Streak ender: Six turnovers plague McKinney in first loss
Photo courtesy of Buzz Cory / buzzzphotos.com
The McKinney football team (4-1) fell just short of a fifth straight victory in a back-and-forth affair Friday night against Denton Ryan (2-2).
But it wasn’t for lack of effort or belief. Nearly overcoming six turnovers in a 35-28 loss, the Lions’ fate wasn’t sealed until they failed to convert on a fourth-and-14 play with just more than a minute remaining.
“We didn’t win the game, and we want to win the game, so we’re not satisfied with the result,” said Jeff Smith, McKinney head coach. “But the effort was outstanding…and every time they give that kind of effort, we have a chance.”
Just as in last week’s eventual 41-18 blowout win against North Garland, the Lions went into halftime up only one score. But instead of again distancing themselves in the final frames, they fell behind and traded touchdowns with a Denton Ryan team that scored last.
McKinney – which dipped to 339 total yards a week ago, more than 100 yards off their season average – had it going Friday on the ground and through the air to combine for 507 yards. Due to a dismal passing performance (4-of-16 for 58 yards and two interceptions) from junior quarterback Preston Compton, the Raiders had just 332 total yards.
Until Denton Ryan running back Tyrone Williams broke out (136 yards and two touchdowns in the second half), the Raiders managed to stay close thanks to four first-quarter McKinney turnovers. Senior wideout Red Shannon fumbled on the Lions’ first two possessions, both times in Raiders territory, and senior quarterback Robert Somborn threw interceptions on their next two drives.
“Obviously we work on those things, ball security and making good reads and good decisions,” Smith said. “We’ve got to give (Denton Ryan) a lot of credit. Their defense is always one of the best in the area. They put a lot of pressure on the quarterback and their secondary made some great plays tonight...They did a great job and forced those turnovers.”
Both Somborn and Shannon redeemed themselves before the half, hooking up on a 66-yard touchdown on the third play of the second quarter, and again on an 18-yard score on their next possession. Somborn passed for 293 yards and three touchdowns.
Shannon, seemingly determined to will the Lions to victory, answered two straight Denton Ryan touchdowns with scores of his own, a 3-yard run and a nifty 16-yard catch-and-run during which he broke several tackles while reversing his field from left to right, into the end zone. He scored all four McKinney touchdowns – pushing his season total to 12 – and finished with 194 rushing yards and 174 receiving yards.
“My team looked for me to make plays and get us on the board, so I didn’t want to let them down,” Shannon said. “We have five playmakers out there, so if they just spotlight me, then other people are going to step up and make plays.”
The Raiders also made plays, though, particularly Williams, who scored on 41-yard and 46-yard runs in the second half. The latter – the game’s final touchdown – came with 4:28 left in the fourth quarter, right after McKinney had again pulled even to make it 28-28.
“They believed we were going to win the game tonight, they really believed that,” Smith said. “We had a chance, we just let it slip through our fingers.”
Like when McKinney failed to capitalize on junior safety Jontrell Rocquemore’s third-quarter interception that could have led to a Lions lead. Instead, Somborn – who had only two picks coming into the game – threw his fourth interception on the night, this one returned by Raiders defensive lineman B.J. Floyd for a touchdown.
Still, McKinney looked poised to tie or take the lead on its final drive, with Somborn completing consecutive 20-yard and 18-yard passes, but an illegal procedure penalty ultimately set up the final fourth-and-long play, an incompletion. With just one timeout, the Lions could only watch as Denton Ryan ran the clock out.
McKinney, which has a bye this week, will use the extra time to learn from Friday and prepare for its first-ever 5A game, its district opener Oct. 12 against Plano Senior.
“That’s going to burn a hole in them, and they’re going to come back harder,” Smith said. “We’ve got a lot of games left, and I’m excited about the possibilities and what we can do because nobody’s expecting us to do anything. But we believe we will; we believe we’re a good football team, and we have to prove to a lot of people that we can be successful.”