It seems as if the 2021 football season just kicked off yesterday, but the real battle begins next week with the start of 9-6A play.
The early stages of the season are often more about improving and building team chemistry than wins and losses, but both Rowlett and Sachse would like nothing more than to enter the start of district with momentum.
Who: Rowlett vs. McKinney
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: McKinney ISD Stadium
Records: Rowlett—0-2, McKinney—1-1
Series Record: First Meeting
The start of the season has not gone the way that Rowlett has hoped. After a close loss to Waxahachie in the opener, the Eagles were unable to keep pace with Plano last week in a 60-7 loss to fall to 0-2 on the year.
Quarterback Harris Boyd, who threw for 365 yards in the season opener, was injured on the third play of the game and did not return.
His absence left Rowlett scrambling and a number of mistakes and turnovers allowed the game to get out of hand.
The Eagles were able to avoid the shutout when Devonta Crow found the end zone on a 2-yard run late in the game.
McKinney had opened the season with a win over Springdale Har-Ber, a team out of Arkansas, but came up short last week in a 28-21 loss to Flower Mound Marcus.
The Lions dug themselves a 28-0 hole at halftime, but took control in the second half with 21 unanswered points only to have the rally come up just short.
Sampson Nazarko came into the game late and turned in a strong effort, completing 13-of-24 passes for 172 yards and three touchdowns.
Dylan Rhodes had six catches for 83 yards and a touchdown, while Messiah Washington had four grabs for 42 yards and a pair of scores.
The ground game, with Sheldon King and Bryan Jackson, was able to do enough to provide some balance, combining for 31 carries for 105 yards.
The McKinney defense did a solid job in limiting Flower Mound Marcus on the ground, but did surrender more than 300 yards through the air.
Who: Sachse vs. Denton Braswell
When: 7 p.m. Thursday
Where: Homer B. Johnson Stadium
Records: Sachse—1-1, Denton Braswell—1-1
Series Record: First Meeting
Sachse suffered a tough loss to Coppell in its season opener, but took out its frustrations on Friday, rolling up more than 700 yards of total offense in a 64-42 victory over Red Oak.
Quarterback Alex Orji had a monster game, completing 14-of-24 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns to Jhett Creel, Austin Phillips and Drew Nickerson, and adding eight carries for 193 yards and a pair of scores.
Running back Luke Keefer also had a big night, rushing the ball 17 times for 201 yards and three touchdowns.
Offensive lineman Connor Clearfield graded out at 85 percent and had three knockdown blocks to help lead a line that paved the way for the offense average better than 11 yards per play.
The Sachse defense gave up its share of yards during stages of the game, but came through when it mattered most, shutting Red Oak out in the fourth quarter to secure the victory.
Amechi Ofili was active up front with three solo tackles, two tackles for loss, two quarterback pressures and a sack.
Albion Krasniqi was also a force with three tackles, including one for loss, a pair of quarterback hurries and one sack. Lekeldric Vines recorded five tackles and James Adams added four stops.
The Bengals got started on the right foot with a 49-10 win over Horn, but dropped to 1-1 with last week’s 27-23 loss to Keller.
Braswell has been pretty balanced on offense thus far.
Quarterback Keegan Byrd has completed 26-of-59 passes for 346 yards and three touchdowns, but also has four interceptions.
Ja’ryan Wallace has been Byrd’s favorite target, with 12 receptions for 178 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Jaeden Acker and Kenji Hooker each have five catches.
Jaylon Burton has led the way in the ground game with 33 carries for 183 yards and two touchdowns, with Kerry Lacey adding 23 totes for 100 yards and a score.
Defensively, Bryce Montgomery has posted a team-high 19 tackles, including three for loss, Tyson Trammell has 15 stops, with two for loss, and Dylan Smith has a pair of interceptions.