Heading into the 2013 season, McKinney High School head coach Jeff Smith said the Lions were ready to prove something this year — their second year back in 5A football.
That plan, however, took a backseat in McKinney’s opener Friday night at Ron Poe Stadium, as the Lions lost to Mansfield Legacy 38-28.
“They were better than us tonight…give them credit,” Smith said.
The Lions were torched on the ground Friday night, as the Broncos rushed for 301 yards en route to the win. Senior running back Kijana Amous led the way offensively for Mansfield Legacy with 115 yards and five touchdowns.
Smith said Mansfield did a great job of hitting running lanes early in the second half, while pushing McKinney defenders out their lanes. Smith noted, however, that his squad made adjustments and played better in the second half.
“We need to tackle better…I thought there were some good signs,” Smith said of his defense’s effort against the run Friday night.
Amous wasn’t the only Bronco to run through the Lion defense, as he was joined by senior quarterback Terrance Ivery and senior running back Kenton Mayberry who combined to rushed for 166 yards.
McKinney’s defense did a good job defending the pass Friday night, allowing 91 yards in the air.
Despite the loss, Smith said he was pleased with how his players performed, noting many of his players have never played on Friday nights.
Smith said he was pleased the most with how the offense performed, especially the play of his young signal callers — junior Bryan Sutter and sophomore Tyree Johnson.
He said both passers bring a different set of talents to the table, and noted Sutter made some big plays in the air, but added there were “some things” he’d like to have back.
“We got to take the good with the bad and teach them,” Smith said.
Sutter completed 11 of 21 passes for 210 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions, including one in the final minute with McKinney attempting to drive down the field.
Two of Sutter’s biggest plays on the night were when connected with junior receiver Marcus Cross and senior receiver TV Williams, both of which resulted in touchdowns.
Sutter connected with Cross for a 56-yard bomb in the second quarter, and a 44-yard strike to Williams, a University of Kentucky commitment, after halftime.
The Lions also received strong play on the ground Friday night, gaining 158 yards on 30 rushes. Johnson led MHS with 72 yards rushing.
Smith said overall the offense moved the ball well, especially in the second half, but numerous times during the game failed to finish drives, including throwing points away in third quarter when Johnson fumbled the ball on the one-yard line going in for a score.
The ball rolled out the back of the end zone, resulting in a change of possession.
Smith said he was proud of his team’s effort and will convene with coaches and players with the objective being to study, win and “get back on track.”
The game was a back-and-forth affair early on, with Legacy taking an early 18-8 lead. The Broncos would extend the advantage, leading 25-15 going into halftime.
Whenever the Lions seemed to have momentum going in their favor, the veteran Mansfield squad was able to halt McKinney in its tracks, answering a third quarter touchdown of their own to extend their lead to 31-22. The Broncos would add another 10 seconds into the fourth quarter to secure the 38-28 lead.
The Lions will return to the gridiron Sep. 5 when they take on Frisco Heritage at Pizza Hut Park. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Photos by TSB’s Sawyer Erickson