McKinney Boyd hasn’t lost a football game to McKinney North since its inaugural season and the Bulldogs haven’t even come close to beating the Broncos in their four previous matchups. Boyd is coming off of a district championship run while North is coming off a bittersweet 2010 season that saw the Dawgs fall one game short of the postseason. Boyd is a Class 5A program that has been picked to finish second in its district this season and North remains a 4A team that is expected to finish fifth this fall. All signs point to another blowout season opener for McKinney Boyd against its underdog crosstown rival but head coach Don Drake said his team can’t afford to overlook the Bulldogs this Friday night.
“It’s a big ballgame,” Drake said. “Any time we play it’s a big ballgame and we want to win every one of them but it means a lot more when it’s your crosstown foe.”
The Broncos are well aware of the fact that North has embraced its role as the underdog in Friday’s game and will stop at nothing to give itself a chance against Boyd. Drake said he expects the Bulldogs to ‘throw all their punches’ but his team will be well prepared for any and all trickery that could take place.
“We will definitely be preparing for that and making sure that our kids stay focused on the task at hand,” he said.
Friday’s game could very well be decided by which team makes the fewest amount of mistakes so Drake said the Broncos won’t get too caught up in waiting for North to attempt a surprise trick play. All week long, the Boyd coaches have emphasized turnovers and penalties and will continue to do so until its time for kickoff.
“Those things are critical and typically earlier in the year the teams that are successful are the ones who make the fewest mistakes. Everybody’s going to make some mistakes but we need to make less.”
Last Friday, McKinney Boyd traveled to Lake Dallas for its final scrimmage before the start of the season and the Broncos managed to walk away with a 23-16 win in a two-quarter game. The short contest was highlighted by sophomore Bryan Driskell’s 100-yard rushing performance in what would normally be just one half of play.
“We were pleased with the pace we played in the scrimmage,” Drake said. “We caught on pretty quickly and played pretty well but we’ve got plenty of things to improve on.”
While it’s true that a win Friday night will not benefit McKinney Boyd when it comes to playoff positioning, Drake said he’s looking for much more than just a victory.
“I want to see that we get better and make progress,” he said. “We want to turn on that film on Saturday and evaluate and see that we’ve improved on our assignment responsibilities.”
When speaking with North head coach Mike Fecci about this week’s season opener, he mentioned that the Broncos are a different team than they were last season as they will no longer have a scrambling quarterback to help carry the offense. The Broncos feel like the same goes for McKinney North.
“They no longer have a runner at quarterback,” said Drake, who referred to ex-North quarterback Brylen Williams who quit the team during spring training. “They’re a little different on offense. They have a different style and a different play selection.”
One thing both McKinney Boyd and McKinney North will have in common Friday night as that neither team will know what to expect from its special teams. Since no teams practice live kickoffs or punts in scrimmages, this will be the first time the Broncos and Bulldogs will execute special teams plays against live competition.
“Special teams plays are such game changers,” Drake said. “We need to make sure we don’t give away points to special teams mistakes.”
For that reason, the Broncos have been hard at work through their first three practices of the week to make sure they’re ready to kick and cover against North.
“The punting game is so critical,” Drake said. “We’ve got to protect our punter and make sure we get the ball off. Those are scary situations for us at any time but especially the first week when you haven’t done that against live competition.”
McKinney North will be the home team in Friday’s game at Ron Poe Stadium. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.
-Joe Arriola, TownSquareBuzz.com