Battling History: Wildcats try to become first team to beat McKinney in 50 years

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Aug. 28, 2007 - When the Sulphur Springs Wildcats face McKinney on Friday in the season opener, they will be trying to do something that no other SSHS team has done in 50 years - beat the Lions in the regular season.

Sulphur Springs and McKinney have met on the gridiron 23 times in the regular season since 1956, and the Wildcats are 0-23. That includes last year's 32-7 defeat.

The only time the Wildcats have beaten McKinney was in the 1993 regional semifinals, 34-15.

SSHS head coach Greg Owens played for the Wildcats in the mid-'80s when Don Poe was head coach here and his twin brother Ron Poe was the head coach at McKinney. The teams played eight times in Poe's 10 seasons here. Probably the most heart-breaking loss was a 14-13 decision in the next-to-last district game of 1981 that kept the Wildcats out of the playoffs.

What was once an annual meeting has dwindled. Since 1989, the Wildcats and Lions have played just once in the regular season, and that was last year.

"I don't know if it's a rivalry for us because we haven't played them consistently over the last several years," Owens said. "I don't think our kids are aware of that. They just know it's a school from the Dallas area and we'd better come to play."

McKinney High School moved up to Class 5A in the early part of this decade, but dropped back down when two new high schools opened in McKinney ISD - North and Boyd.

When MHS was the only school in town and the Poes were coaching against each other on the sidelines, the rivalry was a main event. Still, McKinney always came out on top.

"I know when I was playing with Ron and Don, it was a big deal. The families really got worked up, but we never beat them," Owens said. "We looked like twins, like those two guys were. Over the years, they developed a great program there. It's just a great program.

"I think one of the things that has hurt them of late is all this growth has split them into several high schools. I think they're all going through some growing pains, but they still have some great kids coming through. They have great facilities."

Owens will be trying to break the trend that is half-a-century in the making when the two teams face off at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Gerald Prim Stadium.

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