DALLAS – District 9-6A play started with a thud for a Plano West program working toward finding its footing under first-year head coach Tyler Soukup, as a 38-3 loss at Jesuit ran the program’s losing streak to 30 games.
Still, Soukup was adamant that his current group is responsible only for an 0-4 mark heading into the second week of 9-6A action and a renewed rivalry with Plano Senior.
“I reminded them all week that, although I think the community (naturally wants) to saddle these kids with that burden, and it’s not theirs. Never in this history of the world has this team existed with this coaching staff, so this team didn’t lose 20-something straight games,” Soukup said. “This team’s lost four. … I think they’ll get up and get excited to play Plano.”
The contest was effectively over nearly as soon as it began, as the Rangers burst out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter on a pair of touchdowns from senior E.J. Smith – one through the air and one on the ground – and another from senior quarterback Rance Holman to fellow senior Jonathan Paredes.
The Rangers outgained the Wolves, 162-24, in the frame, recording 67 yards on the turf and 95 through the air. The Wolves couldn’t establish anything in the passing game in the quarter, as senior signal-caller Andrew Picco and company tallied just 3 yards against 21 yards rushing.
The going didn’t get much easier in the second quarter, as the Rangers tacked on another 10 points on a 27-yard field goal from junior Parker Brown and a touchdown pass from Holman to senior Christian Allocco, who made a highlight-reel grab in the back of the end zone to bring the game to its 31-0 tally at the break.
Jesuit finished the half with a 227-105 advantage in total yards, led by three wideouts with more than 30 yards in the first two frames – junior Kyle Heckel went for 40 yards on two grabs, Smith had 39 yards on two catches and senior Wyatt Garrett hauled in two catches for 32 yards.
That variety on the attack, Soukup said, proved a tall order for the West stoppers.
“Ultimately, I think that’s what every good offense is trying to do,” he said. “They’ve got perimeter threats, they’ve got a talented running back who can obviously split out and play some receiver as well, and they make it really challenging, defensively, to pick your poison.”
There was a bright spot on the defensive side of the football for the Wolves, however, as Soukup said junior Jacob Stephens has continued to respond after a slow start to his 2019 campaign.
“Not that he didn’t play well the first two weeks, but the last two weeks, he’s been exceptional,” Soukup said.
Though the Wolves would tack on a field goal on a garbage-time drive led by senior quarterback Danny Davis in the second half and prevent a shut out, there wasn’t much else to take away from the West attack.
The three-point effort was the program’s lowest of the season and the school’s only without a touchdown thus far, and the 35-point margin of defeat is the largest of 2019.
“It doesn’t feel good right now. I’m struggling to find the positives in this one,” Soukup said. “I think in every other game, offensively, I could point out a bunch of them, but I’ve also learned this in however many years I’ve coached: When you watch the video, it’s never as good as you thought it was, and it’s never as bad as you thought it was.”
West and Plano Senior will kick off at 7 p.m. Friday at Clark Stadium, with each program in search of its first conference victory.
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