Plano Defense Stifles Seneca

Unbeaten Reapers Keep Irish Winless


By Bill Lidinsky


  Defense is the name of the game in high school football. When a team plays it well, a victory usually follows.

  For the past two seasons, the Plano Reapers have been performing on the defensive end better than almost everyone. Friday night at Seneca proved to be no exception.

  Behind a swarming and stifling mob like defense, the defending IHSA 3A state champs served notice once again that they are poised and determined to protect their crown.

  The Reapers limited Seneca to a mere 36 yards in total offense including minus eight on the ground as they literally ran away with a 40-0 victory that included an equally impressive offensive running attack.

  Plano posted 334 yards of total offense, 268 of which came on the ground along with six touchdowns as they recorded their 18 th straight victory and 29 th win in 30 games dating back to 2005. Seneca dropped their 20 th straight loss since 05.

  “High school football runs in cycles and we’re in a good one right now,” said Plano head football coach Jim Green. “Coach Brown has been there with some great programs at Seneca in the past and he’ll be there again in the future because he’s a very good coach. Tonight was just our night and we played some great defense and finally coupled that with some good offensive play as well.”

  Over the past three weeks of the season, the Reapers have shown their usual marvelous defense allowing only 10 points overall in their three wins. But the offense has sputtered during the past two weeks posting only 16 points. But not on Friday.

  Green decided to move senior ball carrier Luis Alvarado to the fullback spot in his three back offense and it immediately paid dividends. Alvarado capped a six play, 51 yard drive with a four-yard touchdown run at 7:49 of the first quarter. Junior kicker Kevin Jernigan’s point after kick was good and Plano led 7-0.

  “I was thrilled to be back in that position this week,” Alvarado said. “We just wanted to score on the first drive and put up some points because we’ve struggled at that lately. There wasn’t any hole on the first touchdown, but the offensive line pushed ahead and I kind of followed them into the end zone.”

  The Plano defense then forced Seneca out on four plays for the second time. The Reapers lit the scoreboard once again on a 70-yard touchdown run by junior Adam Iverson at 4:10 of the first period. Jernigan’s kick missed and Plano was up quickly 13-0.

  “We got down field and made some great blocks for Adam. He kept chugging and never went out of bounds,” Green said. “Offensively those were the kind of plays we made last year and it was good to see that again.”

  “That play really hurt us mentally. We had a lot of missed tackles and that’s been our broken record so far this year,” said Seneca head football coach Don Brown. “We needed to have someone make a play right there and unfortunately we didn’t and things seemed to spiral downward for us.”

  Plano scored once again early in the second period at 9:23 on a five-yard run by senior Alec Haws. Jernigan's kick was true and the Reapers were up 20-0, a lead they would take into the halftime intermission.

  “We couldn’t get anything going against them in the first half offensively. Their defense is so quick and they attack with their blitzes so well and we were struggling to find a way to counter that,” Brown said.

  The second half would prove no different as Plano got another Haws touchdown run of three-yards at 5:53 of the third quarter to make the score 27-0.

  Seneca’s best scoring chance of the game came on the next series when they moved the ball to the Reaper 26 yard line. But a fumbled snap on the shotgun was recovered by Plano’s Colton Carlson and the Irish were stymied once again.

  “We lost our focus and the fumble on the shotgun killed the only real drive we had all night,” Brown said. “From there we committed a lot of penalties down the stretch and we couldn’t recover to mount any scoring effort.”

  Plano added their fifth touchdown at 1:01 of the third on Alvarado’s six-yard run to make the score 34-0 after Jernigan’s kick.

  Then at 6:53 of the fourth quarter, running back Alex Mendez scored on a one-yard plunge. The point after kick was blocked, but the Reapers prevailed in a romp with a running clock the rest of the way.

  “We had a great week of practice this week and we needed this type of game to reestablish ourselves offensively,” Green said. “Defensively we couldn’t have played much better and hopefully we’ll continue to do so like we have over the first four weeks.”

  “Plano’s a great team and showed once again why they are state champions,” Brown said. “Their defense didn’t allow us anything tonight, but their offense was equally as good running the ball.”

  Alvarado paced the Reapers on the ground with 98 yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns. Iverson toted five times for 84 yards and a score, while senior Kevin Day had 58 yards on eight carries.

  Plano (4-0, 1-0) opens Interstate Eight Small Division play with a win and will host Westmont next Friday, while Seneca (0-4, 0-1) will travel to Wilmington trying to break their long dry spell.

  “It doesn’t get any easier traveling to Wilmington next week. They’re always strong defensively and we’ve got to keep working hard,” Brown said. “We’ve got talent and it’s just a matter of getting confidence. We’ll give it everything we’ve got.”