Written by Matt Wixon
The last time Plano East and Garland played, QB Riko Smalls was the star
Plano East takes on Garland on Thursday night as the football season gets started. It won’t matter in the playoff race, of course, but how each team looks should give us a sneak peek at their respective district races.
I pick Garland to win 11-5A, and I think Plano East will be one of four teams battling for the final three playoff spots in 10-5A. (Allen has won six straight district titles, so it’s not difficult to expect the Eagles to be on top again).
Garland beat Plano East 15-0 in 2004 and 21-0 in 2005. In 2006, Plano East beat Garland, 31-24. The last time the two teams met was in 2007, when Plano East clobbered Garland, 40-7. The leader of that rout was East QB Riko Smalls, who threw for 404 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another.
Smalls was one of the most talented high school quarterbacks I’ve watched play. He had a strong arm and was tough to bring down in the open field. The problem for him at East was that he was plagued by injuries. Smalls threw for 2,989 yards and 33 touchdowns in 2007 but was injured at the end of that season.
Smalls signed with Virginia, but after getting moved to receiver, he left Virginia after two years. He transferred to Texas Southern, where he threw for 2,172 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. Smalls is now a senior there.