Tag Archives | Matt Johnson
It took a throwback, razzle dazzle play call to create a spark and then five defensive takeaways Friday led Plano to a methodical blowout win over Plano East, 38-0, at John Clark Stadium in front of about 10,000 fans for the 29th meeting between the teams.
The victory tied the series, 14-14-1, but more importantly kept Plano (6-3, 3-3 in District 8-5A) in contention for a playoff berth. Plano East (4-5, 2-4) was eliminated with the loss.
Plano meets Plano West in the final game of the regular season at 7:30 p.m. Friday at John Clark Stadium. It needs a win and a Flower Mound Marcus victory at Hebron to clinch a playoff berth. If either doesn’t happen, the Plano ISD will be locked out of the playoffs.
Believed to be one of the best defenses in the area, Plano showed it Friday. The offense scored 21 points on Plano East turnovers, as the defense compiled five takeaways in a game for the second time this season. Plano East had a late fourth-quarter drive move to the Plano 1 before the fifth turnover helped seal the first shutout victory under coach Jaydon McCullough, the first shutout in 52 games – dating to a 2006 meeting against Richardson Berkner – and Plano’s first shutout of Plano East since the second game of the series in 1983.
But, it all started when offensive coordinator Linn Dickey dug deep into his bag of tricks and came up with a dandy early in the second quarter. Murat Kuzu took a handoff into the right flat and tossed it to Brandon Hamilton on an apparent reverse, but Hamilton turned it into an old school flea-flicker when he flipped the ball back to Connor Michelsen who launched a 49-yard touchdown pass to Steele Hoetger for a 7-0 lead with 11:17 left in the first half.
The offense had averaged 3 yards per play prior to the flea-flicker and on one play gained more than double the yards it had in the first quarter.
It seemed to be just the spark Plano needed. Four plays later Matt Johnson intercepted Corey Wesley when pressured by Steven Murray and a pair of Kuzu runs set up a 2-yard Michelsen touchdown run for a 14-0 lead. When East got the ball back, Plano’s defense demonstrated why it should be considered among the best. Taylor May dropped Nathan Meadors for a two-yard loss on first down and on second down Ben Laures and Arthur Skinner pounced on a ball rolling on the turf.
A mixture of ball-control offense and takeaway defense led to the second-half blowout. Plano East opened the second half with an onside pooch kickoff that failed. It was intended to just get past the hands team, but Plano handled it and took advantage of the short field. It drove 54 yards in 13 plays and Chris Moore – who controlled Plano East’s offense all night by pinning them deep on kickoffs and punts – converted a 20-yard field goal into a 17-0 lead, capping a drive that took the first 6:53 off the second quarter clock.
The second Plano East offensive play of the second half turned into a nightmare. Collin Brence, on a rare blitz from his safety position, sprinted into the pocket and drilled Wesley just as he was about to throw. He fumbled and Xavier Harbert made a recovery that one play later resulted in a 5-yard Murat Kuzu touchdown run for a 24-0 lead.
The blowout was on. But the defense wasn’t done. Blair Burns intercepted a pass that resulted in a Michelsen 1-yard score for a 31-0 lead with 57 seconds left in the third quarter. It was a disastrous quarter for Plano East, including two turnovers that led to 14 points.
When Michelsen found Brandon Hamilton on a 55-yard touchdown completion – the fourth time this season the pair has hooked up on a completion of at least 50 yards – with 10:05 left in the fourth quarter, the game was out of reach.
But there was one last thing to accomplish. The defense had allowed one score in three previous games this season, coming so close to its first shutout since 2006. This time it had 10 minutes to go. Plano East marched to the Plano 1 and it seemed the bid would soon be over again. Then Johnson had his second takeaway of the game when a high snap got past Aaron Stelly and after the quarterback’s second attempt to field the ball Johnson grabbed it to seal the shutout.
Plano 38, Plano East 0
Plano 38, Plano East 0: Final. First shutout since 2006 and first against Plano East since 1983.
- Plano 38, Plano East 0: Brandon Hamilton 55-yard TD on pass from Michelsen. 10:05 left for Plano’s first shutout since 2006 and first shutout over East since 1983.
- Plano 31, Plano East 0: End of third quarter
- Plano 31, Plano East 0: Connor Michelsen 1-yard TD off Blair Burns interception. 0:51 left in third quarter.
- Note: Plano has not shut out Plano East since 1983, the second meeting between these teams. Plano’s last shutout was in 2006.
- Plano 24, Plano East 0: Murat Kuzu 5-yard TD run. 4:11 left in third quarter.
- Plano 17, Plano East 0: Chris Moore 20-yard FG. 5:07 left in third quarter. Score capped a 13-play, 53-yard drive off the opening kickoff. FYI…Plano is unbeaten this season when scoring first and taking a lead into the fourth quarter.
- Plano receives to open the second half.
- Plano called 18 plays in the first half and scored 14 points, but had less than 100 yards.
- First Half Statistics
- Plano individuals in first half
- Plano 14, Plano East 0: Halftime
- Plano has ball with 3:20 left in half looking to go up by three scores.
