Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: Balanced Allen dominates Plano in battle of unbeatens
PLANO — On a picture-perfect night for football, the snapshot of Friday’s showdown of unbeatens came into focus early. The red and blue of Allen was going to turn Plano black and blue at John Clark Stadium.
If Plano is not physically bruised Saturday morning, its psyche at least needs some mending after a 44-7 loss to Allen in the District 8-5A opener for both teams.
Allen didn’t punt until its starters left the game and Plano, which had averaged 51 points per game, didn’t score an offensive touchdown.
“Plano is a good team if you let them play their game,” said Allen receiver Andrew Rodriguez, who had three touchdown receptions. “We had to go out there and score early and put it on them.”
Allen (4-0) did just that. Given Plano’s record (3-0 entering the game) and its winning tradition, the lopsided outcome might surprise some. But there’s a good reason why Allen is No. 1 in the Class 5A state rankings. There are two good reasons, actually, why Allen is so football photogenic.
Offense and defense. Allen has both.
The offense has terrific balance, for one thing. Quarterback Alec Morris (four touchdown passes) and Rodriguez helped Allen pile up 325 yards passing, and the Eagles also rushed for 273 yards.
Star running back Jonathan Williams returned after missing the last two games with back spasms and ran 13 times for 79 yards and a touchdown, and Marcus Ward finished with a team-high 124 yards on only seven carries.
“I just feel like we have so many weapons on offense,” Rodriguez said. “We all played together as juniors, and now we’re seniors, and we all connect. It’s like playing backyard football.”
Allen’s defense also dominated in Plano’s backyard, holding Plano to only 110 total yards and six first downs. For Allen, which has beaten Plano six straight times, the domination started up front.
“The front seven is doing a great job,” Allen coach Tom Westerberg said. “The defense is playing lights-out.”
The lights were turned out early for Plano, which is No. 12 in the SportsDay 5A area rankings.
The Wildcats got a flicker of hope when defensive end Xavier Harbert returned a fumble 65 yards for a touchdown midway through the third quarter. But Allen’s response, a touchdown a minute later, reflected the dominance of the night. After a 68-yard run by Ward, Morris connected with Rodriguez for a 13-yard touchdown that gave Allen a 37-7 lead with 6:27 left in the third.
Allen tacked on one more touchdown before the starters left the game late in the third. Leaving the game early was tough on Williams, who said it was painful to sit out the last two games.
“It’s my senior year,” he said. “I want to be out there dominating like everyone else.”
Williams and Allen will be doing a lot of that the rest of the season.