Allen vs Atascocita

Allen’s Malakai Thornton attempts to bring down an Atascocita ball-carrier during Friday’s non-district ballgame.

 

One of the most notable results in the state across high school football’s second week emanated from Eagle Stadium, where Atascocita defeated Allen, 41-20 — a result laced with plenty of history.

The loss snapped Allen’s 84-game regular-season winning streak — the longest such mark in the Texas prep game’s history, according to TexasHighSchoolFootballHistory.com — and doubled as the Eagles’ first-ever loss inside their $59.6 million home stadium. Allen had won 122 home games since Eagle Stadium first opened in 2012.

That Atascocita beat Allen isn’t the shocking part of this equation. Atascocita is an elite team, currently ranked No. 5 in the state, and one that made a similar trek up north to play Allen last season. Allen cruised to a 52-27 victory in the 2020 meeting against an Atascocita team that was both breaking in a litany of new starters and playing its first game of the season.

That a more seasoned Atascocita team got the better of an Allen bunch still finding its footing under a new coaching regime isn’t the surprise — it’s how the result materialized.

Another notable stat to emerge from Friday’s game was Allen suffering its first double-digit loss since September 2008 to Euless Trinity (24-14). 

In the 13 years since, it was fair to call Allen “blowout proof” — even in playoff defeats like Austin Westlake in 2015, The Woodlands in 2016 or Duncanville in 2018, Allen faced gaudy deficits early on only to scrap and claw in the second half and give themselves a fighting chance late.

Chalk that up to timely adjustments by Allen’s coaching staff and the team’s ability to impose its depth and wear opponents down, among other things.

Allen had no such luck when facing a 20-17 halftime deficit on Friday. Atascocita struck for 14 consecutive points late in the second quarter that sparked a run where Allen was outscored 27-0 before mustering its lone three points of the second half.

Allen will have plenty of chances to right the ship against worthy opposition — games against Cedar Hill, Prosper and Denton Guyer still loom — but amid a year of change within the Eagles’ football team, one of the core ingredients in the program’s longstanding identity was surprisingly absent on Friday.

Marcus seeking balance

Through just two games, it’s been a start of peaks and valleys for the two-time defending 6-6A champions. Marcus found the win column on Friday against an improved McKinney team 28-21 where it showcased a familiar firepower on offense that abruptly gave way to nearly two-and-a-half quarters of stagnancy.

The Marauders scored three touchdowns within the game’s first 10 minutes and led by as many as 28-0 with 5:27 left in the second quarter after quarterback Jaxxon Warren’s third touchdown pass of the ballgame. It was a seamless encore following the season opener where Warren completed 76% of his passes and threw for 407 yards and four touchdowns against Jesuit.

After building a four-score lead, Marcus’ next seven drives included four punts, two turnovers and a missed field goal. In the second half alone, the Marauders managed just 89 yards of offense.

McKinney was unable to overcome its sluggish start, in part due to a superlative effort on the defensive line by Marcus’ Bryson Barber, who totaled five sacks in the win.

But on the heels of a 38-34 loss to Jesuit the week prior, Friday amounted to an uneven showing by the Marauders. 

They’ve got an opportune chance at building some forward momentum Friday against a Keller Central team that Marcus has defeated by scores of 34-7 and 49-10 the past two seasons. But I’ve got an eye on the following week on Sept. 17 for a Mound Showdown date with rival Flower Mound, which put quite the scare into Highland Park last week.

That district opener could be a very telling few hours for both programs.

Picking up where he left off

One of the hidden gems during Plano West’s resurgent 2020 campaign was the play of running back Dermot White. While starter Tabren Yates battled injuries throughout the season, that gave White a chance to cut his teeth at the varsity level.

Even as a sophomore, the early returns were encouraging — he averaged more than 5 yards per carry on the ground and logged more than 100 receiving yards on the season.

Through two games, White is on pace to shatter that production during his junior year.

The second-year letterman authored one of the area’s more unique performances of the early season in Thursday’s 42-14 win over North Mesquite — White touched the ball five times and totaled 197 yards of offense with four touchdowns. He ran the ball four times for 160 yards and three scores, finding the end zone on runs of 82, 35 and 10 yards, as well as logging a 37-yard touchdown reception.

Tackled just one time in the win, White is currently sitting at 374 rushing yards and six touchdowns on just 17 carries for the season, good for a per-carry average of 22 yards. Coupled with 64 receiving yards and a touchdown, White is averaging 20.9 yards per touch on the year.

It’s just two games and that average will no doubt shrink, but it’s a promising sign for an offense that figures to lean on the run plenty this season.

It’s also a compelling subplot heading into what’s one of the area’s more under-the-radar matchups later this week when West hosts a much-improved Little Elm team that won its first two games by an average of 44.5 points.

Stat stuffers, Part II

Speaking of which, White’s monster performance in Week 2 vaulted the West running back up to No. 2 in the area among 6A programs in total rushing yardage. Impressive as that may be, consider that White is the area’s second-leading rusher despite being the only back among the area’s top 20 with less than 20 carries on the season so far.

White is one of three 6-6A running backs ranking within the area’s top four through two weeks. Plano East’s Ismail Mahdi still leads the pack with 427 yards on the ground and Lewisville’s Damien Martinez, fresh off a 255-yard blitzkrieg against Keller Timber Creek last week, sits at fourth in the area with 348 rushing yards on the year.

Warren held firm in the No. 2 spot for passing yardage, up to 669 yards and seven touchdowns through the air following just his third-ever varsity start. His teammate, receiver Dallas Dudley, has made a seamless transition as the Marauders’ go-to pass catcher. He’s atop the area ranks in receiving yardage for the second straight week at 369 yards, just 25 behind Coppell’s Dylan Nelson.

Other student-athletes in 5-6A or 6-6A cracking the top 10 in their respective categories are Flower Mound quarterback Nick Evers (587 passing yards, fifth) and Coppell quarterback Jack Fishpaw (557 passing yards, seventh).

For continued news and coverage on the local sports scene, follow Matt Welch on Twitter.

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