For the first time in program history, the McKinney Boyd football team is 3-0 to begin a season. It did so behind a familiar formula Thursday from McKinney ISD Stadium against visiting Richardson Pearce.
The Broncos held an opponent off the scoreboard in the first half for the second time in three games, which afforded Boyd’s offense enough time to find its footing in a 30-7 victory.
It marked the latest chapter in Boyd’s resurgence, just under one year removed from starting its 2020 campaign at 0-3 before going on to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2014. Head coach Joe McBride has plenty seen plenty change within the program as he undertakes his third season leading the Broncos.
“We have a good culture and this is a group that wants to win,” he said. “We have great leadership. I’m excited for them. At this time last year, we were battling. We had a quarterback with a broken hand and had to pull up a guy from JV.”
One constant has been the play of Boyd’s defense — a unit holding opponents to 9.3 points per game this season. On Thursday, Pearce logged just one snap in the Boyd red zone, which came in the waning moments of the fourth quarter and resulted in an interception by senior Jack Karl.
The Mustangs were limited to just 233 yards on the night and committed two turnovers — junior Brett Burton intercepted Pearce early in the third quarter. Senior linebacker Ethan Wesloski routinely gave Pearce fits in the backfield with multiple tackles for a loss of yardage.
“They have a good passing attack. Coach (David) Collins is known for how well he throws the ball with that spread offense,” McBride said. “We knew they’d pose challenges, but it just goes back to doing what we do and staying disciplined. Everything we do is in our system.”
The Broncos countered with 501 yards and scored the first 23 points of the ballgame, despite some initial troubles in the red zone. Moving the ball wasn’t a problem early on for the Broncos, who gained 267 yards in the first half, but the team’s first two drives both stalled out near the goal line and resulted in field goals of 26 and 25 yards by junior Caleb Sempebwa. The kicker added a make from 20-yard make with 3:52 left in the third quarter.
“We kicked too many field goals. We had a bust that first time and then a couple penalties,” McBride said. “We just have to clean that up and keep getting better.”
In the closing moments of the first half, the Broncos at last found the end zone. Senior Carter Whitefield punctuated an 11-play, 75-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run with just 14 seconds remaining in the half for a 13-0 lead.
Pearce’s most opportune shot an first-half points materialized one drive earlier, advancing all the way to the Boyd 19-yard line. But a 36-yard field goal by Kristian Montalvan went awry after Boyd senior Tre’ Collins burst through off the edge to block the kick and wrest control back to the Broncos.
McKinney Boyd 30, Pearce 7 @ 7:43/4QThe Ryan Shackleton-Peyton Shaw hums once again. The Boyd WR hauls in a 32 yd TD pass for his 2nd trip to the end zone over the past 4 minutes. pic.twitter.com/qMMym4DCr8— Matt Welch (@MWelchSLM) September 10, 2021
It wasn’t until the fourth quarter when Boyd’s downfield passing game opened up with junior Ryan Shackleton finding senior Peyton Shaw twice down the seam for touchdowns. The two connected on scores of 22 and 32 yards to punctuate the victory.
“They were cheating their coverages pretty bad and worrying about (senior Caden Park),” McBride said. “They were doing some obvious stuff and we capitalized. We’ve got some good playmakers and we just have to keep it simple and get it to them.”
Shackleton competed 17-of-26 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns, both going the way of Shaw who caught seven passes for 105 yards on the night. Whitefield headlined a rushing attack that generated nearly 7 yards per carry by rushing 23 times for 155 yards and a touchdown.
The Broncos look to continue their program-best start in a week with a visit to Northwest ISD Stadium to meet Trophy Club Byron Nelson at 7 p.m. Thursday in a game that will be televised on CW33.
“We appreciate being 3-0 but the games we have left are extremely hard,” McBride said. “We played hard and did enough to win, but there were still a lot of mistakes. We’re proud to be 3-0 but it’s back to work for next week.”