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Five thoughts from Week 6: McKinney star runs wild again; Plano is in playoff hunt

Plano East struggles without its injured star; Frisco Emerson remains undefeated.

Here are five thoughts from Week 6 of the Texas high school football season.

McKinney junior becomes a star

Two years ago, McKinney’s Bryan Jackson was a backup running back who got only 41 carries on varsity his entire freshman year.

Now a junior, Jackson is the leading Class 6A rusher in the Dallas area and has 30 college offers to choose from. That list includes the top three teams in the college football rankings — defending national champion Georgia, 2020 national champion Alabama and Ohio State.

But because he doesn’t play for an area powerhouse such as Denton Guyer, Duncanville, Southlake Carroll, DeSoto or Allen, Jackson has flown under the radar a bit.

Jackson continued to run wild Friday night, rushing for 168 yards and four touchdowns in a 60-51 win over Denton Braswell. He clinched the wild win with a 5-yard touchdown run with 2:44 remaining in a game that featured a combined 1,380 yards of offense.

Jackson (6-0, 225) has run for more than 100 yards in every game, and in his last four games he has run for 761 yards and 12 touchdowns. McKinney needed a big game from him Friday because Braswell’s Keegan Byrd threw for 468 yards and four touchdowns and Ja’Ryan Wallace had nine catches for 255 yards and two scores.

Jackson’s season total of 1,004 yards and 15 touchdowns has already surpassed his stats from last year, when he rushed for 973 yards and 13 touchdowns on 204 carries. Jackson has accomplished that on just 140 carries.

Jackson’s play is a big reason that McKinney (5-1, 3-0) is tied for first in District 5-6A with two state-ranked teams — Denton Guyer and Allen. The four-star recruit has skyrocketed up recruiting boards, collecting 22 of his offers since Jan. 1.

Jackson and McKinney have a bye week next week before starting a brutal closing schedule. Three of McKinney’s final four games are against Allen (No. 9 in the state), Guyer (No. 6 in the state) and Prosper (No. 18 in the state).

Plano is in playoff hunt

Plano used to be a football dynasty, winning seven state championships from 1965 to 1994, including back-to-back titles in 1986 and 1987. It’s a school that has sent 13 players on to the NFL, including Super Bowl champions Joseph Noteboom and Curtis Jackson, two-time Pro Bowl defensive back Pat Thomas and star running back Rex Burkhead (now in his 10th year in the NFL).

But Plano hasn’t won more than seven games in a season since 2008, and its record over the last 13 years is 63-72.

This year, Plano has a shot at making the playoffs for the first time since 2017.

After beating Plano West 30-17 on Friday, Plano is 2-0 in District 6-6A and is tied for first with Lewisville and Flower Mound Marcus. Plano is 3-2 overall, matching its win total from the last two seasons combined.

Plano has swept its two city rivals, beating Plano East 33-22 last week as quarterback Drew Forkner accounted for 312 yards of total offense and four touchdowns. On Friday, Forkner threw a game-clinching 20-yard touchdown pass to Esteban Deras with 1:58 remaining and Kameron Jones ran for 134 yards and a touchdown.

Plano East struggles without its star

Plano East lost star running back Daniel Fayombo to what appeared to be a serious knee injury last week. When asked Friday in an email if Fayombo is out for the season, coach Tony Benedetto would only say, “Daniel will be out tonight with a lower leg injury.”

Benedetto declined to comment beyond that.

Fayombo had rushed for 577 yards — 526 more than anyone else on the team going into Friday’s game against Hebron. Without him, Plano East has to rely heavily on quarterback Drew Devillier and wide receiver Rushil Patel and hasn’t had much of a running game.

In the first three games, with Fayombo the focus of the offense, Plano East went 3-0 and averaged 214.3 rushing yards per game. Fayombo averaged 193 yards per game by himself.

Last week, after Fayombo was injured early in the game, Plano East ran for just 48 yards on 17 attempts in a 33-22 loss to Plano. On Friday, in a 35-23 loss to Hebron, Plano East was held to 143 rushing yards on 34 carries and lost despite the fact that Devillier threw for 391 yards and two touchdowns and Patel had nine catches for 213 yards and a touchdown.

Frisco Emerson keeps on winning

Another week, another win for first-year varsity program Frisco Emerson.

Emerson is 6-0 after beating Carrollton Creekview 56-10 on Friday as Kameron Lockhart and Izzy Bills combined to run for 269 yards and two touchdowns and Emerson held Creekview to minus-2 yards rushing. Emerson now has more wins than any first-year program in Frisco ISD history, surpassing the 2008 Frisco Liberty team that finished 5-5, and Emerson is guaranteed to be the first Frisco ISD team to finish with a winning record in its first year.

Emerson won’t have its first senior class until next school year, but it has a legitimate shot to make the playoffs in District 3-5A Division II, where it is 2-0. The area’s 20th-ranked team is one of four undefeated teams in the district, along with Argyle, Lake Dallas and Frisco Independence, and a win next week against Frisco Memorial (1-5, 0-2) would put Emerson in great shape to earn one of the district’s four playoff spots.

Looking ahead

This was a big bye week, with 26 area-ranked teams having the week off. But it sets up for a thrilling Week 7, when there are several big-time matchups on the schedule.

There will be a couple of matchups of undefeated teams, with Keller (5-0, 2-0) playing at Southlake Carroll (5-0, 2-0) in District 4-6A and Lake Dallas (6-0, 2-0) playing at Argyle (5-0, 1-0) in District 3-5A Division II. Lake Dallas won a thriller Friday, beating Frisco Memorial 54-48 in overtime as Cade Bortnem threw for 375 yards and accounted for five touchdowns.

District 11-6A will have a pair of area-ranked teams facing off, with No. 12 Waxahachie (4-1, 1-1) traveling to No. 2 Duncanville (4-0, 2-0).

In District 3-6A, Hurst L.D. Bell (5-0, 2-0) will try to remain unbeaten when it hosts Weatherford (4-1, 1-1). Two of the top teams in District 6-6A will go head-to-head when Coppell hosts Flower Mound Marcus. And area-ranked Forney (4-1, 2-0) will play at state No. 1-ranked Longview (5-0, 2-0) in District 7-5A Division I.

On Twitter: @DMNGregRiddle

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