Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: Allen bounces back from 1st loss in style with 56-0 thrashing of Plano East
MURPHY — After suffering its first loss two weeks ago, Allen had to sit through a bye week before getting a chance to prove itself again. On Friday, the long wait ended with a very short night.
At least from a competitive standpoint. Looking again like a state contender, and facing a team hobbled by the loss of its starting quarterback, Allen rolled to a 56-0 victory over Plano East at Tom Kimbrough Stadium.
“We had to bounce back and come out here with confidence,” said Allen senior defensive back Cameron Hartsfield. “We had to play smarter, harder and stronger.”
Allen (5-1, 1-0 in District 10-5A) was certainly the stronger team in the matchup that set up as a showdown of two of the area’s top teams. But the show fizzled quickly against Plano East (4-1, 0-1).
Allen, No. 3 in the Class 5A area rankings, scored on four of its first five drives while holding No. 9 Plano East to a single first down until late in the first half. It was 28-0 at that point, and pretty much over.
It didn’t get any better for Plano East, which hasn’t beaten Allen since 1999.
Allen quarterback Kyler Murray completed 17 of 18 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown, and he also ran for two touchdowns. Marcus Ward ran for two scores, Oliver Pierce and Jaelen Barlow ran for one each and the Eagles scored when Hartsfield blocked a punt and Tay Evans returned it 36 yards for a touchdown.
More than 10,000 fans were on hand for Plano East’s homecoming, including some sitting on the grass areas next to the stands. But the Panthers were in trouble from the start.
Plano East fumbled on its first play from scrimmage and Allen’s Zack Mueller recovered to give the Eagles a first-and-goal at the 9-yard line. Two plays later, and less than a minute into the game, Murray ran 5 yards for what turned out to be the winning touchdown.
Plano East struggled without starting quarterback Mario Smalls, who suffered a broken fibula in the Panthers’ last game. Smalls, who had thrown for 1,062 yards and 12 touchdowns in the first four games, was replaced by sophomore Tyler McGehee, who had attempted one pass this season.
The Allen defense, one of the best in the area, was a brutal opponent for McGehee’s first start. McGehee completed 8 of 14 for 78 yards, but Plano East managed only 46 yards rushing on 38 carries. Plano East turned the ball over three times and punted nine times against Allen, which was No. 1 in the area rankings before its 27-24 overtime loss at Coppell.
“We did not play with near this intensity against Coppell,” coach Tom Westerberg said. “We had to regroup as a team.”
Follow Matt Wixon on Twitter at @mattwixon