The School Newspaper of Plano Senior High School.

Panthers outpace Wildcats for rivalry win

October 13, 2015

Struggles on offense and special teams were the story of the night on Friday as Plano lost to the rival Plano East Panthers 32-15 at Clark Stadium.

The Panthers began the game’s scoring with just over six minutes remaining in the first quarter, as junior quarterback Miklo Smalls found junior wide receiver Cameron Moore for a 12-yard touchdown pass. The scoring play was set up by a 41-yard punt return by senior Zadok Wilson, enabling the Plano East offense to begin at the Plano 13.

Plano East opted for a two-point conversion attempt instead of an extra point following three of their four touchdowns on the night, with their first attempt successful as Smalls connected with senior wide receiver Audie Omotosho for the two yard score.

For their part, the Wildcat offense showed some promise on their second offensive series, advancing as far as the Plano East 25 yard line after a long pass from senior quarterback Matt Keys to senior wide receiver Tarence Raymond. However, a false start penalty on Plano and a sack by Plano East junior Grayson Diepenbrock prevented the Wildcats from coming away with points.

The ensuing punt by Plano was met by another big return by Wilson, this one for 50 yards to the Plano 41. This set up an eight-play scoring drive by the Panthers that concluded with Smalls running in for the touchdown from five yards out. Despite an unsuccessful rushing attempt on the two-point conversion, the Panthers led 14-0 with 10:18 remaining in the first half.

The Wildcats continued to sputter on offense as the first half began to expire, with Keys intercepted by Plano East junior defensive back Marcus Russell. The interception gave the Panthers good field position at the Plano 19, but they settled for a 45 yard field goal by senior Cesar Sanchez after the Wildcat defense held firm.

Plano East had another opportunity to add points before halftime after a long run by senior running back Desmond Bowden to the Plano 30. But Plano put up a stiff defensive stand, headlined by a sack by senior defensive end Tucker Pollacia, to ensure that the score remained 17-0 in favor of Plano East at halftime.

Plano East senior Zadok Wilson speeds away from the Plano defense during Friday’s 32-15 win for the Panthers. Photo by Varsity Views Dallas.

Plano received the second half kickoff and the offense got into gear with a 13-play drive that was capped by a one-yard touchdown run by Keys, making the score 17-7. Taking nearly six minutes to complete, the drive’s key play saw Keys convert a fourth down and one at midfield by rushing the ball to keep the Wildcat offense on the field.

Plano’s offense was then unable to capitalize on a stop by the defense that presented a chance to reduce the deficit to just three, with the Wildcats going three-and-out deep in their own territory. A poor punt allowed the Panthers to begin their next offensive series at the Plano 26 yard line, although they again settled for a field goal by Sanchez to make the score 20-7 late in the third quarter.

As the game progressed into the fourth quarter, Plano remained within striking distance, down just two possessions. However, a critical 19-yard sack on Keys ended Plano’s ninth possession of the night and gave the Panthers good starting field position near midfield.

Plano East turned this promising field position into points right after regaining possession, with sophomore Jonathan Meadors breaking loose for a 59-yard touchdown run. The touchdown was followed by another failed two-point conversion attempt, leaving the score at 26-7 in Plano East’s favor with nine minutes left in the game.

Several pass interference penalties against Plano East allowed the Wildcats to immediately get back in the game, with Keys adding a 21-yard rush of his own to reach the Panther three yard line. Senior running back Brandon Stephens ended the drive with a three-yard touchdown run, and Keys added a two-point conversion run to make the score 26-15 with 5:40 left to play.

Chances of a Wildcat comeback improved after junior Nic Melson intercepted Smalls on the next Panther possession, giving the Plano offense starting field position at the Plano East 34. The ensuing Wildcat drive fizzled out quickly, as two incompletions and a rush for negative 10 yards forced Plano into a fourth down and 20, which they failed to convert.

The game was put out of reach by Plano East soon afterwards, as Meadors sped past the Wildcat defense for a 67-yard touchdown run. The run was Meadors’ second long-distance touchdown of the night and capped the scoring for both sides at 32-15 after the extra point was missed.

The loss drops Plano’s record to 3-4 on the season with a 1-4 mark in District 6-6A, while Plano East is now 5-1 with a 3-1 district record, including wins over both Plano and Plano West.

Next up for the Wildcats is a home game on Friday night for Homecoming against McKinney Boyd.

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