MISD’s three squads suffered setbacks over the weekend for the first time in the current campaign. McKinney Boyd ran into rushing buzz-saw Soso Jamabo of Plano West, McKinney North lost an early three-TD lead over Wylie East and McKinney came up short at Wylie. (In an early “fearless prediction” this week, your humble scribe assures this trifecta won’t happen again this season.)
Featured this week are top receivers Brandon Bowling of Boyd, Kirvin Parks of North and Cameron Calhoun of McKinney.
Let the rebound begin!
McKINNEY HIGH LIONS
Though Wylie outdid McKinney in total yards Friday – 530 to 215 – the Lions absolutely had chances to take this one. After safety Donnie Porter’s scoop-and-score touchdown off a fumbled Pirates punt in the third quarter, McKinney led, 17-13, and that “W” looked promising.
Cameron Calhoun (left) has 10 catches for 100 yards to lead McKinney High receivers.
But Wylie (2-2, 1-0), led by quarterback Carsen Cook, responded with two unanswered TDs and then held on for the 27-24 win. “Our kids believed we could win and we had a chance,” McKinney head coach Jeff Smith says.
Winning the turnover battle, 5-3, indeed factored big in the Lions’ district-opener performance. Besides Porter, cornerback Myron Robinson and defensive end Cameron Calhoun recovered fumbles for McKinney (1-3, 0-1), and Robinson and twin brother Byron, at the other corner, each nabbed Wylie passes. “We gave up some yards,” Smith says, “but at the end of the day, we want that scoreboard to go our way, and to hold the point-total down as much as we can. So I thought we played pretty well.”
Tied, 3-3, after one quarter, McKinney took a 10-3 lead in the second on Brian Sutter’s 30-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Robinson. Smith notes the Lions ran the ball early for a reason. “That set up play-action [passing],” he says. “Kyle was able to get by the defender and Brian threw a good ball to him.”
Robinson also kicked the 21-yard field goal for the Lions’ first points and his TD-catch extra point. “It’s funny,” Smith says. “You look up and Kyle scored all 10 [of our] points in the first half. Kyle did a great job for us.”
Wylie retook the lead, 13-10, by halftime with a 20-yard Eli Smith TD run and another field goal. After Porter’s big play and Wylie’s two-score reply, Antonio Oliver’s 1-yard TD for the Lions ended the night’s scoring.
Calhoun, a junior, also plays slot receiver where he leads the Lions with 100 yards on 10 catches. “We played our hearts out,” he says of the loss, “and a few little mistakes added up. That’s what beat us.” Calhoun says he doesn’t prefer offense over defense or vice versa. “I just want to be on the field and play – and show what the coaches taught me to do.”
He says the offense has adjusted to not having the injured Tyree Johnson alternate at times with Sutter. “The first three games,” he says, “it was weird not having Tyree in every now and then. But we’re getting used to it and picking it up. It’s been good. … We’ve lost some key players, but I think we’re going to band together and get stronger as we go along.”
McKinney gets Denison (2-2, 0-1) at home Friday, a team coming off a 55-42 loss to Lovejoy. The game was closer than it sounds, as the Jackets and Leopards split nearly 1,000 yards of total offense before Lovejoy pulled away late.
Denison quarterback Devon Blanton threw for 255 yards and three touchdowns, while roaming for 135 yards and another score by ground. “He’s special,” Smith says. “He’s really their key, like last week with the Wylie quarterback. Blanton is definitely the guy that makes it all run for Denison. We’ve got to do a good job of corralling him.”
Blanton’s top receiving target last week was Steven Wagoner, with seven catches for 80 yards.
Smith says Denison is “very multiple,” showing numerous formations, offensively and defensively. “But if we play like we did last week, as far as effort,” he says, “and execute what we’re asking them to do, we feel like we’re going to be fine.”
McKinney last played Denison in 2009, the year before Smith arrived as Lions head coach. Both schools surely remember that one – Denison 75, McKinney 37 – as the Jackets set a school-record for points in a game.
McKINNEY BOYD BRONCOS
There’s not much left to say that hasn’t been said about Plano West’s Soso Jamabo, who racked up seven touchdowns and 240 yards in Friday’s 62-30 win over Boyd. “I’ve always thought he was a very talented player,” Boyd head coach Don Drake says when queried for new insight. “He made some great plays. I don’t guess there’s anything ‘new’ about him. I’ve felt that way about him all along. I obviously hoped that we’d do a better job of containing him.”
Brandon Bowling is Boyd’s leading receiver with 22 catches for 248 yards.
Leading 21-7 after one quarter, Jamabo and the Wolves doubled-up by halftime, 42-14. Boyd’s Dedrick Scrivens was held to a season-low 65 yards rushing this night and his 20 carries were also a season-low. Drake credits Plano West’s defense, but adds that some of that was due to Boyd shifting to throwing as the Wolves hit overdrive in the second quarter.
“Particularly, late in the first half and, obviously, in the second half our plan had to change,” he says, “because we had to try to create some big plays to try to get ourselves back into the game. … That’s one reason those numbers, at least the number of carries, aren’t what they typically are. But you’ve got to give credit to Plano West’s defense. They were lined up to stop the run. They had a great plan and did a good job executing it.”
Boyd quarterback Grant Restmeyer threw for a career-high 308 yards and three touchdowns, with no interceptions. Brandon Bowling collected five of Restmeyer’s 12 completions for a game-high 113 yards and one score. Stephen Driskell and Jacob Cantrell grabbed the other two TDs.
“I was pretty pleased with how Grant threw the football,” Drake says. “I think that’s something that’s becoming a pattern. … I think he shows a lot of poise in the pocket, in terms of standing in there, delivering the football.”
