Written by Corbett Smith
Can Allen survive second round against seasoned Mesquite?
5A Division I area round: Allen vs. Mesquite, 7:30 p.m. Friday at Plano’s Clark Stadium; KEOM-FM (88.5)
Allen has met its Waterloo in the second round since winning the 2008 5A Division I state title, losing to Southlake Carroll in 2009 and Euless Trinity in 2010 and 2011. In its lone loss this season — a 27-24 overtime defeat at Coppell — Allen lost its starting running back Jeff Harris to a knee injury and had yet to move sophomore quarterback Kyler Murray into the starting lineup.
Mesquite’s success this season has a good bit to do with its failures in 2010, when coach Robbie Robinson called up eight sophomores for heavy varsity minutes. Playing against eight eventual playoff teams, Mesquite finished 1-9. That season, despite the departure of its best players to varsity, Mesquite’s JV won the district title. “We knew we had a special group,” Robinson said.
First round: Allen 63, Richardson 14; Mesquite 50, Sachse 28
Players to watch
Allen: Not only has Kyler Murray been accurate with his passes, he’s a dangerous running threat, rushing for 15 touchdowns in 99 carries. Allen coach Tom Westerberg said RB Marcus Ward has moved right into the starting lineup without any need for adjustments. Allen’s offensive line — with senior Brad North and junior Tejan Koroma — is one of the best in the area. Senior Oliver Pierce is extremely valuable, returning punts, catching passes and at times playing defense. Senior defensive tackle Byron Bonds is committed to Baylor.
Mesquite: Alex Cooper has been a revelation in his senior season, shining as one of the area’s top quarterbacks. The senior has completed 77 percent of his passes, thrown for 27 touchdowns and only two interceptions in 288 attempts, and has rushed for 10 scores. Rashard Higgins has been Cooper’s main target, with 1,137 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. Senior cornerback and Rice pledge Anthony Canady had an interception against Sachse and is working his way back from a broken leg that kept him out for most of the season. Hybrid end/outside linebacker Javon Jones is one of the defensive leaders and recently picked up his first offer, from Memphis.
Avg. pts. allowed