Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: Plano scores on first play, rolls to 35-0 halftime lead in 42-14 rout of rival Plano East
PLANO — Plano’s first offensive play Friday night was a well-executed play-action pass that got the Wildcats in the end zone. It worked so well that Plano ran the play again on its final snap of the first half.
The result was another touchdown, creating perfect bookends for a dominant start that was the story of Plano’s 42-14 victory over Plano East. By halftime, Plano had a five-touchdown lead and seemed to be gaining speed at John Clark Stadium.
“We really wanted to come out and set the tone,” said linebacker David Griffith, “especially after that terrible ending last week. That left us really, really sour.”
That sour moment came when McKinney Boyd scored in the final minute to beat the Wildcats. But Friday’s game was nothing but sweet for Plano (6-2, 2-1 in District 10-5A), which is No. 19 in the area Class 5A rankings.
Brooks Panhans’ two touchdown passes and a 72-yard scoring run helped Plano roll to a 35-0 halftime lead. The junior quarterback ran for another touchdown in the third quarter, and his 222 yards rushing nearly doubled his season total.
But the offense was no more impressive than Plano’s defense, which held No. 20 Plano East (5-3, 1-2) to less than 100 yards through three quarters and intercepted two passes. Plano also recovered two fumbles, including one that set up a first-and-goal at the 4.
“Defensively, it just seemed like we were swarming,” coach Jaydon McCullough said. “We’re playing pretty aggressively on defense. We have the kids who understand it and can do it.”
The aggressive defense and potent offense created an opening half as lopsided as any in the history of the rivalry, which dates back to 1982. The first 31 games in the series were perfectly even, with 15 wins for each team plus one tie.
Friday’s game was anything but even.
Plano East fumbled the opening kickoff and Plano’s Marquis Hodge recovered at the 18-yard line. That set up Panhans’ first touchdown pass, thrown as he rolled to his left, to a wide-open Colby Cantu.
Plano East’s next five possessions ended with three punts, a lost fumble and a pass intercepted by Plano’s Cody Farhat. Plano’s defensive front kept pressure on Plano East quarterbacks Miles Thompson and Keith Long, and Plano East found little room to run against one of the Dallas area’s stingiest run defenses. Plano East didn’t get on the board until the fourth quarter, when Long scored on a 1-yard run.
While Plano East struggled, Plano raced away. The offensive line opened big holes for Panhans and running back Brandon Stephens as Plano found the end zone on five of its first six possessions. The final touchdown of the flurry came when Panhans faked a handoff, freezing the Plano East defense, and then rolled left and found Cantu for a 16-yard touchdown.
It was like a mirror image of the opening score, and undoubtedly, a replay Plano fans would like to see again and again.
Follow Matt Wixon on Twitter at @mattwixon.
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