Last year at this time nobody expected the Bulldogs to have a 2-1 record heading into district play. Things are much different for the McKinney North football team this season, as expectations have been raised for the program. For the first time in years everyone expected the Dawgs to head into district with two victories under their belt and after shrugging off a lackluster season opener, they were able to do just that.
Now that the Bulldogs have taken care of business in the non-district season, the playoff race is set to begin this Friday night. Ever since last November’s disappointing season finale loss at Wylie, the Dawgs have been looking for redemption and the only way that can be achieved is by reaching the postseason for the first time since 2006. The quest for the UIL playoffs starts with Wylie East, a second-year program that North was able to beat in 2010.
Many people though the Raiders to be a dangerous district team in 2011 because of the size and athleticism of the sophomores and juniors that took the field last fall. It may be too early to tell what the district future holds for Wylie East but the year is looking bright for the undefeated Raiders as they prepare to host McKinney North.
North This Week
Who: McKinney North (2-1) vs. Wylie East (3-0)
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Wylie ISD Stadium
About the Opponent: The Raiders moved last years’s QB Jesse Brubaker to tight end.
Wylie East Leaders
Passing: Garrett McCain 49-of-85, 659 yards, 6 TD
Rushing: Jabari Anderson 53 carries, 536 yards, 9 TD
Receiving: Marcell Ateman 17 rec, 318 yards, 2 TD
Wylie Season Recap
Week 1: In the Raiders’ first-ever football game, they eked out a 49-46 win over North Forney at home. This August, Wylie East traveled to Forney and blew the doors off of City Bank Stadium with a dominating 45-27 win on the road.
Week 2: Wylie East hit the road again for its second game of the season and the result was a 225-yard rushing performance from Jabari Anderson and a 36-29 victory over Frisco Heritage.
Week 3: The Raiders’ only non-district loss of 2010 was at Trophy Club Byron Nelson. In this year’s rematch, Wylie East cruised past Trophy Club with a 52-21 victory to improve to 3-0.
Fecci’s Take On Wylie East
“They’re very talented offensively – real explosive. They’ve got big offensive linemen and two giant outside receivers that look like identical twins. They’ve got one of the leading backs in the area in Jabari Anderson. You’re going to face a lot of formations and explosiveness. Defensively, they play defense like you would think somebody from Wylie, Texas would play defense and that is full speed downhill. It’s going to be a big test for us.”
The Bulldogs Will Win If…
they establish the running game early. Wylie East is undefeated and has a lot of momentum right now so North needs to control the clock and set the pace of the game by relying on its offensive line to win the battle upfront.
The Raiders Will Win If…
the offense continues to play as well as it did in its first three games. Sounds simple, right. But it’s true. QB Garrett McCain is completing nearly 60 percent of his passes and has zero interceptions while running back Jabari Anderson is averaging 10 yards per carry. If this one turns into a shootout, the Raiders can hold their own so that’s exactly what North needs to avoid.
The Raiders were picked to finish dead last in 10-4A so they will be more fired up than ever because they have an opportunity to prove their critics wrong with a win over North. The Bulldogs will be more focused than we have seen all season long because Friday night marks the first step toward redemption. A loss to Wylie East may be all it takes to knock the Dawgs out of playoff contention. There is a lot at stake for both teams this week but I’m going to have to go with the veteran program – McKinney North. The Dawgs simply want (and need) it more than the Raiders do and overall are a better football team.
Final Score – McKinney North 34, Wylie East 27
-Joe Arriola, TownSquareBuzz.com