Connor Michelsen hooked up on touchdown passes in each half with Steele Hoetger and Collin Brence had an interception in each half Friday as a group of seniors accustomed to living on the edge came through again.
Plano (7-3, 4-3) defeated Plano West, 27-17, at John Clark Field to win the city championship and with it came a playoff berth for the fourth straight season. Plano will meet Coppell at 1 p.m. Saturday at Coppell in a bi-district playoff game.
For consecutive seasons, Plano used a late season rally to qualify for the playoffs. A year ago it took consecutive wins over McKinney Boyd and Jesuit Prep. This time, Plano rolled through Lewisville, Plano East and Plano West, all at John Clark Field, and clinched a playoff berth as it got some help from Flower Mound Marcus.
Plano was in trouble early, needing to defeat Plano West and get a Marcus win over Hebron to clinch a playoff berth. Plano West drew a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and Marcus got down to Hebron.
Then Plano began a run to keep its season alive. Michelsen capped a 9-play, 57-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to cut the lead in half with 1:23 left in the first quarter. Sam Morell and Brence interceptions helped give Plano the halftime lead. The Morell interception was turned into a 33-yard Moore field goal and Brence’s pick resulted in the first touchdown pass from Michelsen to Hoetger for a 17-14 halftime lead.
But, Marcus was still trailing.
Plano West’s bid at upsetting Plano’s chances at a playoff berth – a feat that would have left all Plano ISD teams out of the playoffs for the first time since 1989 – seemed to get a boost when Leon Taylor connected on a 38-yard field goal to tie the game, 17-17, with 11:50 left to go.
Michelsen found Hoetger on a 4-yard touchdown pass – their second of the night – with 7:39 to go and Moore iced the game with 4:04 left when he connected on a 31-yard field goal. For good measure, Collin Brence hauled in his second interception to stop any thoughts of a rally.
At about the same time that Plano was putting the final touches on the victory, Marcus was rallying at Hebron. It was down 7-0 at halftime. Hebron got up 14-7 and again 21-14. But Marcus scored a late touchdown and was successful on the conversion run to help lift Plano into the playoffs.
Plano 27, Plano West 17
INDIVIDUALSRushing — W: Carson Smith 12-20, Jarrett Horan 7-14, Kameron Haddock 3-3. P: Kevin Merrill 8-47, Murat Kuzu 14-56, Connor Michelsen 14-1. Passing — W: Carson Smith 6-17-3, 134 yards. P: Connor Michelsen 12-20-0, 183 yards; Murat Kuzu 0-1-0, 0 yards; Collin Brence 0-1-0, 0 yards. Receiving — W: Carlos Wiggins 4-131, Ryan Doyle 2-3. P: Steele Hoetger 6-92, Brandon Hamilton 2-45, Clayton Parlin 1-27, Kevin Merrill 1-12, Hunter Gore 2-7.