McKinney North scored on all nine of its first-half possessions while racking 525 total yards and scoring 63 points in a 70-36 victory over Magnolia West in their Class 5A Division I bi-district matchup Friday at McKinney ISD Stadium.
The Bulldogs, who won the first-ever game played at MISD Stadium last season, became the first team to win a playoff game at McKinney’s $70 million palace. With the victory, North advances to area round for the second time in three seasons where it will take on Lancaster.
The Bulldogs’ 70 points are the most scored in a playoff game in program history and the most the team has scored this season, as they have now scored 62 points or more five times this year.
“The first half was pretty good stuff and we needed that because we struggled on defense and props to their coaching staff for doing a great job scouting us out,” said Mike Fecci, North head coach. “We are going to celebrate tonight and come back tomorrow to prepare to play a tough Lancaster team next week. Everyone left playing is good and each week you move forward the teams go from good to great and we’ve got to do what we do and see where it goes.”
As usual, North was led by star senior quarterback Dillon Markiewicz, who threw for 431 yards despite not taking a single snap in the fourth quarter. Markiewicz did all his major damage in the first half as the record-setting passer completed 13-of-21 throws for 350 yards and five touchdowns.
North’s offense came out hot and never let off the gas, producing 10 plays of 20 or more yards in the first half alone. Four of the Bulldogs’ explosive plays came off Markiewicz’s right arm as he connected on four touchdowns of 40 yards or more.
On the season, Markiewicz has now thrown for 3,877 yards and 43 touchdowns to increase his MISD passing records. With his first playoff win freshly posted, Markiewicz is focused on North’s next task of trying to beat Lancaster to head to the regional quarterfinal round for the first time since 2014.
“The first half, we came out firing and I’m so proud of our guys because we always talk about offensively putting it together in one game and I felt scoring on 10 out of 11 drives is pretty dang good,” Markiewicz said. “It’s huge to peak at the right time because we’ve talked about that all season and to actually do it is amazing. Now, we’ve got to put our heads down and get to work so that we can work hard towards trying to beat a tough Lancaster team.”
North’s offensive explosion was so impressive that Lancaster coaches who came to McKinney to scout the Bulldogs left at halftime knowing they would be seeing them in the area round next week.
Someone who the Tigers must account for if they plan on slowing down North’s vaunted offense is Markiewicz’s go-to wideout, junior J.J. Henry. The speedy receiver caught touchdown passes of 49 and 52 yards on his way to racking up a team-high 184 yards receiving.
Henry’s second touchdown catch of 52 yards made North program history, as it was his 16th of the season and gave him the program’s record for most touchdowns caught in a single season.
“It a blessing to get the record because all my hard work has paid off, but I couldn’t have done it without my offensive line, my coaches and my quarterback, especially,” Henry said. “They didn’t do their research on us because if they did, they would have known if you give us a single side, we are going to take advantage of it. This week, we’ve got to practice hard and get better so that we can come back and beat a good Lancaster team next week.”