The Cats lined up this Friday night against the other crosstown rival, the Panthers of East. For whatever reason, this rivalry goes far beyond the ticky tack “Your mom cleans my mom’s house” taunts that go on with the Westies. These two schools boo each other’s bands. Not pretty. NFL Films was on hand to capture the atmosphere for an upcoming documentary lending an extra excitement, as if any more was needed.
This was also a fight for the playoffs. With both teams having two games left, the Wildcats have clinched (but would rather be second seed than third). Plano East, in jeopardy of not making the playoffs with two district losses, needed a win with only one game left against a powerhouse Allen team.
Plano East has got some talent. Quarterback Riko Smalls (that’s right ExtraP, Riko Smalls) has the size and arm to take it to another level. On one play, under pressure, Smalls roped one 15 yards downfield hitting his receiver right in the chest. The ball was thrown so hard that when it hit the wannabe catcher it bounced 5 yards back toward the scrimmage line. In warmups he throws effortless 45 yard passes. His receivers relay the ball back to him.
The game was tight, going into the 4th quarter tied at 14-14. But eventually the hometown boys won out on an outstanding 73 yard pass for a TD and a cleanup TD run from Mr. Everything, Rex Burkhead, after East gave it back on downs late in the game.
The fun part of this game was that Esposa and I had seats around a bunch of player parents. One was apparently working on his tryout to be a color analyst. His comment on our shaky first quarter defense “Like a maple leafe in a hail storm” was just one example. And “That ain’t gonna look good on NFL Films” was a crowd favorite in Section E.
The boys have a throwaway game with the hapless Richardson Eagles next Friday. Poor Richardson hasn’t gotten within 3 touchdowns of a win all season. Should be a nice tune up for Bidistrict which comes up in two weeks. As Coach Fran says “Exhibition season’s over”.