There’s plenty to motivate Plano this summer.
The spring season seemed to demonstrate the Wildcats will have speed, strength, size and depth to go along with the leadership it takes to win and make playoff runs. The district champion junior varsity squad mixes with a large number of underclassmen who gained considerable varsity playing time last season to make this a team with high expectations.
The greater motivator for the team seems to be a long memory. Trinity ended their season for the third straight year in 2009. No other opponent had ever done that. They are also aware of district foe Allen.
“You look back at the last five years and the two teams we have predominantly had trouble with was Allen and Trinity,” Plano coach Jaydon McCullough said.
It may have been those opponents were a bit stronger and a bit more physical. Plano doesn’t intend for that to be the case this season.
“We’re really focused in on the offseason program,” McCullough said.
The spring offered a taste of potential. The offense made its share of plays, but the defense also showed some shutdown ability.
Reflecting back to the best two teams in recent memory – 2005 and 2007 – those teams could make a play on offense but could flat shut opponents down defensively.
“This is the hardest offseason we have had in a while,” said senior-to-be safety Collin Brence. “Every chance we get, we’ve got to get better. We’ve got to take this opportunity to continue to get better, no matter what we have to do.”
The offense showed a variety of weapons it will use through the air and on the ground in the fall.
“I was very pleased with the offense,” senior-to-be quarterback Connor Michelsen said. “I think we’re going to perform pretty well. We just need to cut out some of the mistakes, iron out the little things and keep the big picture in mind.”
When the offense clicked in scrimmages this spring, it seemed to have the ability to move the ball in small chunks and go to the air for a big strike. More often than not that was the combination of Michelsen and Clayton Parlin, a small but more than capable receiver. He’s reminiscent of Alex Lott from the 2005 team.
“We can’t rely on that big strike,” Michelsen said. “We’ve got to keep drives going.”
And that comes back to the running game where Murat Kuzu, Rakeem Crawford, Kevin Merrill and several other players could play key roles.
“I feel like we’re really playing tough, physical Plano Wildcat football,” McCullough said.