The non-district schedule comes to a close for our three McKinney schools this week. The first two weeks of varsity football action have been exciting and this week promises to be the best yet. We have McKinney North hitting the road for the first time this season to take on Denton. Also, you might want to get to Ron Poe Stadium early this Friday when McKinney High plays its first home game of the year against McKinney Boyd. Let’s take a look at 9 Burning Questions Heading Into Week Three.
1. How Will North’s Performance Against Denton Compare To The Lions’ Performance Against Denton?
-On Oct. 14, North and MHS will face off in one of the most important district contests of the year. The Lions and Bulldogs will play two common opponents before that game, the second is Rockwall-Heath and the first is Denton High. The Lions defeated the Broncos in a four-quarter scrimmage one week before the start of the season by a final score of 44-20. This Friday night we get a chance to see how the Bulldogs will handle the Broncos on the road and the result could be an indicator of how close these two rival teams are this season.
2. Who Will Start At QB For Boyd?
-The McKinney Boyd quarterback saga continues. In week one, Russel Williams got the start against North and throughout the night we saw both Curtis Ladd and Tyler Phelps in the huddle. In week two, Ladd was the starter for the Broncos against Flower Mound and he stayed in the game the entire night despite throwing three interceptions and fumbling the ball three times. The night wasn’t all bad for the young sophomore, however. Even with junior Bryan Driskell rushing for 73 yards and two touchdowns, Ladd was still Boyd’s leading rusher overall with 122 yards and one touchdown run. So the question is who will start for the Broncos this week against McKinney High? Some people are saying that veteran Tyler Phelps deserves a shot given his performances late last season and in the playoffs. Another theory is that Ladd needs to play because he’s the Broncos’ best chance to win this fall. So where does that leave Williams? I guess we’ll find out Friday night.
3. Will Underdog MHS Play It Safe Versus Boyd?
-Two weeks ago, McKinney North was set to face off against Boyd in its season opener. The Dawgs embraced their role as the underdog and many expected them to go for it all against the Broncos. Early in the game, however, it was clear that North wasn’t going to take too many chances as it settled for a 21-yard field goal following an interception on the game’s opening drive. North’s game plan versus Boyd pretty much went as everyone expected and unfortunately so did the result of the game. So now it’s the Lions turn to play the underdog role. Will they play like a team with nothing to lose or try to keep the game close and hope they can pull it out in the fourth quarter?
4. When, If Ever, Will We See Brylen Williams On Offense?
-Brylen Williams is an amazing kick returner. If you didn’t see the highlights from last week’s game, do yourself a favor and watch the video from the bottom of the screen. The Bulldogs’ former quarterback turned defensive back is a scoring threat any time the ball is in his hands, which begs the question – when will we see him on offense again? I doubt it will happen this Friday or in the opening week of district play but I think it will happen eventually. I just hope North doesn’t wait until its season is on the line.
5. Is MHS Going To Kickoff To Bryan Driskell?
-Nobody should ever kickoff to Bryan Driskell. McKinney High learned this lesson the hard way last season and lets hope the Lions wont ever make that mistake again. MHS would be better off kicking squibs all night than letting #5 burn them for 96 yards like he did against Flower Mound.
6. Can The Broncos Play Four Quarters Without Turning The Ball Over?
-Don Drake has been talking to his team for weeks in practice about the importance of not turning the ball over but for some reason the Broncos haven’t been able to hang onto the football on game day. Boyd turned the ball over twice in week one and a whopping six times in week two. The good news if you’re a Boyd fan is that your team was still in the game with a tough Flower Mound squad despite those turnovers.
7. Will McKinney High’s Run Defense Step Up?
-The Lions defense surrendered 306 yards on the ground in a 54-33 loss to The Colony. Two weeks ago against Frisco, MHS gave up 436 total yards rushing in a 39-26 loss. Two games. Two losses. Two terrible nights of run defense. So far this season, Boyd’s passing game hasn’t done a whole lot of damage. The area where the Broncos are strongest is the running game. No surprise there. Not only is Bryan Driskell in the backfield but also he has a solid backup in Kalvon Howard and if the Broncos start Curtis Ladd, the Lions will have to deal with a QB who rushed for 122 yards last week.
8. Was Devin Smith’s Injury A Blessing In Disguise?
-You never want to see a player like Devin Smith go down with an injury before the start of his senior year. Devin has given a lot to the North football program over the last three years and it’s a shame to see #22 watching from the sidelines. However, if he’s able to return for the start of district play, North may be able to take on 10-5A with three solid running backs in the backfield. Both Selwyn Smith and Devin’s younger brother, Trey Smith, played great against Bryan Adams in week two. This week, the duo will take on a Denton defense that plays with a lot of intensity. Both players have gained a lot of varsity experience over the past two weeks and Friday is the final test before North plays Wylie East on Sept. 23.
9. Can Boyd’s Defense Pitch A Shutout For The Second Time In School History?
-McKinney Boyd defeated Sachse last season, 28-0, for its first shutout in school history. The Broncos may have given up 44 points last week but you have to consider they were facing one of the best offenses in Class 5A and the offense turning the ball over six times certainly didn’t help. Overall, the Broncos defense played great all night with the exception of a few plays. More importantly, they played with a hard-nosed, ballhawking intensity that made them a feared defense in 2010. I’ll probably change my mind by the time I post my Friday Night Football Picks but I could certainly see this defense rebounding from last week’s disappointing loss by shutting out the Lions. The Broncos are going into this game looking to make a statement heading into district play and a shutout would certainly do the job.
-Joe Arriola, TownSquareBuzz.com