Bowling, a junior, is the Broncos’ leading receiver after five games, with 22 catches for 247 yards and two TDs. “I like the way [Restmeyer] reads defenses,” he says. “I’m really good friends with him, so we have a good connection. I guess it just kind of works out. He throws a really nice ball.” Bowling also plays safety and running back, and returns kickoffs and punts
So what did the team talk about, down 42-14 at halftime? “We just talked about not quitting,” Bowling says. “We’ve been in that situation before, but we just knew: never quit.”
Up next for Boyd is Plano East (1-3, 1-1), on the road. The Panthers had a bye week after losing to Plano West, 42-7, on Sept. 19. Plano East’s lone win came in its district opener against Flower Mound, 27-24.
Jaquawan Douglas, the Panthers’ leading rusher, is closing in on 400 yards for the season and has five touchdowns. Two quarterbacks have seen action for Plano East, Miles Thompson and Miklo Smalls, and both tend to run more than pass. The sophomore Smalls, though, injured his throwing hand against Plano West and, according to the Plano Star-Courier, has had surgery and will miss Friday’s game.
Boyd faced Thompson at quarterback last year in a game the Broncos won, 28-10. Drake says, besides being a running threat, “[Thompson] throws a pretty good football.”
Defensively, Plano East boasts three linebackers with Division I offers to play college ball: Landis Durham (also a defensive end), Anthony Hines and Austin Corbett. “They’re a talented group, defensively,” Drake says. “And Plano East, traditionally, has a talented skill group, offensively.”
“It’s a big one,” Bowling says of the match-up. “It will definitely be one we need to reach that second spot in district.” He adds, “I think we play better on the road than we do at home. We look forward to it.”
McKINNEY NORTH BULLDOGS
If a game can look “over” in the first half, this one did Thursday: McKinney North 28, Wylie East 7 – with Ronald Jones running wild, having scored all four Bulldog TDs. And those games, perhaps, are also the toughest to lose, as North eventually did, 49-46.
Kirvin Parks leads North receivers with 12 catches for 247 yards.
Jones added two more TDs in the second half en route to a monstrous 393 yards rushing but the Bulldogs (3-1, 0-1) – who’ve started fast all season and weathered the rallies – couldn’t fight off the Raiders. Wylie East (2-2, 1-0), behind Eno Benjamin’s five touchdowns and 228 yards rushing, big plays from quarterback Braden Shewmake and some key opportunities, won the next two quarters, 13-9 and 22-9, to claim a top spot District 10-5A.
Bulldogs head coach Mike Fecci says his team wasn’t completely over the loss at Monday’s practice. “There was a little bit of a hangover from it, to be honest with you,” he says. “That’s a tough one because they know, number one, the importance of those games. They know those district games are like gold.”
“But,” Fecci emphasizes, “we’ve got to use that as a learning deal for us. We’ve got to go finish. We haven’t been in that position very much this year. We’ve got to respond better than that.”
The killer for North may have been a fourth-quarter 85-yard fumble return for a touchdown that gave Wylie East its first lead, 41-37, as North was driving to take another 10-point lead. Fecci agrees that was a “kick in the gut” and notes other decisive plays, including: a Raiders 3rd-and-long screen pass that went 48 yards for the eventual game-winning touchdown; a Prosper interception just before halftime; and a failed Bulldogs 4th-and-short try from the Raiders’ 30-yard-line, late.
On the night, North lost two fumbles and an interception, while Wylie East allowed two interceptions – to Bulldogs Taylor Jones and McShane Wyatt.
Wylie East’s comeback started with a 60-yard touchdown pass by Shewmake before halftime, and continued with two Benjamin TD runs in the third quarter. Jones’ scores kept the Raiders at bay for at time.
The Bulldogs get back to work Monday after a tough loss to Wylie East.
North’s top receiver, senior Kirvin Parks, collected three catches for 55 yards Friday and, for the season, has 12 catches for 248 yards, with four TDs. Wylie East, he says, is “probably the best team that we’ve played so far,” adding, “Once you know that you should’ve had [a win] from the beginning and it comes down to the last few minutes, and then you lose it like that, it really does hurt. ... What we’re going to do now – and it’s not just for the upcoming game, we have to focus on it for the rest of the season – is finish.”
A crucial road trip to Prosper looms Friday for the Bulldogs. The Eagles (2-2, 1-0) ripped winless Sherman, 34-7, last week with quarterback Justin Kiedinger tossing three TD passes in the rout.
Though Prosper suffered a 3-7 2013 campaign and lost beaucoup seniors, they’re still plenty dangerous. The Eagles topped North last year, 59-48. “Prosper,” Fecci says, “is one of those teams that’s got a lot of tradition, a lot of guys that are used to winning games and guys that don’t ever give up. … Their place is a tough place to go play. It’s a small stadium, it’s packed with people and it’s a neat atmosphere. But we’ve got to rise to the challenge and go out and get it done.”
Says Parks, “We’re still kind of mad about [the loss], but we’re going to get it together this Friday. It’s in the past now.”
Friday, Oct. 3
McKinney vs. Denison, 7:30 p.m., at Ron Poe Stadium
McKinney Boyd at Plano East, 7:30 p.m.
McKinney North at Prosper, 7:30 p.m.
FEARLESS (AND WORTHLESS) PREDICTIONS
(Last week: 1-2; Season: 7-6)
McKinney 23, Denison 20
(The friendly confines of Ron Poe Stadium are the difference.)
McKinney Boyd 34, Plano East 21
(Boyd’s passing game, with a nice Dedrick rebound, spells w-i-n.)
McKinney North 42, Prosper 31
(The Bulldogs benefit from a week’s worth of “finishing” school.)