FLOWER MOUND – The thing about an offensive slugfest is just one misstep, failure to counter-punch just one time can turn fate against you.
It seemed for moments Friday that Plano had managed to outduel Flower Mound, as Connor Michelsen passed for four scores, rushed for another touchdown and then caught a touchdown pass from Murat Kuzu. But Flower Mound rallied with 15 unanswered fourth quarter points to defeat Plano, 61-52, at Neal Wilson Stadium.
Plano (4-2, 1-2 in District 8-5A) turned in its most productive offensive showing in five years and it wasn’t enough to get past Flower Mound (4-2, 2-1).
Michelsen completed 22 of 39 passes for a career-high 410 yards, but it was Kuzu’s touchdown pass to the senior quarterback that appeared as if it would be the first stroke in sealing a victory over the high-octane Flower Mound offense. Kuzu, not unfamiliar to the quarterback position, took a snap out of the Wildcat formation and found Michelsen to give Plano a 49-40 lead with 7:28 left in the third quarter.
Flower Mound answered, but Chris Moore’s field goal with 1 second left in the third quarter put Plano up, 52-47. All the while, the defense had begun to hit stride. After a first half that saw Flower Mound score points on all seven possessions, the defense allowed it to score just once in its first four possessions of the second half.
Then, as quickly as momentum had swung in Plano’s favor, Flower Mound put together a pair of drives that sealed Plano’s fate. Josh Brake caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Paul Millard to go up, 55-52, with 6:18 left. Then, Hunter Lee edged out a 61-52 advantage on a 6-yard touchdown run with 1:39 left to seal the win.
In a passing showcase, Michelsen had matched Paul Millard, who completed 29 of 46 passes for 402 yards against the district’s top defense.
It was a shootout from the onset. Thirty-four points were scored in the first quarter, including 21 in the first 3:43. Brandon Hamilton answered Flower Mound with a 79-yard touchdown reception from Michelsen with 10:10 left in the first quarter. Then Michelsen hooked up with Kuzu on a 20-yard touchdown off a screen.
Flower Mound pulled out to a 27-14 lead with 11:19 left in the first half. Then Michelsen hit Hamilton on a 68-yard touchdown pass and proved he can run when he has to on the next drive when his 28-yard scamper set up his 2-yard keeper to trim the margin to 34-28. His second touchdown pass to Kuzu narrowed the Flower Mound lead to 37-35 with 1:03 left.
The only mistake may have been leaving Flower Mound even a minute on the clock. It got into field goal range with 8 seconds left in the half. A 50-yard attempt was blocked, but an infraction was called on Plano and a successive 34-yard Flower Mound attempt with time expired in the first half was good for a 40-35 halftime lead.
Plano responded to take its first lead of the game on a Ben Laures 8-yard return after a fake Flower Mound punt attempt was blocked. Then Matt Johnson’s fumble recovery set up the Kuzu pass to Michelsen for a 49-40 lead with 4:32 expired in the second half. From there, Flower Mound outscored Plano, 21-3, to seal the victory.
As an example of the success Plano had offensively, Michelsen went over 100 yards passing on the fifth snap of the game and Hamilton went over 100 yards receiving on the opening play of the third series. Hamilton finished with 176 yards on four receptions, but Flower Mound had two 100-yard receivers and a 100-yard rusher.
Flower Mound 61, Plano 52
Rushing — P: Murat Kuzu 11-40, Connor Michelsen 8-3, Kevin Merrill 2-2. F: Hunter Lee 24-123, Paul Millard 7-22, Connor Ashley 2-6, Team 1-(-32).
Passing — P: Connor Michelsen 22-39-0, 410 yards; Murat Kuzu 1-1-0, 4 yards. F: Paul Millard 29-46-0, 402 yards.
Receiving — P: Brandon Hamilton 4-176, Clayton Parlin 4-89, Murat Kuzu 7-61, Kevin Merrill 4-47, Steele Hoetger 2-11, Connor Michelsen 1-4. F: Josh Brake 5-123, Hunter Lee 7-119, Nolan LeSueur 10-72, Matt Cavanaugh 2-35, Marshall Williams 2-28, Connor Ashley 1-10, Delvin Holmes 1-9, Brad Bush 1-6.