The 28th ESPY Awards, the annual ceremony devoted to honoring standout professional and collegiate athletes and teams of the past year, aired on June 21.
It's the sports equivalent to the Oscars or Grammys, so Star Local Media has decided in recent years to put a high school spin on the concept.
This has been a year that nobody will soon forget with the COVID-19 pandemic touching every facet of life, including high school sports, which saw its athletic year truncated on March 12.
Though many of the spring sports were unable to complete their stories, McKinney showcased no shortage of notable individual and team athletic achievements, so it is only appropriate to put the last year of local varsity sports into an award-winning perspective.
In recent weeks, McKinney’s top athletes, teams and games have been recognized among nine different awards.
With that said, Star Local Media presents its eighth edition of The Varsitys, the third of a three-part series.
Best Male Athlete
Dillon Markiewicz, McKinney North
Knowing this would be his only shot as the No. 1 signal-caller, Markiewicz worked tirelessly last summer to get his game and body in gear to do something special for the Bulldogs.
Fast-forward to the 2019 season, Markiewicz produced one of the most prolific seasons in the state after passing for 4,187 yards and 45 touchdowns while helping lead North to its first undefeated district title.
Markiewicz leaves McKinney holding every single-season and career passing record in North’s program history and ends his career holding the McKinney ISD record for the most passing yards and touchdown passes in a single season. The record-breaking Markiewicz passed for 2,606 yards and 30 touchdowns against opponents who made the playoffs and led the area in passing by averaging an eye-popping 380 pass yards and four touchdown passes per game.
His postseason accolades include a unanimous pick as Star Local Media’s all-area offensive player of the year. Currently, he’s enrolled at Syracuse University where he’s working to be able to take snaps for the Orangemen this fall.
McKinney vs. McKinney Boyd, football
The passion, emotion and pageantry was on display Nov. 7 at MISD Stadium in the final game of the regular season and another instant classic in McKinney’s annual “Crosstown Showdown.”
The Lions got three second-half interceptions, multiple defensive stops, and a game-winning field goal by kicker Seth Cox late in the fourth quarter to beat McKinney Boyd, 10-7, to win the “Crosstown Showdown” rivalry game for the second consecutive season.
Four of the game’s five turnovers occurred in the second half, but none bigger than the interception by McKinney defensive back Adrian Shepherd. The talented safety made a nice play on a deep pass by Boyd’s Carter Whitefield to preserve the Lions’ history-making victory and put them back in the postseason for the second consecutive year.
McKinney vs. Plano Senior, girls basketball
It’s very hard to beat a team three times in a row no matter the level of competition, but especially at the high school level.
The McKinney girls’ basketball team put that theory to work in their regional championship clash with district 9-6A champion Plano, who they lost to by 11 and eight points in their two regular-season meetings. After a very physical and intense game where there were more airballs shot than made 3-pointers, McKinney’s stingy defense punched its ticket to the state tournament by grinding out a 32-28 win.
McKinney consistently changed everything defensively from switching zones to going man-to-man and even pressing full court at times, which combined to throw Plano off. The Lionettes put together a defensive gem by executing and forcing Plano to miss its first 13 shots from the field.
On the day, Plano shot an abysmal 10-for-55 from the field including 0-for-14 on 3-pointers. With the money on the table in the fourth quarter, Plano went 1-for-5 at the free throw line, while McKinney made winning plays to pull of the upset.