By Mike Bruu, TSB Sports Writer
1. If you have followed the sports section on TownSquareBuzz.com over the past year or so, you may have become accustomed to seeing a column I would write called “The Numbers Game.” It was the fake Peter King in me coming to the surface and giving my opinions on multiple national sports issues, as well as sharing new music and television shows. Well, after a year of McKinney athletics knowledge under my belt, I now present you a weekly column which will look and feel like TNG, just with much more focus on the happenings around the Mac. So without further ado, let’s talk some sports.
2. This week’s District 10-5A football openers present some intriguing matchups around the area. In the lone game involving non-McKinney schools, Allen at Plano East will likely be one of the premiere games in the state because of how explosive both teams are offensively. Allen leads the district in rushing with 288.8 yards per game, while Plano East is close behind at 274. However, the Eagles lack any kind of a passing game, averaging just 105.8 passing yards, which is only better than Boyd’s 98. Meanwhile, the Panthers are second in the district in passing offense with 265.5 YPG, trailing only McKinney at 280.2. For MHS and Boyd fans that like to do a little scoreboard watching, keeping up with this game on Friday night is very important to the landscape of District 10-5A.
3. Now on to the games that have everyone interested. Let’s begin with the TSB Game of the Week: Plano West at McKinney Boyd. The last time these two teams squared off on the gridiron was almost three years ago to the day. On October 2nd, 2009, the Wolves defeated the Broncos 84-40 in a game that saw 1,303 combined yards and 50 combined first downs. Both teams are vastly different than the ones assembled three years ago, and head coach Don Drake and the Boyd football program would love nothing more than to even up the score after what happened at Clark Field that night.
4. While looking at this matchup, there are a couple key stats to keep in mind if you are trying to get a read on this game. Boyd is ranked last in the district in total offense, averaging just 347 yards per game. The yards they do get is from the ground game and running back Bryan Driskell, who is second in the 5A area in rushing at 915 yards. The Broncos average 249 yards on the ground, third in District 10-5A and only behind Allen (288.8) and Plano East (274). There is no secret that Drake and Co. like to hand the rock off to Driskell and have quarterback Curtis Ladd play action off of it. And while the passing game only averages 98 YPG, the lowest in the district, Patrick Ladd and Dedrick Scrivens have both emerged as reliable targets and true threats in the Bronco passing attack.
5. However, Boyd is facing a strong Plano West rush defense that only allows 189.4 yards per game on the ground, second in the district behind Allen (188.6). The Wolves are susceptible to giving up big plays in the passing game, giving up a district-worst 195.4 YPG through the air. The Broncos are going to give Driskell 25-30 touches in the ballgame, but if Patrick Ladd, Scrivens, and receiver Kevin McCormick, who leads the team with two touchdowns, can have success in the passing game, Boyd could find a way to start the district campaign 1-0.
6. The other District 10-5A of importance is McKinney High’s first taste of 5A action at Plano on Friday night. Talking to many scouts and coaches around the area, MHS has played itself out of the “cupcake” label and into an opponent which teams are nervous to play. The Lions’ 4-1 non-district record was a tremendous story for everyone around town, but a 4-1 district record would have this city in a total football frenzy. There is no doubt that McKinney has an explosive offense, averaging 508 yards per game and having three players in the top 40 in receiving yards in the 5A area. The Lions score 42.2 points per game and allow 25.4, second and fourth in the district, respectively. On the other hand, Plano only scores 24.2 PPG and allows 22.2,which is last and third in the district, respectively. The Wildcats tend to play close games with three contests determined by a touchdown or less. They are also currently riding a two-game losing streak after falling to Flower Mound Marcus last Thursday 35-21 on the road.
7. The biggest key to the game is going to be Plano’s ability to stop the Lions’ passing attack. The Wildcats are second in District 10-5A in passing defense, allowing just 129 YPG. They have only faced two passing attacks that rank in the top-40 in the 5A area in passing offense, Irving MacArthur and Garland Naaman Forrest. Plano gave up 203 yards to Irving MacArthur and 207 to Naaman Forrest, which is about a 50 percent increase in the yards they normally allow. Lions quarterback Robert Somborn has put up some ridiculous numbers through five games, throwing for 1,332 yards with 19 touchdowns and just six interceptions. And while Somborn will be asked to throw the ball around a little bit at versus the Wildcats, establishing offensive specialist Red Shannon in the running game will open up those play action deep routes the Lions love to run against aggressive secondaries.
