By Mike Bruu, TSB Sports Editor
The mark of a great player is when he or she rises to the occasion in the biggest of games. On Friday night, McKinney Boyd running back Bryan Driskell proved once again why he is defined as a great player.
The Broncos topped the McKinney Lions 56-21 at Ron Poe Stadium in the city’s annual crosstown showdown, and while the headline could have been about Boyd clinching a playoff berth out of District 10-5A, the all-state running back stole the show with a record-breaking night on the ground.
The senior tailback finished with 333 rushing yards on 35 carries, ending the night nine yards shy of breaking the school record for most rushing yards in a game that was set by Daryn Alves in 2007. Not only that, but Driskell rushed for a school-record seven touchdowns in the game, and his 42 points scored became Boyd’s single game scoring record.
He also reached two career milestones on Friday night, as he surpassed 5,000 rushing yards and recorded is 60th career rushing touchdown. To have a performance like this on any night is special, but to do it on senior night while you are playing your crosstown rival with one playoff spot on the line makes it spectacular.
Lost in the shuffle of Driskell’s personal success was the fact that the Broncos clinched a playoff berth out of District 10-5A, and will be the number one seed out of the district in Division II of the UIL State football tournament. The Broncos finished the season 3-2 in district play and 6-4 overall. Boyd will face Dallas Jesuit in the bi-district round next Friday night at Plano’s Clark Stadium.
After his record-setting performance, Driskell said he owed a large amount of his success to the play of his offensive line.
“This night is just the biggest blessing to me, because this is our last night playing at Ron Poe Stadium and to just have that kind of performance is just so cool,” said Driskell, who is a senior. “My line was blocking all night long and everything was opening up really well. I just feel like they are peaking at the right time and I just appreciate them so much.”
Boyd coach Don Drake agreed.
“I just thought we executed pretty well,” said Drake about the play of his star running back. “He is able to do what he does when you create those running lanes for him. I thought we blocked pretty well up front creating those holes, and he does what he does best which is run the football.”
Driskell got the scoring started for the Broncos when he capped off a nine play opening drive with a four-yard touchdown. On the very next offensive possession on a third and one, Driskell ran up the middle and broke a couple tackles before going 55 yards for a score to put the Broncos up 14-0.
While the all-state back had many highlight reel moments in the game, his two plays back-to-back late in the second quarter displayed just how dynamic he can be in the offensive and special teams game. After returning a punt 44 yards, the Broncos were called for a 15-yard penalty to move the ball back to the 50-yard line. On the very first play of the drive, Driskell took the handoff and scooted along the right sideline for a touchdown to make it 21-7 Boyd.
He would go on to have four more touchdown runs of 7, 41, 15, and 5 yards. The only touchdown not scored by No. 5 was a fumble the was recovered by Matt Dodson in the end zone off a Lions punt attempt that would put the Broncos up 56-21 and officially seal the victory for the team in red.
After having a chance to wrap up a playoff berth last week at Plano East, the Broncos forced themselves into a virtual win-or-go-home scenario versus their crosstown rivals in the season finale. Drake told his players during the week that if mixing senior night, a rivalry, and a playoff spot doesn’t get you ready to play, nothing else will.
“It is huge,” Drake said. “I told them last week after that disappointing loss at Plano East that if this game wasn’t big enough already it got a lot bigger because we didn’t win. It’s a big deal. I told them this morning that it is senior night, you are playing McKinney High School, and a playoff spot is on the line. I don’t think there is much more you can pack into a Friday night football game than that.”
One of the interesting aspects of Friday night’s win for the Broncos is the decision by Drake to call the offensive plays from the press box for the entire second half, something the head coach hasn’t done in the seven years he has been at Boyd.
“Yeah, I am the play caller, and ever since I have been the head coach I have called from the sideline,” he said. “The past seven years I have been head coach here I have never done it, but tonight I decided I was going to go do that. It is definitely a better view to watch a game.”
For the McKinney Lions, the loss dropped them to 1-4 in district play and 5-5 overall, but for a program that didn’t win a game last year and was entering its first season at the 5A level, the positives outweighed the negatives despite Friday night’s loss.
“At the end of the game I told them I am just so proud of them,” said McKinney head coach Jeff Smith. “A lot of people didn’t expect us to do much of anything, but yet these guys fought tooth and nail and really turned a lot of heads in this district. We won five games this year so I am just really proud of what they accomplished this year. We are disappointed but very proud of the way they played this year.”
For the Lions seniors, Friday night marked the final time they will wear the gold hats of McKinney, but Smith says that those men are leaving behind a legacy that is more than just wins and losses.
“I think this senior class has tremendous leaders and it showed in the offseason and during the summer,” Smith said. “They led very well and the young guys took notice and hopefully they learn from that. But they are just a tremendous class and we are going to miss them.”
In his final game as a Lion, quarterback Robert Somborn finished the night 28-of-42 passing for 318 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. He finished the season with 2,859 passing yards, 31 touchdowns, and just 11 interceptions.
Receiver T.V. Williams led all receivers with 134 receiving yards on seven receptions, including a 65-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter. Connor Fuentes caught two touchdowns in the game, but was ejected following his second touchdown after suffering an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
While the Lions had opportunities stay in the game throughout the first half, the two turnovers combined with nine penalties for 137 yards held them back just enough to seriously getting back into the game in the second half.
The Broncos will face 8-2 Dallas Jesuit in the bi-district round next Friday night at Plano’s Clark Stadium. The Rangers finished third in District 9-5A with a 5-2 record in district play. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
OVERALL STANDINGS IN DISTRICT 10-5A:
1. Allen 5-0 9-1
2. Boyd 3-2 6-4
3. Plano West 3-2 6-4
4. Plano 2-3 5-5
5. McKinney 1-4 5-5
6. Plano East 1-4 5-5
OTHER SCORES FROM DISTRICT 10-5A:
Plano East 28
Plano West 47
DISTRICT 10-5A PLAYOFF MATCHUPS:
Dallas Skyline (9-1) vs. Plano (5-5)
Friday, 7:30 p.m. at SMU’s Ford Stadium
Allen (9-1) vs. Richardson (4-6)
Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Allen Eagle Stadium
Lake Highlands (8-2) vs. Plano West (6-4)
Location and time undecided
For more game photos, check out the Glam Cam on the TSB Homepage.
Photos by DJ Newman