- Plano 14, Plano East 0: Connor Michelsen 2-yard TD. Caps short 3-play drive. 7:54 left in first half. Matt Johnson interception set up drive.
- Plano 7, Plano East 0: Connor Michelsen 49-yard touchdown pass to Steele Hoetger on a flea flicker. Murat Kuzu took handoff, pitched to Brandon Hamilton who reversed the play and tossed back to Michelsen for the pass. 11:17 left in first half.
- Plano 0, Plano East 0: End of first quarter.
- Defense holds. Plano back on offense.
- East calls timeout with key fourth down at Plano 29 coming up.
- Teams exchange punts on opening drives. East has ball back.
- East will receive to open the game.
- Kickoff is moments away. The winner could pull into a tie for fourth place as Hebron faces unbeaten Allen tonight.
- The 29th meeting between Plano and Plano East will kickoff in a little more than an hour. Plano tie the series at 14-14-1 with a win tonight. Be sure to check back here throughout the game for updates. Notes and updates will be available here, along with complete halftime stats.
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.
MURPHY – Murat Kuzu got the offense kick started on a game-breaking play late in the first half and Blair Burns made a pair of plays to open and close the third quarter that allowed Plano to pull away from Hebron, 33-6, Friday at Tom Kimbrough Stadium in a District 8-5A matchup.
Plano (4-1, 1-1) used its stifling defense to shut down one of the top offenses in the area as it recorded win No. 715, pushing it to second place on the all-time wins list and to the top spot among Class 5A programs. Hebron (3-2, 1-1) was limited to half its season average in yards and the district’s second-leading scoring offense was held out of the end zone.
It was the defense that turned what could have been a shutout into a game of possession and momentum. Plano rolled a 10-6 halftime lead into a two-score advantage just 15 seconds into the second half on one piece of momentum. Blair Burns bobbled the opening kickoff of the second half. He gained possession of the ball at the Plano 4 and found a seam in the kick coverage, then picked up a few blocks in a sprint up the right sideline for a 96-yard kickoff return for a 17-6 lead.
“I think he is one of the most exceptional athletes I have coached,” defensive coordinator Clint Stewart said. “He’s one of the best cover corners out there.”
He proves it time and again. Like on a play near the close of the third quarter. He intercepted a Kyle Aubuchon pass and three plays later Kuzu hit a gaping hole and made a couple of nifty moves on his way to a 56-yard touchdown run to put Plano up, 24-6.
Kuzu, who has played running back, receiver and quarterback in two seasons at Plano, finished with 191 offensive yards on 15 touches. But it was a play he made midway through the second quarter that seemed to loosen up Hebron’s defense. The Plano offense had been limited to 17 yards on its first four series. Then Kuzu broke off a 44-yard highlight reel run when he broke a few tackles, showed some game-breaking speed and turned in a spin move that got him to the Hebron 1 to set up a Connor Michelsen 1-yard touchdown run that put Plano on top for good, 7-3, with 4:10 left in the first half.
Plano went up, 10-3, on a Chris Moore field goal with 29 seconds left in the first half. Then Hebron had a drive that made the Plano defense appear human. Brett Weir caught a pass for 36 yards. Kiante Griffin added an 11-yard reception and 28 seconds after Moore’s field goal Hebron got the equalizer.
Then Burns exited the locker room and 15 seconds later had Plano back on the board with his kickoff return for a touchdown. In three games in the past three seasons against Hebron, Plano has scored on a kickoff return and each time it has been extremely meaningful. It turned the game in 2008 when Rex Burkhead scored on a kickoff. Then, last year, Kevin Merrill officially arrived when he returned a kickoff 104 yards.
As potent as Hebron’s offense can be, the game could have been considered to be in doubt even after Kuzu scored to put Plano up, 24-6. But the defense again got a stop. Two incompletions, a short run and a big penalty had Hebron backed up at its own 14 when a high snap resulted in a safety to put Plano up, 26-6, with 10:06 left. The Plano offense responded against a short field on the successive drive when a 22-yard Kuzu run helped set up a 1-yard Merrill touchdown carry for a 33-6 lead with 7:28 left.
The defense turned in yet another three-takeaway performance as Matt Johnson and Brad Tipton also had interceptions. One of the key early moments in the game was delivered by Zach Laures. Hebron was driving on its second series and had moved to the Plano 3. Laures perfectly defended a run to the edge for a 5-yard loss and two plays later teamed with Kent Bateman on a tackle that forced Hebron into a field goal when it appeared they were destined for a touchdown. When Johnson intercepted Aubuchon and Kuzu had the big run to set up Michelsen’s touchdown run, Hebron was down and the play of Burns would later put them out of the game.
Plano 33, Hebron 6
Rushing — H: Dezmond Wortham 14-59, Kyle Aubuchon 13-38, Damien Delaney 1-6, J.T. Teague 1-(-2), Devin Flynn 1-(-5), Team 1-(-14). P: Murat Kuzu 11-137, Kevin Merrill 4-22, Connor Michelsen 8-7, Rakeem Crawford 2-2, Clayton Parlin 1-0, Richard Lagow 1-(-1).
