Friday , 25 May 2018

Mike Albanese: One McKinney Football Team? Now That’s a Talented Fantasy

Imagine, if you would …

Eagle Stadium in Allen is rocking on a cold October night.

McKinney High School’s football team stands at the 40-yard line with less than 10 seconds left in the ballgame – a game that would decide 1st place in the district.

mike albanese column mugQuarterback Curtis Ladd drops back in the pocket and rolls out to his right. Running back Ronald Jones sprints down the left sideline, while receiver TV Williams streaks down the middle of the field.

Ladd uncorks a spiral that eludes the outstretch arm of an Allen defender, falling perfectly into Williams’ hands to secure the 45-40 victory over Allen for McKinney High School.

Yes, I know Ladd plays for McKinney Boyd … and Jones plays for McKinney North … and Williams plays for McKinney High. … But if only, right?

Three high school football teams already split the talent in McKinney. And much has been talked about concerning rezoning efforts by the McKinney Independent School District with chatter of a fourth and possibly fifth high school in the not-so-distant future.

From an athletics stand point, McKinney is poised to become a mirror image of Frisco, which currently has seven high schools, and a far cry from the conglomerate of Allen High School — one city, one school, one powerful football team and athletics department.

And with the University Interscholastic League announcing conference cutoffs Monday, I thought it would be fun to imagine McKinney with one, and only one, high school – McKinney High School.

All the talent from McKinney North, McKinney Boyd and McKinney High, together on one football field, wearing the same uniform under one name.

In this little endeavor, I will be having a fantasy draft so to speak, creating an All-Star team made up of the best MISD has to offer.

The rules for this are simple. All players from the 2013 season are eligible, and I will select a coaching staff, defensive unit, offensive line and individual skill positions.

So, here we go…

Head coach – Mike Fecci and the McKinney North coaching staff

QB – Curtis Ladd (McKinney Boyd)

HB – Ronald Jones (McKinney North)

Receivers –

TV Williams (McKinney High)

Dalon Willis (McKinney High)

Tre Sanders (McKinney North)

Offensive Line – McKinney North

Defense – McKinney Boyd

Now, let’s examine.

opinionDespite the youth on North’s roster and the influx of new coordinators, Fecci and his staff were able to bring out the best in all their players. Fecci and defensive coordinator Joe Welock worked their magic with a defense that returned one starter, while Kyle Hardin led a dynamic offense with Jones and Ben Dutze under center.

North finished the 2013 regular season 6-4, claiming a share of the 13-4A District Title – one year after finishing the 2012 season 3-7. The Bulldogs would defeat Texas High 26-14 in the Bi-District Round before falling to Mansfield Legacy 70-45 in the Area Round.

The decision to put Ladd under center was not an easy one, as Dutze finished the season strong, carrying that success into the postseason. But Ladd helped lead Boyd to a 6-4 overall record and the No. 2 seed in District 10-5A, defeating Richardson Pearce 24-9 in the Bi-District Round, before falling to a powerful Longview squad 27-10 in the Area Round.

Ladd threw for 1,760 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season.

Although Ladd had a shifty and explosive runner in the backfield this season in Dedrick Scrivens, Jones brings a different dimension to an offense. His blend of blazing speed with strength and agility (not to mention he rushed for 2,406 yards and 39 touchdowns) would be a dynamic option out of the backfield when paired with Ladd’s ability in the passing game.

Ladd would be flanked by three solid receivers – Willis, Williams and Sanders.

Sanders, who led North with 743 receiving yards, caught three touchdowns on the season, but at 6 feet 2, he would be a difference maker in the red zone. Sanders’ most productive came against Wylie East Nov. 1, grabbing five passes for 146 yards in a 42-39 victory.

Williams would be the speed threat on the outside, stretching the field vertically to give Ladd and his receivers options underneath.

Williams, who will be attending the University of Kentucky in the fall, missed two games this season with a knee injury but still managed to have 30 receptions for 454 yards and five scores. Across the field from Williams would be his MHS teammate Willis, whose size and speed be a nightmare in the slot against linebackers.

Willis finished second on McKinney behind Williams with 378 receiving yards and 36 catches. Willis’ best performance was in a heartbreaking 38-20 loss to Plano West Oct. 24, where he caught 8 passes for 114 yards.

Now, down in the mud, I’ll take the offensive line from North to protect Ladd and clear running lanes for Jones – a feat they did pretty well all season.

On the defensive side of the ball, I’ll take Boyd’s defense, who improved each week and became the No. 1 rushing defense in Boyd history by season’s end. Despite struggling early in the season, the Broncos, led by linebackers Adam Brown and Ross Matiscik, shut down running games and were impressive against Plano West and Pearce in the Bi-District Round of the 5A playoffs.

Now, this list is not to cause any disrespect to any players or coaches not named on the list. This was clearly just a fantasy draft and a fun look at what McKinney football would like if there was one high school.

Obviously North, Boyd and McKinney are filled with talented athletes and coaches, and each do their job and got the most out of their programs this season.

But with re-zoning efforts and re-alignment coming in the near future, what does the future hold for McKinney football?

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