DENTON — McKinney North’s record-setting season ended Friday at Apogee Stadium with a 64-40 loss to Tyler John Tyler’s Lions in the Class 5A Division I Region II finals. A potent Lions offense, led by quarterback Geovari McCollister and running back Jeremy Wilson, rolled up 715 total yards en route to victory.
McCollister threw for 361 yards and five touchdowns and rushed for 113 yards and another score. Wilson rushed for game-high 227 yards on 31 carries, with three TDs. The Lions’ Damion Miller led all receivers with 131 yards on three catches, including two for touchdowns.
John Tyler jumped out to a 20-0 first-quarter lead and the Bulldogs, though they battled mightily, never recovered. Putting up a healthy 474 yards of offense itself, North would never draw any closer than two touchdowns of the Lions after the Lions’ initial TD blitz.
North’s Anthony Grogan (3) and Taylor Jones (31) defend against a Lions receiver Friday.
When it was over, for the Bulldogs, this night was about savoring a fourth-round playoff run – the deepest in school history; 11 wins – the most in a season in school history; and looking forward to next year.
“I’m really proud of them,” North head coach Mike Fecci said of his team. “I know it didn’t work out tonight, but 11-3, state quarterfinalists – the bar has been set. A new standard has been raised and hats off to our seniors. What a phenomenal group of men. … The young guys have had a great group of guys to look up to.”
Fecci said he most appreciated seeing the Bulldogs keep fighting till the end, though down by three and four touchdowns most of the way. “A lot of teams come out here and are down like that and lay down,” he said. “But they didn’t. That’s a true showing of what kind of kids we have in this program.”
“They didn’t make to the fourth round just because they were lucky,” John Tyler head coach Ricklan Holmes said of North. “That’s a good team.” When asked about his offensive standouts, McCollister and Wilson, Holmes replied, “Senior leadership, heart.” He added, “They kept the offense driving, they kept it together and they put up a lot of points. Our defense didn’t play very well, but our offense played well enough to cover [North] and for us to win this game.”
In his final appearance for North, Ronald Jones finds a crease Friday. Jones rushed for 188 yards and two touchdowns in this Class 5A state quarterfinal battle with Tyler John Tyler.
Running back Ronald Jones, in his final appearance in Bulldog blue-and-orange, rushed for 188 yards on 20 carries with two touchdowns. Quarterback Nick Hutchins, also in his last game for North, threw for 228 yards and rushed for 59 yards, with three touchdowns. Brennan Harris led Bulldog receivers with 56 yards on two catches and senior Gabe Constantine collected four catches for 45 yards.
John Tyler opened the game with a 75-yard, eight-play scoring drive, ending with Wilson’s 33-yard sprint to pay dirt. The Lions’ second possession lasted just three plays, with McCollister connecting with Miller for an 83-yard touchdown strike. The third time the Lions had the ball they traveled 80 yards in eight plays for another TD, a 20-yarder by Wilson.
In the second quarter, North’s first score was set up when junior defensive tackle Justin Madubuike blocked a Lions punt near midfield. Three plays later, Jones romped in for a touchdown from 28-yards out and the Bulldogs trailed, 20-7. The Lions responded with a 10-play, 76-yard drive, capped by a Wilson 41-yard TD scamper.
North came back with a touchdown drive, sparked by a 35-yard Hutchins-to-Jones pass and Jones’ 34-yard dash to the John Tyler 1. Hutchins scored two plays later and the Lions’ advantage was trimmed to 27-14. But two quick McCollister TD passes would dampen the Bulldogs’ momentum.
Jones burst 74 yards for a touchdown seconds before halftime to cut the Lions’ advantage to 41-19 at the break.
Bulldog Justin Madubuike (15) strips the ball in John Tyler’s end zone before recovering the fumble for a touchdown. Closing in for North are McShane Wyatt (41), Khalil Lewis (43) and Damarcus Porch (37).
Madubuike’s fumble recovery in John Tyler’s end zone midway through the third quarter, with Hutchins’ 2-point conversion pass to Constantine, drew the Bulldogs to within 48-27 – but they’d get no closer.
“John Tyler is great team,” Madubuike said. “It was a blessing [to play them.] It got me better. It’s just a great feeling to even come this far. It doesn’t happen to everybody. … We worked day-in, day-out, two-a-days in the summer, and it all came down to this. I’m glad that our seniors have led us in the right way. The bar has been set, so next year we’re going to come out with some flames.”
Said senior cornerback Taylor Jones, “We had high expectations this year, but, still, coming into every game, we were doubted. … To go four rounds deep, it’s something that’s never been done here. It’s special. I love this group of seniors.” He added, “We knew coming in [the Lions] were going to be tough. We put it all out there, but it just didn’t work out.”
Constantine said he’s thankful for his teammates. “It’s been an awesome ride. I can’t believe it’s over, but we made history so we can’t complain about that. Every senior dreams of going out with a bang and that’s what we did.”
John Tyler (12-2) will face Aledo (13-1) at 2 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 13) in the state semifinals at Mesquite’s E.H. Hanby Stadium.
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 two seasons.
Go to the next page for the scoring summary from the game.
|McKinney North (MN)||0||19||14||7||— 40|
|Tyler John Tyler (JT)||20||21||20||3||— 64|
JT – Jeremy Wilson 33 run (Luis Duran kick), 10:29
JT – Damion Miller 83 pass from Geovari McCollister (kick failed), 8:20
JT – Jeremy Wilson 20 run (Luis Duran kick), 2:53
MN – Ronald Jones 28 run (Chase Carraher kick), 9:39
JT – Jeremy Wilson 41 run (Luis Duran kick), 7:43
MN – Nick Hutchins 2 run (kick failed), 4:37
JT – Rodney Bendy 19 pass from Geovari McCollister (Luis Duran kick), 2:51
JT – Nicholas Cain 37 pass from Geovari McCollister (Luis Duran kick), 0:56
MN – Ronald Jones 73 run (kick failed), 0:08
JT – Geovari McCollister 29 run (Luis Duran kick), 8:15
MN – Justin Madubuike fumble recovery in end zone (Gabe Constantine pass from Nick Hutchins), 6:14
JT – Bryson Smith 9 pass from Geovari McCollister (kick failed), 2:57
MN – Nick Hutchins 17 run (kick failed), 2:10
JT – Damion Miller 39 pass from Geovari McCollister (Luis Duran kick), 1:12 61-33
MN – Nick Hutchins 1 run (Sam Ashun kick), 9:09
JT – Luis Duran 40 FG, 6:49
Rushing – MN: Ronald Jones 20-188, Nick Hutchins 19-59, Micah Baulicex 1-(-1). JT: Jeremy Wilson 31-227, Geovari McCollister 13-113, Nicholas Cain 3-15.
Passing – MN: Nick Hutchins 12-22-1-228. JT: Geovari McCollister 16-24-0-361
Receiving – MN: Brennan Harris 2-56, Gabe Constantine 4-45, Ronald Jones 2-48, Miguel Hudson 2-36, JoMarr Davis 2-43. JT: Jeremy Wilson 3-48, Bryson Smith 2-36, Damion Miller 3-131, Nicholas Cain 2-49, Rodney Bendy 4-72, Duntayviun Gross 2-35.