Passing — H: Kyle Aubuchon 17-43-3, 176 yards. P: Connor Michelsen 12-21-0, 146 yards; Richard Lagow 0-1-0, 0 yards.
Receiving — H: Brett Weir 2-44, J.T. Teague 5-40, Josh Alfaro 2-23, Joseph Farley 2-20, Kiante Griffin 2-19, Damien Delaney 2-14, Blake Roark 1-9, Dezmond Wortham 1-7. P: Kevin Merrill 3-55, Murat Kuzu 4-54, Steele Hoetger 3-20, Clayton Parlin 2-17.
Plano 33, Hebron 6: Final score.
- Plano seems to have iced its 715th all-time victory, making it the second winningest program in state history and tied with Amarillo as the winningest Class 5A program. Although, many would point out all those victories didn’t take place in Class 5A. Plano has won state titles in five classifications.
- Plano 33, Hebron 6: Kevin Merrill 1-yard touchdown run set up by Murat Kuzu’s 22-yard run to the Hebron 6. 7:28 left.
- Plano 26, Hebron 6: Punt snapped out of end zone for safety. 10:06 left to play.
- Plano 24, Hebron 6: Murat Kuzu 56-yard touchdown run. 11:19 left.
Stats through third quarter:
- Plano 17, Hebron 6: End of third quarter.
- Murat Kuzu now has 112 yards on 12 offensive touches with 3:26 left in third quarter. He went over 100 yards on a 36-yard reception.
- Plano 17, Hebron 6: Defense gets key stop with 4:58 left in third quarter.
- Plano 17, Hebron 6: Blair Burns 96-yard kickoff return for touchdown. 11:45 left in third quarter. In three games against Hebron, Plano has got a kickoff return for touchdown in all three games. They were by Rex Burkhead in 2008, Kevin Merrill in 2009 and Blair Burns tonight.
- First half recap: Plano’s offense was slow to get started, but Murat Kuzu gave it a spark with a 44-yard run for its initial first down with 4:30 left. Connor Michelsen scored on the next play to put Plano up, 7-3. Chris Moore added to the lead with a 22-yard field goal with 29 seconds left. Hebron closed the halftime margin to 10-6 with Kurt Walker’s second field goal with 1 second left. Plano had just 17 yards on its first four series and 130 on its last two. At halftime, the district’s second-leading offense has been limited to 136 yards. Plano gets the ball to open the second half.
- Unofficial halftime defensive leaders: Collin Brence 4 tackles, Zach Laures 4 tackles, Matt Johnson 3 tackles and interception.
- Plano East 29, Plano West 0 (halftime)
- Flower Mound 30, FM Marcus 14 (halftime)
- Allen 35, Lewisville 0 (halftime)
Rushing — Murat Kuzu 4-48, Connor Michelsen 7-6, Clayton Parlin 1-0.
Passing — Connor Michelsen 8-17-0, 93 yards.
Receiving — P: Murat Kuzu 3-18, Steele Hoetger 2-18, Kevin Merrill 2-46, Clayton Parlin 1-11.
- Plano 10, Hebron 6: End of half. Halftime stats coming up.
- Plano 10, Hebron 6: Kurt Walker 40-yard field goal. 0:01 left in first half.
- Plano 10, Hebron 3: Chris Moore 22-yard field goal good with 29 seconds left in first half to cap 12-play, 80-yard drive highlighted by a 34-yard pass from Connor Michelsen to Kevin Merrill.
- Murat Kuzu has 66 of Plano’s 103 yards.
- Plano 7, Hebron 3: Murat Kuzu 44-yard run sets up 1-yard Connor Michelsen 1-yard touchdown run to give Plano lead with 4:10 left in first half. Kuzu’s carry gave Plano its initial first down with 4:30 left. The drive was set up by a Matt Johnson interception.
- Plano still doesn’t have a first down and only 17 yards with less than 7 minutes left in the first half.
- With 8:04 left in first half, Hebron still leads, 3-0. The Hawks offense has been limited to 75 total yards.
First quarter statistics:
- Hebron 3, Plano 0: Kurt Walker 21-yard field goal. 3:37 left in first quarter. Zach Laures has four tackles so far to lead Plano’s defense.
- Plano goes 3-and-out. Hebron will take over after punt.
- Plano gets defensive stop. Will receive punt to open first offensive series with 9:07 left in first quarter.
- Hebron will receive to open the first half. Kickoff will take place shortly. Of note, tonight is “pinkout” for the Planoettes, benefitting the Susan G. Komen For The Cure.
- Kickoff is a little more than an hour away here in a rare Plano Wildcats appearance at Tom Kimbrough Stadium. Tonight’s game features one of the district’s best offenses against a top defense. Hebron (3-1, 1-0) is ranked second in offense in District 8-5A with an average of 43.5 points scored and 508.5 yards per game. Plano (3-1, 0-1) is ranked second defensively by allowing an average of 15.7 points scored and 273.2 yards per game. Plano is ranked last in district offense, but could have a chance to break out against the sixth-ranked defense. Of note, Plano can move into a tie for the most all-time wins in Class 5A with its 715th victory tonight. Amarillo (715) currently leads Plano by one win, but is on a bye this week.
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