McKINNEY – Matt Gadek broke a 68-yard run on the first play from scrimmage and never looked back.
When Gadek finally slowed down, the McKinney star senior running back finished with a jaw-dropping 599 rushing yards to set the UIL state record for most rushing yards in a game while leading the Lions to a big 63-50 victory over Plano East on Thursday. Gadek’s historic game broke the previous record of 587 yards set by Somerville's Daryl Ellis in 1998.
Gadek not only became the state’s single-game rushing king, but also became McKinney’s all-time rushing leader and now has run for 4,378 yards and counting breaking McKinney Hall of Honor inductee Donta Hickson’s previous record of 4,133 career yards.
“I will remember this state record the rest of my life because it’s about me and my brothers going out there and winning a hard-fought game,” Gadek said. “We knew it was going to be a shootout and we did what we had to do. It feels awesome to be a part of the first McKinney team to sweep the Plano ISD schools because we told everyone not to sleep on us because this is the new McKinney.”
When breaking down Gadek’s performance, the numbers are simply mind-blowing. The shifty senior running back produced 357 yards and four touchdowns on 22 carries in the first half to give himself a shot at history. That production alone got Gadek his third career 300-yard rushing game and would have been enough to be the third best rushing performance in a game in Lions history.
“I want to give my offensive line a shout out because I wouldn’t have been able to do what I did and our team wouldn’t be as good as it is without these guys working hard and making holes for me,” Gadek said. “I don’t really know what to say anymore but that this is an awesome moment and I can’t wait to celebrate with my team and family.”
The record didn’t come without some suspense, as Gadek broke a 31-yard run off right tackle in the final minute of the game on his final carry to seal the win for the Lions while forever putting his name in the state record books.
Besides breaking Hickson’s all-time rushing record, Gadek tied the McKinney legend and North great Ronald Jones II for the MISD record for most touchdowns in a game with six. Even more impressive, five of Gadek’s touchdowns were an answer to East touchdowns as the Panthers kept the pressure on McKinney to score all night.
On the team front, McKinney scored on every one of its offensive possessions as sophomore running back Cordrick Dunn and senior receiver Troydell Griffin rushed and hauled in the Lions’ three other touchdowns.
East produced its own offensive fireworks. Junior quarterback Brandon Mallory threw for 392 yards and two touchdowns on the night while senior running back Trey Hunter returned to the lineup to rack up 116 yards on the ground highlighted by a 58-yard touchdown run.
With the Lions grabbing another victory over a PISD school, McKinney now finds itself one step closer from making the playoffs for the first time in eight years.
“For us, tonight was about getting to 3-1 against Plano East which is a tough team who happened to be in the way of us accomplishing our goal,” said Jeff Smith, McKinney head coach. “I’m proud of the guys, because this was a big win and our guys responded perfectly to us challenging them all week to be physical. Everybody is proud of Matt’s accomplishment and this outstanding team victory, but we aren’t satisfied at all and have a lot of work to do while we get ready for next week.”