Written by Jon Machota
McKinney North in with ugly win, sends Highland Park to Div. I
McKINNEY — It wasn’t pretty and it didn’t need to be. With a playoff berth on the line, McKinney North scrapped on offense and clawed on defense in an ugly affair that had no second-half scoring.
But when Hunter Walling kneeled the ball down for the final time Friday night at Ron Poe Stadium, McKinney North had earned an 11-7 victory over Wylie and the final playoff spot in District 10-4A.
North moves on to face Frisco Centennial in its playoff opener next week. The outcome also pushed Highland Park into the Division I bracket in the 4A playoffs. A loss by McKinney North would have allowed Highland Park to remain in Division II.
Walling wasn’t at his best, completing fewer than 50 percent of his passes and throwing two first-half interceptions, but he made one of the game’s biggest plays midway through the second quarter. After North (6-4, 4-3) was stopped three consecutive times inside Wylie’s 3-yard line, Walling went with a quarterback keeper on fourth down and fought his way across the goal line.
That one-yard plunge made the score 8-7, and that was all the North defense needed.
Wylie (4-6, 2-5) found ways to move the ball on the ground with running back Terrell Burt, who had the team’s lone score, but its air attack was nonexistent. Sophomore quarterback Kameron Kelly threw for only six yards and completed two passes.
McKinney North managed to hold Wylie to only two first downs in the first half and eight total. The North defensive line was responsible for the team’s first score, forcing Kelly to scramble back into his end zone and intentionally throw a pass out of bounds, which resulted in a safety.