Winning isn’t always a beauty contest and the Wylie Pirates have perfected winning ugly this season.
The Pirates (8-3, 6-2 in 9-6A) scored one offensive touchdown, one defensive touchdown and one touchdown on special teams to defeat Mesquite Horn 21-11 in the bi-district round of the state playoffs.
Horn opened the game fumbling in their own territory, but Wylie went backward and was forced to punt on its opening drive. After getting the first of several three-and-outs in the game, the Jaguars’ bad snap on their punt attempt rolled into the back of the end zone, where Terry Harton recovered it for a touchdown.
While the special teams certainly played in Wylie’s favor a lot of the game, it also took away. Horn blocked a punt out of the back of the end zone for a safety, followed by a field goal on their next possession to cut the game to 7-5 after one.
Wylie’s offense wasn’t able to manufacture a lot of points in the game, but it made the most of one key possession to start the second quarter. The Pirates went eight plays for 75 yards, capped off by Layne Chapman’s 1-yard score. It was Chapman’s ninth rushing score on the season and gave the Pirates a 14-5 advantage into the first half.
In the second half, Wylie’s defense dominated against Horn’s backup quarterback. The Pirates didn’t allow a single first down in the third quarter as Brady Dalton and company hounded the Jaguars players in the backfield. Wylie had seven sacks in the game.
Despite the herculean effort from the defense, Horn’s second blocked punt was returned for a touchdown to cut Wylie’s lead to just three points in the fourth. Horn got the ball back at their own 8-yard-line with over a minute remaining, but Austin Fabian’s game-sealing interception gave Wylie the final edge.
Up next for Wylie is the area round, where the Pirates face the Duncanville Panthers. Duncanville (10-0, 7-0) is ranked No. 10 nationally in the high school football rankings and defeated Bryan 74-13 in their first-round victory.
Wylie will face Duncanville at 7:30 p.m. next Friday at McKinney ISD Stadium.