8. If I had to put my money on either the Broncos or Lions walking off the field Friday night with a victory, I would put my coin on Boyd. Not saying that I don’t like the Lions’ chances of winning this week, but I am leery of how they will fare in a hostile environment in Clark Field. District openers are usually fast paced and have high energy from the crowd, so will the Lions be able to respond to pressure on the road in their first District 10-5A game? That is a question that needs to be answered.
9. Give me Boyd 27-24 over Plano West and MHS over Plano 35-28. Lock it in.
10. Speaking of predicting scores, TSB would like to give you the reader a chance to predict the score of the TSB Game of the Week. Starting next Tuesday morning, simply click on the headline “Predict The Score” and write what you think will be the final score of the TSB football Game of the Week in the comment section. The winner will get earn four free tickets to an MISD athletic event of his/her choice! Just in case we have similar scores between several entries, you must include how many total yards of offense the McKinney team will earn that game. This is your chance to show off your local sports knowledge and win some free tickets courtesy of TownSquareBuzz!
11. The final local game of note this week involves the McKinney North Bulldogs visiting the first-place Lovejoy Leopards in a District 13-4A battle. The Bulldogs earned their first district win and overall win of the season last Friday night in their 35-21 victory over Royse City, improving to 1-1 in district play. The Leopards are 2-0 in district and are coming off a 46-13 smashing of Greenville that saw Greenville pass for just 22 yards in the game. North got the short straw by having to travel to arguably the three toughest opponents in the district in Sherman, Lovejoy, and Wylie East. It is extremely early and things can change quickly, but it appears as though North and Royse City will be the two teams fighting for that fourth and final playoff spot come November. The Bulldogs hold the head-to-head over Royse City, while wins over Denison, Greenville, and Wylie are almost necessary in order to keep playoff chances alive.
12. This week’s road test at Lovejoy will be a difficult one for a Bulldog squad that has seen injuries hit some key areas of their team. Running back Trey Smith’s broken collarbone didn’t affect their rushing attack much last week, as Justin Jones and Ronald Jones both had solid games while quarterback Ben Dutze ran for a career-high three scores. Averaging 137.6 rushing yards per game, the Bulldogs will need to have consistently strong performances from both Jones’s and Dutze in order to put points on the scoreboard. North scores 20.8 points per game while Lovejoy only allows 17.6, which means that the Bulldogs are going to have to find creative ways to score against a very strong Leopard defense.
13. Give me Lovejoy over North 38-20 in a game that is much closer than the score indicates.
14. In volleyball news, McKinney North lost a key match last night versus Wylie East to drop to 4-6 in District 13-4A with four matches to play. Wylie East improved to 5-5 and is currently one game ahead of the Lady Bulldogs for the fourth playoff spot. North travels to 10-0 Lovejoy on Friday night while Wylie East visits 1-9 Sherman.
15. In District 10-5A, McKinney Boyd’s 3-1 victory over Plano West on Tuesday sets up the match of the year on Friday night at Boyd between the Lady Broncos and the Plano Lady Wildcats. Both teams are 5-1 in district play with Boyd handing Plano its only district loss of the season back on September 25th in a 3-2 win on the road. The winner of the match is in the driver’s seat to win the district with just three matches to play. If the Lady Broncos win on Friday night, the combined record of their remaining opponents (at Allen, vs. Plano East, at McKinney) is 4-14.
16. Next Tuesday and Wednesday is the District 13-4A Tennis Team Tournament for the McKinney North boys and girls team. The Bulldogs improved to 16-5 with an 18-1 win over Denison on Tuesday and locked up the second seed in the tournament next week.
17. If you haven’t checked out ‘The Sports Bar’ episode this week, I encourage you to find some time and watch it. You can do so by clicking here.This week is part two of my sit down with the MISD athletic director Shawn Pratt, which we discuss the state of MISD athletics and I ask for his thoughts on the first half of football season. If you like sports and you like interviews, here is a sports interview you don’t want to miss.
18. Non-Local Sports Thought of the Week: I love baseball, which means I will watch the MLB playoffs regardless of whether or not my team made the postseason. But to those who are die-hard Ranger fans, I have to wonder how many people have watched as many as five minutes of the postseason this week. I would say that number is pretty darn low.
19. Starting this Friday night, I will be tweeting out updates from the TSB football Game of the Week, Plano West versus Boyd. You can follow me @TSBSportsBruu for live score updates and any observations I might have during the game, which you know will be both insightful and thought-provoking.
20. I think that about does it for my time this week. Towards the end I was having difficulty seeing the screen and it was starting to affect the way I was typing. I blame it on too much caffeine. Until next time, ladies and gentlemen.