By Mike Bruu, TSB Sports Writer
It only took the McKinney North Bulldogs a minute and 40 seconds to get on the scoreboard on homecoming night at Ron Poe Stadium, and it led to their first football victory of the 2012 season.
North won 35-21. And it started when defensive back Marc Bresnahan returned an interception 60 yards for a touchdown off of Royse City quarterback Jackson Watts to put the his team up 7-0. By halftime, three rushing touchdowns by quarterback Ben Dutze made it 28-6.
While the Royse City Bulldogs did make things interesting in the second half, Dutze and his team were able to even up their District 13-4A record at 1-1.
Dutze and his offense came into the game without star running back Trey Smith, who suffered a broken collarbone at Sherman last week and is likely out for the remainder of the season. Head coach Mike Fecci said after the game that he was proud of the way Justin Jones, Ronald Jones, and Dutze stepped up in Smith’s absence.
“Yeah it was nice. Ronald Jones and Justin Jones filled in really nicely tonight,” said Fecci. “They both complement each other very well. They are both hard-working kids and I am really proud of our offensive line. They opened up some big holes for us and it’s nice to have that.”
Justin finished with 128 yards on 19 carries while Ronald finished with 40 yards on five carries. Dutze racked up 64 rushing yards on 15 carries, including rushing touchdowns from two, three, and eleven yards. He also added a nine-yard touchdown pass to Gabe Constintine in the third quarter.
Despite arguably his best personal performance of the season, Dutze was quick to credit his offensive lines play versus Royse City.
“It feels amazing, but honestly this win belongs to our offensive line,” said Dutze. “They blocked their butts off the whole time and there were holes opening the whole time for me and Justin and Ronald Jones. They had good protection too. They didn’t allow one sack the whole game, and that was their goal before the game.”
North finished with 330 total yards on the night, racking up 249 rushing yards and averaging 5.79 yards per carry. If there was one major negative for the Bulldogs after their first win of the season, it was the amount of times the referees were throwing yellow laundry on the field.
The Bulldogs were called for 12 penalties on the night for close to 100 yards, one of the major reasons why Royse City was able to hang in the game for most of the second half. Almost half of the penalties were pre-snap calls on the offensive line with false starts, something both Fecci and Dutze understand has to be fixed moving forward.
“We just have to listen better to our quarterback,” said Fecci. “They are making defensive calls causing our lineman to jump, and then we would get excited when we would run the counter. They are ready to pull and get out of there and they leave too early. We don’t do it in practice. We never jump in practice, but we need to make sure we shore that up next week.”
“Penalties are never good,” said Dutze. “Most of them are false starts so we just have to learn to stay in and listen to my voice on the snap count.”
Despite temperatures that dropped into the high-50s by halftime, North was able to celebrate a homecoming win with their friends and family following the game. When asked if homecoming victories were a little sweeter than the others, Fecci referenced what his old college coach would tell his team.
“My old college coach used to tell me that you always win homecoming,” he said. “You always have to win that one and I am proud of them for that.”
The Bulldogs will travel to Lovejoy (2-0, 5-0) next Friday night. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
HOMECOMING NOTES: Congratulations to Brandon Bloedel and Megan Breham for winning Homecoming King and Queen at halftime Friday night. Bloedel is a wide receiver and defensive back for the Bulldogs.
Photos by TSB contributor DJ Newman Check the TSB Glam Cam on our home page for more photos from the North Homecoming game.
DISTRICT 13-4A STANDINGS UPDATE THROUGH WEEK 5:
1. Lovejoy 2-0
2. Wylie East 2-0
3. Sherman 2-0
4. North 1-1
5. Royse City 1-1
6. Denison 1-1
7. Greenville 0-2
8. Wylie 0-2