The McKinney football team flexed its muscles all night long Thursday, putting together a blue-collar, workmanlike effort in the Lions’ win over Irving MacArthur at MISD Stadium.
When the final buzzer sounded, McKinney had racked up over 500 total yards of offense while holding MacArthur to under 200 yards of total offense for a 48-10, wire-to-wire victory. The win was the most dominant and complete of the Marcus Shavers era, as the Lions moved to .500 for the first time since the 2017 season.
“It was good to play a complete game, as our goal was to come out and play a complete four quarters of football tonight,” Shavers said. “We had some lows in the game, but, overall, I’m proud of the way we played the four quarters and of how we competed during adverse times. We’ve got to continue taking care of the football better than we did tonight, because we can’t afford to keep turning it over, but we’ll get that fixed and settled while we enjoy this win tonight.”
McKinney was led by rising sophomore quarterback Sampson Nazarko, who put together a very efficient stat line despite only starting the second game of his varsity career. Nazarko completed 18-of-23 passes on the night for 219 yards along with rushing for 30 yards on the ground.
MacArthur couldn’t find any answers to Nazarko’s connection with senior wide receiver Isaiah Rojas, and the Cardinals paid for it dearly. The two Lions connected four times on five targets for 105 yards, a performance highlighted by touchdown passes of 33, 25 and 34 yards.
“We have such a great connection. In fact, I’ve connected with both Isaiah's, as they have given me a ton of confidence to just put it up and trust that they are going to go and get it,” Nazarko said. “Today, we kept pulling that safety down as they kept going one-on-one, and when they did that, we obviously kept making them pay for it. Going forward, we can’t let up and must not get ahead of ourselves. (We need to) stay humble and keep grinding.”
Thanks to a fumble and an interception on consecutive plays at the beginning of the third quarter, McKinney opened the door and allowed MacArthur to get a quick score to cut the Lion lead to 24-10 early in the second half. Just like they did last week against North, though, McKinney turned to sophomore Lamarrya Ransem, and the talented running back delivered.
On the ensuing drive, Ransem carried the ball four out of six plays from scrimmage while racking up 57 yards and wearing down MacArthur’s defense. The young running back capped off the drive with a physical, 26-yard touchdown run to put an exclamation point on the game while giving McKinney a comfortable, 31-10 lead.
Ransem finished the game with a game-high 175 yards on 23 carries, with 105 of those yards coming in the second half. Thanks to his physical style of running, Ransem has racked up 319 yards on the ground this season, with over 200 yards and all three of his touchdowns coming in the second half of games.
If this is an indication of what lies ahead for McKinney, Ransem and the rest of the Lions’ talented offense will be a problem in the second half of games for all future opponents.
“I just keep it simple by finding holes and finding some yardage while fighting for yardage and running the ball hard,” Ransem said. “I’d like to thank my football family and my coaches for pushing me hard every day, because none of this would be happening without them. I’m just going to keep watching film and working hard to improve every day.”
McKinney travels to Richardson next week, where the Lions will take on J.J. Pearce. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday at Eagle-Mustang Stadium.