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Keyser Soso: Jamabo's late TD lifts West over Plano
The Plano West football team's offense moves fast by design.
And while time wasn't on the Wolves' side late in the fourth quarter, the unit didn't miss a beat in commandeering a game-winning drive to upend Plano Senior, 37-35, Friday at Clark Stadium.
"I told the guys to hang in there and keep playing," said Mike Hughes, West head coach. "I felt like if our defense could get a stop late and give our offense a chance that they could score."
After compiling 28 points through 25 minutes, the Wolves (5-4, 2-2) went four straight second-half possessions without finding the end zone. West's final shot with 2:18 left in the fourth was a different story, moving 48 yards downfield in nine plays before sophomore Sotonya Jamabo bulldozed his way through multiple Wildcats (5-4, 2-2) defenders for a go-ahead 11-yard touchdown run -- his third of the contest -- and a 37-35 lead with 25 seconds left.
The run highlighted Jamabo's 218 yards of offense -- 131 rushing and 87 receiving.
"We knew we had to punch it in fast," Jamabo said. "I told the line before the play that we had to get this block and they did. (Junior) Auston Anderson had my block and he got it, and it was a great feeling to punch that in."
Plano failed to answer, dealt a 90-yard field and unable to make up the requisite ground as a Hail Mary attempt by senior Richard Lagow sailed out of bounds.
"Give Plano West a lot of credit," said Jaydon McCullough, Plano head coach. "We're disappointed in this one because we worked extremely hard. I hate losing and I know the kids do, but I think they can leave with peace of mind knowing they played hard tonight."
The Wildcats had their own woes in trying to put away the Wolves, held scoreless in the fourth after pulling ahead, 35-31, on a 9-yard touchdown run by senior Braylan Campbell with 1:25 left in the third.
Plano set up its touchdown after junior David Griffith blocked a West punt to put the Wildcats at the Wolves' 28-yard line.
A similar stand was made by West earlier in the quarter after seniors Nick Green and Reggie Howard sacked Plano Lagow on 4th-and-14 to give the Wolves the ball at their own 47. A 29-yard field goal was converted by senior Zakk Myer with 7:12 left for the 31-28 edge -- West's first lead since opening the game, 6-0, with a 5-yard touchdown run by Jamabo. The score was prefaced by a 70-yard completion from senior Travis Korry to senior Connor Doyle and set the table for a first half that saw both teams combine for 49 points and 601 yards.
As a team, West accounted for just five first downs on 18 plays in the half.
The Wolves' initial touchdown countered a 17-play, eight-and-a-half-minute drive by the Wildcats that opened the game and ended in a missed 36-yard field goal by senior Jourdan Escobar. Plano rebounded with touchdowns on its next four drives to round out the half. Lagow found sophomore Mitchell Hansen, who led Plano with 101 yards on five catches, deep for 40 yards to take a 7-6 lead and senior Andre Morman extended that edge via a 42-yard touchdown run with 9:28 left in the second quarter.
Campbell closed Plano's next drive with a 9-yard touchdown run and Morman tacked on a 10-yard score on the ground for a 28-21 advantage with 1:18 left in the first half.
Morman led the Wildcats with 123 rushing yards on 18 carries while Campbell chipped in 104 yards on 22 carries, with each back finding the end zone twice. Lagow passed for 187 yards and a touchdown on 11-of-18 attempts.
The Wolves wouldn't have to worry about chasing their blocked extra point, with Korry darting in for a 4-yard score and then finding senior Austin Copeland for the two-point conversion to tie the game at 21-21. Prior to that, Jamabo found the end zone for the second time by hauling in a Korry pass for a 72-yard reception.
"It was crazy out there," Jamabo said. "I've never been in anything like this before. It's great to go out there, win and play well. I'm hoping we can do the same next week."
That'll come against Plano East Friday at 7:30 p.m. from Clark while Plano travels to meet Allen at the same time. The Wolves and Wildcats are gridlocked alongside McKinney Boyd at 2-2 for second place in 10-5A.
"If you can't get up for next week against Plano East, you don't need to be playing football," Hughes said. "This is going to give us a shot in the arm and give us some confidence."