McKINNEY – The Prosper football team entered District 9-6A action this week as one of the hottest teams in the area, and the Eagles didn’t skip a beat Friday night against McKinney.
Led by junior quarterback Jackson Berry’s four touchdowns and three takeaways by its defense, Prosper cruised to a commanding 49-14 victory over the Lions at McKinney ISD Stadium.
“We’re 1-0 in district and that’s all it is,” said Brandon Schmidt, Prosper head coach. “Every district game is big game for us.”
The tone was set early on the opening drive when Prosper junior linebacker Aiden Siano intercepted McKinney sophomore Sampson Nazarko on just the third play of the game deep in Lions territory.
Although the Eagles turned the ball over on downs on the ensuing possession, the defense wasn’t done flocking to the football.
After the two sides traded punts, Prosper picked off Nazarko again in the opening quarter, this time by senior Tate Nichols at the McKinney 14-yard line.
That led to a 14-yard touchdown grab by Prosper senior wide receiver Hayden Metcalf on the next play before the turnover bug struck again.
Three plays into the following drive, McKinney junior running back RJ Carver coughed off the rock only to be recovered by Eagles junior Herman Lee in terrific field position once again at the 25-yard line.
Moments later, Prosper extended its lead with a 10-yard touchdown strike from Berry to senior Will Prendergast, and the Lions simply could not recover from the early deficit and costly miscues.
“We have to do a better job of taking care of the football,” said Marcus Shavers, McKinney head coach. “You’re not going to beat anybody in this league turning the ball over at that rate. You want to try and make them work for their points, but we gave them two short fields.
“The bottom line is when you play good football teams you have to execute at a high level, and we didn’t do that tonight. Credit to Prosper, that’s the best team we have played this year.”
Berry has been on a tear this year in his first season under center as the Eagles starting quarterback, and he continued his red-hot play while taming the Lions.
The junior standout finished with 281 yards through the air and five total touchdowns, all despite not having his main target thus far in sophomore Tyler Bailey, who did not suit up in the win.
The beneficiary of Bailey being left out of the lineup was Metcalf, who hauled in eight receptions for 170 yards and two touchdowns, the second coming with 4:14 left in the third from 25 yards out that put the Eagles ahead by 35.
“I don’t know if it’s Jackson and Hayden, it’s about Jackson and whichever receiver is going to have a hit night that night,” Schmidt said. “Jackson is doing a great job finding the open guy, and our receivers are doing a great job catching the ball.”
After falling behind by five scores late in the third quarter, the McKinney offense came alive and mustered its most successful possession of the game with an eight-play, 75-yard drive that was capped off by a 5-yard touchdown scamper from Carver.
The highlight of that scoring drive came on the first play with an explosive 40-yard run by sophomore Lamarrya Ransem, who led the Lions offensively with 164 yards on 21 carries.
However, the offensive resurgence was too little, too late as the Eagles soared to a 4-0 start, while McKinney kicked off the district season with a loss.
Prosper plans to extend its winning streak to five next week when it hosts Plano East, and the Lions look to get back on track against Allen.