Everyone knows about Bryan Driskell.
McKinney Boyd’s junior running back has been mentioned dozens of times in every local sports publication, including this one. And for good reason. As a sophomore, Driskell led the Broncos rushing attack and helped Boyd to a district title and bi-district playoff win. Now, he’s back for his second varsity season and the best part is he’s not alone.
Meet junior Kalvon Howard.
During spring football, Howard emerged as a varsity running back prospect and impressed his coaches in practice as well as in the spring game. At the end of two-a-days, the Broncos traveled to Lake Dallas for one final tune-up scrimmage before the start of the 2011 season. The Broncos went on to win the two-quarter scrimmage and head coach Don Drake said he was pleased with the way Howard played in his first live competition on the varsity.
One week later, McKinney Boyd opened up the season with a 42-10 blowout win over McKinney North. The night belonged to Driskell, who scored the first five touchdowns of the night and was named player of the game. Boyd’s final score of the game was a 60-yard scamper from Howard that put the finishing touches on an impressive opening night of Broncos football. The touchdown was the first of Howard’s varsity career and he was visibly excited as he made his way back to the sidelines.
Overall, Howard’s spectacular touchdown run may have been overshadowed by Driskell’s dominant performance but Boyd coaches and fans were still able to see a glimpse of what the young man is capable of on the varsity level.
“Kalvon has really come on strong,” Drake said. “I’m excited about him.”
Coming into the season, the Broncos knew that Driskell would once again play a big role in the running game but without speedy quarterback Jonovan Griffin in the backfield with him, Driskell’s load was about to get that much heavier. It was important for Boyd to find another quality running back to take the pressure of off Driskell’s shoulders and it looks live they’ve found that player in Howard.
“The running game is a big part of what we do so having another kid that can help with those carries is going to be important throughout the season,” Drake said.
Driskell finished the night with 29 carries for 167 yards, while Howard ran the ball just eight times for 77 yards.
“I wanted Bryan to get as many touches as he got the other night because he has to get accustomed to handling the football that many times.”
In this week’s game against Flower Mound, Drake suggested that we might see more of Howard earlier in the game because of how quickly he’s coming along on the varsity.
The Broncos offense will need all the help it can get if it plans to go toe-to-toe with a Flower Mound squad that featured the No. 1 offense in Class 5A last fall. This season, senior Marshall Williams has taken over the quarterback duties for Flower Mound. Williams is a 6-foot-5, 195-pound senior who runs a 4.7 40-yard dash and is receiving interest from a number of Division-I college programs such as LSU, Purdue, and Texas. In the Jaguars’ 42-41 loss to Jesuit last Friday, Williams put on a clinic, throwing for over 500 yards and four touchdowns and rushing for two more.
“They’re very explosive offensively, like they always are,” Drake said. “They always seem to have a quarterback that can deliver a ball, receivers who can go up and catch it, and a big offensive line that can protect.”
In 2010, the Broncos traveled to Flower Mound to face the Jaguars for the first time in school history and the result was less than ideal. The Boyd defense gave up 40 points (its highest total of the regular season) and almost 600 yards of total offense in the loss. When the night was over, the Broncos had to endure a long bus ride home with thoughts of missed opportunities in a game that they felt could have easily gone their way.
“We were pretty unhappy leaving that game because we felt we had the opportunities to make plays that we just didn’t make,” Drake said. “We’ve got to go make those plays this week.”
The key to the game for the Broncos will be controlling and eating the clock in order to limit the possessions of Flower Mound’s offense. It’s pretty much a given that the Jaguars are talented enough to score every time they have the football so the less they have the football, the better the night will go for Boyd. Driskell was able to put the team on his back with ease against North last week but a week two victory won’t come easy so expect Howard, and whichever quarterback is in the backfield, to play a much larger role in the running game.
-Joe Arriola, TownSquareBuzz.com