McKINNEY — Five turnovers spelled doom for Sulphur Springs and fueled Wylie East to a 70-33 bi-district playoff win.
When it rains it pours and it was showering down points for the Raiders as they put up 10 touchdowns on the scoreboard in the Class 4A, Div. II playoffs.
"You can't have turnovers like we did and beat a good team. Turnovers just killed us," admitted Greg Owens, Sulphur Springs head football coach.
"From the opening kickoff, to whole game we had things go against us. Give Wylie East credit, they are a very good team."
Garrett McCain had a stellar night at quarterback for the Raiders throwing six touchdown passes and running for one. Marcell Ateman was the top receiver for Wylie East with 10 catches for 164 yards and four scores.
Sulphur Springs quarterback Brad Macek threw for five touchdowns. The senior player completed 24-of-36 passes for 362 yards. Alex Burney caught three touchdown passes. Willy Ivery had five receptions for 105 yards and a score while Cole Hill grabbed six for 96 yards and one score. Buddy Ivery was the top Wildcat running back with 124 yards on 20 carries.
The Wildcats should have known it was not going to be their night when Wylie East opened the night dipping into their bag of tricks. A perfectly executed onside kick was recovered by the Raiders before fans at Ron Poe Stadium had settled into their seats.
The first play from scrimmage was another trick as running back Jabari Anderson turning into a passer. He launched a half back option pass which was close, but fell incomplete. The Raiders went back to their traditional playbook and that worked just fine. Lefty quarterback McCain threw a 20-yard pass to Anderson for a first down. Then the Raiders covered the final 20 yards of the drive when McCain connected with Quan Jones for a touchdown. The extra point, the first of 10 during the night, was perfect by Dylan Cook. With 11:36 left in the first period, the Wildcats were already down 7-0.
The Wildcats responded with a scoring drive of their own. Macek threw to Jordan Jackson for 11-yards and a first down. Owens went to Hill for another first down. Sulphur Springs went to the ground attack with Macek and Buddy Ivery picking up yardage to move the chains. Macek then went back up top and found Colton Wise open for a 13-yard gain down to the 15-yard line of Wylie East. Macek then connected with Alex Burney for a scoring pass down the sidelines. Tony Bravo's extra point tied the game at 7-all with 8:57 left in the first period.
Wylie East then showed off their big play ability, again, converting a 66-yard drive in just three plays. The scoring play was a 47-yard strike from McCain to Ateman. The extra point padded the lead to 14-7 with eight minutes left in the opening frame.
Sulphur Springs again was up to the challenge tying the game after their next drive. The Wildcats strung together a nice 93-yard drive. Buddy Ivery ran wide and picked up just four yards. So the Wildcats went to the airways with Macek throwing five consecutive passes, completing four of them. The big play was a 17-yard completion to Cole Hill. Buddy Ivery then took a handoff and sprinted up the middle, juking for an 18-yard gain. Two plays later the drive ended when Burney got his second touchdown reception of the quarter from Macek, this one coming from 22-yards out.
The game was now tied at 14-all and neither team was slowing down.
It looked like Anderson had fumbled following a 17-yard gain, but he was ruled down by contact. The drive continued for Wylie East with McCain picked up a key first down with a 29-yard pass to Jones. The drive was capped when McCain found Ateman open for a 10-yard scoring pass. The point after was good for Wylie East and the lead was now 21-14 with 3:54 left in opening quarter.
Sulphur Springs had another good drive going, moving from their 28 to near midfield. Quarterback Derick Ingram was hit while throwing in the pocket with Darius Davenport recovering the fumble. The Raiders immediately took advantage of the turnover. Three plays later scoring on a run by McCain from 13-yards out. The Wildcats were down 28-14 and starting to gain momentum.
Wylie East got another break when they picked off an Ingram pass and set up shop at the 33-yard line of Sulphur Springs. On the next play, McCain went deep throwing a touchdown pass to a wide open Ateman. The extra point was good again, the Wildcats were trailing 35-14.
Near the end of the first period, bad fortune struck for the Wildcats. Macek was open for a run and took off for a 46-yard gain, but was stripped of the ball by Wylie East. The Raiders recovered the ball at their own 23-yard line.
Early in the second period, the Raiders continued to drive. Then after a couple of runs by Anderson, McCain went back to the big play, connecting with Jones for a 65-yard touchdown. With 9:41 left in the second period, the Wildcats found themselves in a hole, trailing 42-14.
Sulphur Springs drove down to the 14 of the Raiders, but the drive was halted on downs. The Wildcats missed a scoring chance and had to turn the ball back over to the potent offense of the Wylie East team.
All the Raiders did was kill more than three minutes off the clock as they drove 86-yards in nine plays to score. The touchdown came when Anderson took a handoff and bolted untouched up the middle of the field 25-yards for a tally. The Raiders now took a 49-14 lead.
Wylie East added another touchdown before intermission. The Raiders got their final points of the second quarter when McCain threw 21-yards to Ateman to give the squad a 56-14 lead they took into the half.
The second half was tame compared to the track meet pace of the first quarters.
Sulphur Springs showed they had some spunk when kicker Tony Bravo recovered his own onside kick. The Wildcats took over at the 46-yard line of Wylie East. Macek found Willy Ivery for an 11-yard gain. Buddy Ivery had two runs netting another first down. Macek was sacked, but overcame the loss of yardage on the next play throwing for a 19-yard gain to Buddy Ivery. Macek went back to Burney, this time over the middle for an 10-yard scoring play. Bravo's extra point made it a 56-21 game and the Wildcats still had a long way to go.
Wylie East flexed their scoring muscles and it just took five plays. The scoring play for the Raiders was a 9-yard run by Anderson. The extra point was perfect again and the Wildcats were on the short end of a 63-21 score.
Sulphur Springs had another drive halted by the Raider defense and soon Wylie East was driving for another score. McCain went to Ateman for a 24-yard scoring play. Now the Wildcats trailed 70-21.
Sulphur Springs got two more scores in the late stages of the game.
Tyler Ballard blocked a late field goal try. It looked like the Wildcats would return it for a score, but a penalty negated that return. So the Wildcats went to driving, the possession ended when Macek found Willy Ivery open on a wheel route for a 29-yard scoring play. The try for two points failed, the Raiders lead was cut to 70-27.
With 6:41 left in the game, Wylie East started taking a knee instead of trying to score again. But with so much time left on the clock, the Wildcats got the ball back on downs.
The final touchdown of the game was a 33-yard connection from Macek to Hill. The try for two failed, but the Wildcats made the final 70-33.
Wylie East (8-3) continues in the playoffs while the season ends for the Wildcats at 8-3.
Owens said, "We got our hands on a few balls defensively, but did not make the plays. Wylie East made the plays. We said we were about even, but we made turnovers and that hurt. Wylie East is a class act. We dug a hole in the first half and just could not stop them.
"Our kids played hard the entire game, I just hate it for the seniors," Owens added. "It hurts your last high school game to end like this. It's hard. The season ended before we wanted it to. That's they way it is one, team moves on. We had a good season, we had a bad night. We were undefeated district champions. We were 8-2 in the regular season, 8-3 for the season that's a good year. We have things to hold our head up high about. We just have a bad taste in our mouth about this game. But the sun will come up and we will be all right."
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