A dose of old school football and enough passing to keep the defense honest Thursday lifted Plano past Allen, 28-13, at John Clark Stadium in a junior varsity District 8-5A game.
The run indeed did set up the pass as Plano had a pair of 100-yard rushers and scored twice on the ground in the first quarter. Then it went to the air for a pair of insurance scores, one from each quarterback, in the second and third quarter.
Plano (6-2, 3-1 in 8-5A) used the win to stay in contention to vie for the district championship. Allen (4-3, 2-1) took its first district loss of the season.
With Jared Janacek moved to a safety position, L.J. Ausama got his first opportunity to carry the load as the feature back in the offense. Two of his first five touches went for more than 20 yards and he finished with a season-high 129 yards rushing on 17 carries. He added an 8-yard reception for a season-high 137 all-purpose yards.
But he let Sam Morell cap the first two drives of the game on touchdown runs of 10 and 12 yards for a 14-0 lead with 31 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Morell finished with 106 yards rushing on 17 attempts.
Plano converted three of its first four drives into touchdowns. After Morell scored the eventual game-winner to close the first quarter, Richard Lagow got his opportunity at quarterback. He completed three of four passes on a 6-play, 63-yard drive that ended with his 36-yard touchdown strike to Branden Nguyen. The drive was a big difference-maker, as it allowed Plano to enter halftime with a two-score lead, 21-7. Prior to the Nguyen touchdown, Allen drove 84 yards in 11 plays to erase the shutout.
Nguyen followed a defensive stop to open the second half with his sixth touchdown reception of the season on a 16-yard completion from Morell.
Allen had a 15-play, 80-yard touchdown drive to narrow the margin to two scores and when it got the ball back the defense made it call another 12 plays to move 48 yards and then got a fourth-down stop, winding the clock with each snap.
Among the standouts on defense was Connor Peska, who recovered a fumble in the first half to set up Plano’s game-winning touchdown drive. Austin Hall stood out in the secondary and throughout the game Plano’s defensive line got penetration.
Quarterbacks Lagow and Morell had a matching 56 yards in the game and the team compiled 355 yards of offense, with 243 yards on 36 rushing attempts.
The win has Plano at least in second place in the alignment. Prior to Thursday, Plano East was 2-0 in district play and all other teams aside from Allen had losses. Depending on the result of East’s game Thursday, Plano could be the first team in the alignment to three district wins.
|Plano 28, Allen 13|
|P – Sam Morell 10 run (Chris Moore kick), 4:17|
|P – Morell 12 run (Moore kick), 0:31|
|P – Branden Nguyen 36 pass from Richard Lagow (Moore kick), 1:27|
|P – Nguyen 16 pass from Morell (Moore kick), 3:53|
|No Plano scoring|
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS Rushing – P: L.J. Ausuma 17-129, Sam Morell 17-106, Hunter Gore 1-10, Richard Lagow 1-(-2). Passing — P: Sam Morell 7-13-0, 56 yards; Richard Lagow 3-4-0, 56 yards. Receiving — P: Branden Nguyen 4-65, Bo Hawthorne 2-19, Hunter Gore 2-11, Sam Parks 1-9, L.J. Ausama 1-8.