Sports > Schools
This Dog's Day: North runs through Royse City for first win
Photo courtesy of Kellie Anfosso / kellie1982.smugmug.com
McKinney North’s 35-21 victory Friday night over Royse City shouts of a passing attack from both teams, not of a grind-it-out battle between the hash marks.
But the district opponents both had success on the ground, rushing a combined 82 times, with early back-to-back Royse City turnovers proving the difference.
“That’s what we do, we try to run the football, we try to grind it and eat clock, (and) they’re the same way,” said Mike Fecci, McKinney North head coach. “I never would have thought it would have been that many points from two teams that run the ball that much. But at the same time I was proud of our kids. I thought we played hard, and we got some stuff figured out tonight.”
North (1-4) got its first win of the season in its second district game. It jumped out to a 14-0 lead just eight minutes into the first quarter thanks to Royse City (1-4) miscues on its first two possessions.
After its offense went three-and-out to start the game, North senior defensive back Marc Bresnahan intercepted Royse City quarterback Jackson Watts’ first pass and returned it 60 yards for the score. And a botched handoff on the first play of Royse City’s ensuing possession set up a quick North drive that ended with junior quarterback Ben Dutze punching it in from two yards out for his first of three rushing touchdowns on the night.
Dutze, who ran 15 times for 75 yards, scored on North’s next possession, and following Royse City running back Samuell Rushing’s 3-yard touchdown run, Dutze ran for his final touchdown on first-and-goal from the two to push North’s lead to 28-6 at the half.
“The game plan was just to go out and do what we do,” Dutze said. “There wasn’t anything designed for me; I just did what they gave me, and it turned out to be successful.”
After losing junior running back Trey Smith last week to a collarbone injury, Friday was the remaining North backfield’s first test. And they passed to the tune of 253 yards, with senior running back Justin Jones running for 121 of them. Sophomore Ronald Jones – a speedy, change-of-pace back – ran five times for 40 yards.
“Justin Jones and Ronald Jones both filled in really nicely tonight; they both complement each other really well,” Fecci said. “I was really proud of our offensive line. They opened up some big holes for us in there and that’s nice to have that.”
Dutze, who completed 6-of-11 passes for 80 yards including a 9-yard, play-action touchdown strike to sophomore wideout Gabe Constintine, was rarely forced to pass as North ate up yards and clock to keep the game out of Royse City’s reach.
“What willed us to win was our line – they blocked their butts off; the whole time there were just holes open for me,” Dutze said. “They had good protection too, not one sack the whole time. That was their goal before the game; they told me no sacks.”
Despite rushing for 161 yards and three touchdowns, Royse City failed to maintain any district momentum it may have gained last week with its first win of the season, a 21-10 victory over Greenville. Down 35-12 at the start of the fourth quarter and needing a touchdown to keep it interesting, Royse City couldn’t convert on fourth-and-goal from North’s one-yard-line.
Royse City still scored 15 unanswered points in the final quarter and a half, relying mostly on the legs of Rushing who finished with 132 yards and two scores. And North was penalized 12 times for 94 yards, mostly for pre-snap false starts and illegal procedures, but Royse City’s surge came too late.
“Big win for us…we needed it because it put us right back in the mix,” Fecci said. “That’s a good football team – they’re going to beat some folks in our district.”
Royse City continued its District 13-4A slate next week against Denison. North, now 1-1 in district play, plays Lovejoy (5-0, 2-0), which has blown out every team it’s faced this season and is likely North’s toughest opponent yet.
“We’ve got to go beat Lovejoy, be 2-1 (in district) and have the tiebreaker over them,” Fecci said. “That’s how this thing works – it’s a week-by-week basis and we’ve got to go win it.”