A mere 14 seconds into Friday’s District 6-6A contest at Allen, the Plano West football team’s fate was sealed. Allen junior Taj Bickham carved through the Wolves for a 90-yard return touchdown on the game’s opening kickoff and set the wheels in motion for a 61-19 Eagles victory to improve to 5-0 on the season and 2-0 in district. The Wolves dropped 1-1 in 6-6A and 1-4 overall.
The Wolves got a much-needed 38-21 victory over a surging McKinney squad to kick off district play. After a winless non-district campaign, West needed to see some modicum of forward progress on offense and did so behind 475 yards and 38 points – the latter figure more than the Wolves’ combined non-district scoring output.
The Plano West squad that took the field Thursday against McKinney was, in every facet of a football team, a completely different unit than the one that lost its first three non-district games of 2016. The defense was suffocating. Special teams was mistake-free and directly contributed to a touchdown. And the offense was unstoppable.
West has wiped the proverbial slate clean from its 0-3 start in non-district, with head coach Scott Smith focusing only on McKinney and “the new season,” as he called it. Unfortunately for the Wolves, the same problems that plagued West in non-district are still there: an offense that’s failing to score points and, in turn, a defense that’s being overused.
Now the fun part begins. Over the past three weeks, District 6-6A football has plied its craft and given spectators an early gauge on just how this eight-team behemoth will play out in the coming weeks.
A 0-3 start by Plano West could be cause for concern as District 6-6A play begins this week, but head coach Scott Smith is taking a “day-by-day” approach as the Wolves prepare for the games that count toward postseason seeding. The bye week, then, can be a perfect time for re-evaluation.
For the third consecutive week, the Plano West offense struggled against a non-district opponent. Hebron, on the other hand, seems to be hitting its stride at the perfect time. After averaging only 16.5 points per game in the first two outings of the season, the Wolves were stymied by Hebron in Week 3...
Hebron rebounded from a season-opening defeat to Plano, where the Hawks lost by more than 30 points, to defeat Wylie in Week Two. Quarterback Clayton Tune threw for three touchdowns and no interceptions, and seems to have developed a rapport with top receiver Trejan Bridges (six catches, 125 yards, two touchdowns).
Sachse could have been content to let the final seconds tick off the clock late in the first half of Thursday's game against Plano West. After all, momentum was squarely in the Mustangs' corner after Jalen Mayden found a wide-open Nate Shelton for a 71-yard touchdown pass to give them a 20-10 lead with just 57 seconds left before halftime.
Junior quarterback Jalen Mayden (No. 17 overall, class of 2018) threw for 2,496 yards and 32 touchdowns last year, and that’s after sharing snaps at the beginning of the season. He’s rated as the sixth-best dual-threat quarterback in the country, according to 247sports.com.
The legendary speed of east Texas football was on full display Saturday in Tyler. Plano West might still be trying to catch its collective breath. John Tyler jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back, forcing two Wolves turnovers and rolling to a 45-14 win at Earl Campbell Field at Rose Memorial Stadium.
For the players, coaches and fans who kept a brave face amid last year’s 4-6 season, in a lot of ways that skid began at The Woodshed, where Hebron got the better of a 35-28 overtime decision. Plano led that game at the half, 28-14, before the floodgates opened.
In less than seven days, the Plano West football team kicks off its 2016 season with a opening match in east Texas against John Tyler. It is there that the Wolves will begin to lay groundwork for a season they hope will end in a playoff appearance after finishing 3-7 in 2015.
Realignment may have dealt a different hand to 6-6A, but this district remains a land of giants when it comes to football. Continuing to sport the four largest high schools in Texas (Allen and Plano ISD), 6-6A also touts three programs that should be among the better ones in the area in Allen, Denton Guyer and Plano East.
In a district with strong offenses in Allen, Denton Guyer and Plano East, fielding a strong defense is necessary for success. For West head coach Scott Smith, he’ll lean on that side of the ball while his offense searches for consistency.