For the second straight game, the opportunity for Plano West to end its 30-plus game losing streak appeared to present itself.
Instead, once again, the Wolves fell short. McKinney Boyd earned the victory inside Clark Stadium Friday, 35-22, extending the West skid to 32 games.
Though the streak continued, head coach Tyler Soukup said he’s still excited about the overall direction of his program.
“You just (keep plugging away), the same way we got here. I couldn’t be more proud of our kids,” Soukup said. “We’ve got a great attitude. The message that I’m going to tell the kids is that I love coaching them. Our sideline is fun. Our practices are fun. … The kids are great. You just go back to work. It’s that simple.
“We played Plano to a tough one because we kept working at 0-4, and we had these guys on the ropes, too, and got in our own way once again.”
West struck first in the first half after a quarter of ineptitude on offense for both sides, as senior Andrew Picco found fellow senior Cole Carter in behind the Bronco defense for a 65-yard score that put the Wolves up, 7-0, in the second frame.
Then, following a forced fumble from the West defense, Picco and company appeared poised to drive down and make the contest a two-score affair.
Instead, Boyd got the ball back with a fumble recovery of its own, marching 61 yards and capping its first scoring drive with a 3-yard touchdown rush from sophomore signal-caller Carter Whitefield.
After a West punt on the ensuing drive, a long completion from Whitefield to senior Cole Green had the Broncos knocking on the door once again, and senior Jake Fex would punch it in from a yard out five plays later to give Boyd a 14-7 advantage at the half.
The sequence of turnovers, Boyd head coach Joe McBride said, was critical in tilting the field back in the Broncos’ favor.
“It’s really big. We responded really well after having a turnover, and we were down, 7-0,” he said. “I’m just proud of our kids for not going in there pouting, but going in there and busting their butt to make a play.”
The Broncos piled on with an early third-quarter score on a 30-yard scamper from sophomore Jay Thompson, who busted free on fourth-and-short to make it 21-7, Broncos. The score, along with a pass from Whitehead to senior Jack Hagan and a trick-play strike from Hagan to senior Alex Taylor, proved to be enough to hold off a late charge from West.
The Wolves got second-half scores by way of a field goal from senior Randy Bond, an 8-yard scamper from senior Wyatt Johnson and a 3-yard, garbage-time touchdown run from senior Kamryn Settles.
While the committee approach in the backfield worked for Boyd, Fex had the most solid night in the absence of injured senior Ja’Tyler Shaw, posting 112 yards on 16 carries and his lone score.
McBride said the team effort will need to continue if Shaw, who he said could return next week, remains out.
“We’ve got to pull together and be a team. It isn’t about one individual,” he said. “We had a lot of guys step up in that area. … It’s a team thing, and it’s not about one guy.”
Whitefield finished the evening with 177 yards and the lone score through the air, adding 17 yards and the touchdown on the turf. Opposite him, Picco threw for 148 yards and a single touchdown and interception, while no West rusher eclipsed 25 yards.
The win was a much-needed one for the Broncos, who improved to 1-2 in league play with four games remaining.
For now-0-6 West, the march toward its first win in more than three years continues.
“You’d like to think (these are games we’d win next year),” Soukup said. “Hopefully, our culture has taken root by then, and we’ll stop making our mistakes.”
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