McKinney Boyd (1-0) overcame a slow start in the first quarter to cruise to a 42-10 victory over McKinney North (0-1) Friday night at Ron Poe Stadium. The Bulldogs were the clear underdogs and came out with the intensity of a team that wanted to shock the world.
On the Broncos’ first possession, junior quarterback Russel Williams was picked off by North’s Justin DeLeon. The Bulldogs got close to the endzone but the Boyd defense held strong and forced North to settle for a field goal instead. After an Eric Nickason field goal, North led by 3-0 but the thrill of a lead would be short lived as the Broncos would go on to score the next five touchdowns to put the game away.
“I was proud of their effort and focus,” Boyd head coach Don Drake said. “Our kids came out focused and got after it and got the victory like they needed to.”
Junior Bryan Driskell rushed for 167 yards and five scores and was named player of the game.
“He’s talented,” Drake said of the second year starting running back. “We all knew that coming in and I thought he performed well tonight. He’s exciting to watch and I also thought our guys up front played pretty well.”
One of the burning questions heading into this season for the Broncos was who would be replacing former quarterback and current Oklahoma State Cowboy, Jonovan Griffin. For the past three seasons, Griffin was Boyd’s duel threat in the backfield and he left behind big shoes to fill. In the season opener against North, Drake used three different players to fill those very shoes, including junior Russel Williams, sophomore Curtis Ladd, and senior Tyler Phelps.
“I thought they all did some good things,” Drake said. “We’ve got to do some evaluation and get some snaps for all of them and decide by district play who our season starter will be. But I thought they all played pretty composed.”
Williams, who got the start against the Bulldogs, completed three-of-four passes for 26 yards and one interception. Ladd, who had one of the best performances of the Broncos’ spring football game, was five-for-eight passing for 42 yards. Phelps, who filled in for an injured Griffin in the district title game last fall, attempted just one pass and it was completed for five yards.
Overall, it wasn’t really a big passing night for the Broncos, who instead relied more on the running game and got big contributions from Driskell as well as junior Kalvon Howard. With 5:36 remaining in the fourth quarter, Howard scored Boyd’s final touchdown of the game on a 60-yard scamper.
McKinney Boyd’s defense generated a lot of buzz during the offseason and against North; the Broncos demonstrated why they’re one of District 10-5A’s most feared groups. The first quarter was neck-and-neck for both teams but it was just a matter of time before Boyd’s defense took over the game. In the second quarter, Boyd was able to recover two McKinney North fumbles, which were converted into touchdowns.
“The defense, I thought, played outstanding the entire game,” Drake said. “We gave them a short field on the turnover, which contributed to the three points that they got. Then we created some turnovers that helped us build a lead.”
The Broncos’ defense held the Dawgs to a mere 161 yards overall and forced six punts, while allowing just nine first downs compared to Boyd’s 23 first downs.
Earlier in the week, Drake mentioned that the two keys to Friday night’s opener would be the kicking game and turnovers. The Broncos came out on top in both categories.
In addition to the first quarter interception, Boyd had one other turnover against North and it was a third quarter fumble by Phelps, who was tackled in the backfield while attempting to scramble out of trouble. By that time, the Broncos had already sealed the win so the turnover had no effect on the game.
When it came to special teams, senior Cameron Decell was the unanimous MVP as he consistently kicked the ball out of the back of the endzone, forcing the Bulldogs to start every new possession at their own 20-yard line.
“Cameron’s leg is very strong and it’s nice to be able to put them on the 20 every time,” Drake said.
But Decell is more than just a special teams star. He also led the team in receiving with five catches for 44 yards.
“He’s a big weapon for us and we’ve got to get some contribution out of him every week.”
McKinney Boyd plays host to Flower Mound next Friday at 7:30 p.m.
-Joe Arriola, TownSquareBuzz.com