By Mike Bruu, TSB Sports Writer
Oh Friday nights, we have all missed you dearly.
The stage was set for an exciting kickoff to the seventh year of football at McKinney Boyd High School. Hundreds of students, fans, alumni, and MISD faculty filed into Ron Poe Stadium, a majority donning red T-shirts in support of their Broncos. A little before kickoff, the lights were turned on, and as the cheerleaders and band members finished their pregame routines and the captains of each squad shook hands at midfield for the coin toss, you could feel the electricity of Friday night football charging through the stadium.
Unfortunately for the Bronco faithful, that joyous feeling didn’t last long as Boyd dropped its season opener to Mesquite Horn 38-20 on Friday night. After scoring the first points of the game on a Bryan Driskell 40-yard touchdown run, the Jaguars would score three touchdowns of their own in the first half and would never relinquish the lead.
There were several areas on the field that the Broncos struggled in throughout the game. From Horn’s very first offensive series, the Jags dominated Boyd’s interior defensive line and were able to create huge running holes for running back Treyvon Marsh. Marsh finished with 131 yards on 28 carries, which included a touchdown. Horn signal caller Destri White also had a productive night under center, throwing for 147 yards on 17 of 26 passing, which included two touchdowns and no interceptions. White also ran for 60 yards on 11 carries.
The Jags, who made the playoffs in 2011 despite a 4-7 record, would finish the game with 274 rushing yards on 56 carries, That’s 4.89 yards per rush. Despite rotating various linemen in the game throughout each series, Boyd still had the task of matching up an inexperienced defensive line versus a much bigger and more veteran offensive line for Horn. The Broncos had the task this offseason of completely retooling their D-line after losing several starters to graduation, which meant that head coach Don Drake and his defensive staff had to form a line with inexperienced players at the varsity level.
While the numbers may not look very good on paper, Drake believes the experience of getting 48 minutes at the varsity level under their belt is the most important thing to take away from Friday night.
“I think they probably grew up a little bit tonight,” said Drake. “They understand that it is a different level of play and that’s why we are playing these games. Obviously we want to win, but ultimately we want to improve as a football team and find some things out about ourselves early, so we can get those things fixed and continue to improve to get ready for those later games.”
All-state running back Bryan Driskell had a mixed bag of results versus a very stout defense for the Jags. He finished with 114 yards on 19 carries and two touchdowns, but he never seem to get into the rhythm we were all used to seeing from No. 5 a year ago. In the second quarter, Driskell was on the ground for more than a minute while trainers attended to him, but was able to walk of under his own power. It was believed he had the wind knocked out of him for a brief moment.
Boyd quarterback Curtis Ladd finished with just 88 yards on 10 of 18 passing that included a touchdown. Even without the big numbers Drake believed his QB had a good night.
“I thought in the second half he played really well,” Drake said. “Curtis is doing a great job. Pretty pleased with how he handled things tonight.”
While the score was definitely not what the Bronco players and fans had in mind for the first Friday night of the season, Drake understands the areas, which his football team needs to improve while admiring the effort he saw from his squad.
“In the first half we made some errors that put ourselves in some very bad field positions in down and distance situations,” Drake said, “and we can’t do that against good football teams and expect to score points. I thought in the second half we did some good things offensively and we put points on the board. I was pleased to see the kids battle back and keep fighting and working in the second half.”
McKinney Boyd (0-1) will travel to Coppell next Friday night. Coppell will host Longview on Saturday afternoon at SMU’s Ford Field in its season opener. The road isn’t getting any easier for the Broncos in their non-district schedule, but if you ask Drake and his team, they wouldn’t want it any other way.
“It doesn’t get any easier, but we talked about that,” said Drake. “We talked about the schedule we’re playing. The schedule was made that way on purpose and we know we have a tough schedule. You’ve got to play tough people if you want your level of performance to improve to the point that we’re looking for.
“Our kids will bounce back.”
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Photos by Audra Paine