Written by Michael Florek
Defense, turnovers help Plano East prevail against Marcus
PLANO — All night the Plano East defense had done just enough to preserve a slim lead over Flower Mound Marcus.
With just over a minute left in the game and the lead at its slimmest, 14-13, East needed one more play. After an 18-play, 83-yard scoring drive, Marcus opted to go for a two-point conversion and the lead.
A penalty cut the yardage needed in half, but Marcus’ quick out at the goal line fell incomplete and Plano East survived with a 21-13 victory Friday, scoring an insurance touchdown after recovering the onside kick.
“I told them at halftime, ‘We’re going to score; we’re going to go for two,’ ” Marcus coach Bryan Erwin said. “I feel like they were the better team tonight, and if you can get down there and go for two, it’s still a victory.”
It was a night of Marcus near misses — and key East defensive plays. Marcus outgained East, 347 yards to 268, but East recovered two fumbles, had two interceptions and stopped Marcus twice on fourth down.
East (4-0) took a 7-0 lead on its second drive, and the defense made it stand up through most of the night. After East’s score, it stopped a fake punt 3 yards short, then stopped a fourth-and-1 attempt at midfield, giving the offense a short field that it converted into a second touchdown.
Marcus (1-3) drove into East territory three times in the second half. One resulted in the late touchdown. The other two ended with interceptions by defensive back Chris Smith, the first of which came at the 12-yard line.
“I love offense, it’s flashy and all, but you win with defense,” Plano East coach Randy Jackson said. “Our kids, they’re tough. … That’s a physical team.”