Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Defending champs Allen put away Horn with masterful efficiency
A steady rain fell Friday night, but it was light enough to be largely unnoticed until it created puddles on the metal seats at the Cotton Bowl. On the field of the legendary stadium, which played host to a high school playoff game for the first time in more than a decade, Allen’s performance felt the same way.
Allen, the 5A Division I defending champ, didn’t wash away Mesquite Horn with a flood of offense. The state’s top-ranked team was more of a steady presence as it soaked Horn, 42-14, to take another step toward defending its title.
Allen (12-0) will next play the winner of Saturday’s matchup between The Woodlands and Round Rock. The regional semifinal will be played next at 2 p.m. next Saturday at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco.
Despite the wet conditions, as well as temperatures near freezing, Allen quarterback Kyler Murray threw four touchdown passes. He completed 7 of 14 passes for 225 yards, and the scoring passes averaged 44 yards.
“We were going to come out and pass — do what we do,” Murray said. “Unless the weather was too bad.”
The weather was pretty bad, but as usual, Allen was really good. The Eagles’ defense allowed Horn (9-3) only an early touchdown and one in the final seconds. Allen also picked off three passes.
“Our kids play pretty well when they’re out in front,” coach Tom Westerberg said, “and when we struck early, it was awesome.”
Allen struck very early. The Eagles’ first offensive play was a 73-yard touchdown pass from Murray to Jalen Guyton, who ran past the defender on the left side, pulled in the catch and ran untouched to the end zone.
Horn, however, had an excellent response. The Jaguars drove 85 yards in nine plays and tied the game on Destri White’s 15-yard pass to Blayde Moore.
The problem for Horn was the rest of the first half. The other five possessions before halftime resulted in an interception, four punts and a total of 30 yards. And although Allen’s offense misfired a few times, it had four touchdowns by halftime.
Some good fortune helped. Early in the second quarter, Murray fumbled while scrambling and the ball was momentarily in the arms of a Horn defender. The ball squirted free, however, and Guyton dived on it. On the next play, Murray found Guyton crossing the middle for a 34-yard touchdown that gave Allen a 21-7 lead.
Allen’s final drive of the half, which appeared to stall with a fourth-and-7 near midfield, was a backbreaker for Horn. Allen punter Ryan Hoogerwerf, who is also the backup quarterback, bobbled the snap and was forced to run with the ball. The senior ended up getting 8 yards for the first down, extending an Eagles drive that ended with Murray’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Grant Finney with 33 seconds left.
“The ball kind of slipped through his hands,” Westerberg said of Hoogerwerf. “He made a heck of a play to get the first down.”
Horn needed those kinds of plays to go its way against Allen, which is clearly a heck of a team.
Follow Matt Wixon on Twitter at @mattwixon.