru Smith threw for over 300 yards to five different receivers against Highland Park, and big-play wideout JT Luper had nine catches for 109 yards.
But the Bearcats’ defense gave up 500 yards of offense to the Scots -- with nearly 400 coming on the ground, which should bode well for Bulldog leading rusher Trey Smith.
Sherman’s wins include high-scoring, tight contests at Little Elm (1-2) and Sulphur Springs (2-2).
The Bearcats were picked second in District 10-4A by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, behind Wylie East.
Prediction: The Bulldogs’ experience against 4A powers Frisco Centennial and Prosper should help, but Sherman’s offense is experienced and effective.
Call it, Bearcats, 42-30.
McKinney Boyd High School
The Broncos (2-2) jumped all over Rockwall last Friday at Ron Poe Stadium – almost before anybody’s popcorn got cold. Boyd led 24-0 after one quarter and 38-0 at halftime on a flurry of knockout punches from all-state running back Bryan Driskell and four nabbed turnovers by the Broncos’ defense.
Boyd defensive back Daylon Markham got things started with an interception, and on the very next play -- the Broncos’ first offensive snap -- Driskell raced 72-yards for a touchdown. Driskell followed that with another touchdown run and a punt-return TD, finishing with 220 rushing yards before halftime.
Driskell’s early-game scoring romps are becoming quite common, suggesting teams just aren’t ready for his speed, his moves, or both. “He’s very, very explosive,” Boyd head coach Don Drake said this week.
“Fortunately, for us the other night, on the first play of the game we fit everybody up like we’re supposed to. … I thought the kids executed that to perfection.”
What does Drake tell his team with a huge halftime lead like that? “That games are made up of four quarters and not two,” he said, “so you’ve got to continue to play.”
In this instance against Rockwall, Drake issued a halftime challenge: “If you’re focused and mentally in the game, then you’ll take this football the first series and you’ll go down and score.”
The Broncos did just that, with a touchdown drive capped by Kalvon Howard’s short run to pay dirt.
Boyd quarterback Curtis Ladd had an efficient night, connecting on 10-of-16 passes for 142 yards and one touchdown. “I thought he played very, very well,” Drake said. “I though his decision-making was very good and, from that position, that’s what you’ve got to have.”
Boyd travels to Lewisville on Friday to face the Farmers (1-3) in the Broncos’ final non-district match-up. Lewisville, picked last in District 5-5A by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, has played close games against Plano and 4A-power Ennis.
The Farmers’ lone win came against Irving, 24-10, and last week they lost big to Arlington (3-0).
Lewisville’s featured running back, DeAndre Brown, managed 100 yards rushing against Arlington, but the Farmers’ defense allowed 350 yards on the ground, foretelling another big game for Driskell this week.
“They’ve played some tight games, been right there,” Drake said of Lewisville. “So I would expect, with us traveling over there and having to play them at home, that they’ll be well-prepared.”
Prediction: The Broncos plow to another win, 45-18.
Your humble predictor’s record improves to 9-2 (.820).
- McKinney vs. Denton Ryan: Friday, Sept. 28, 7:30 p.m., Ron Poe Stadium
- McKinney North at Sherman: Friday, Sept. 28, 7:30 p.m.
- McKinney Boyd at Lewisville: Friday, Sept. 28, 7:30 p.m.
McKinney High: Defensive linemen, from left, Bai Cham, Isaac Luviano, Troy Taylor and Kennan Samuel have their sights on Denton Ryan this week.
McKinney North: The Bulldogs are practicing on grass this week in preparation for Friday's game at Sherman.
McKinney Boyd: All-state running back Bryan Driskell, with ball, looks for running room at practice this week.