I’m not sure which would have been more painful. The way the outcome of Denison’s final game actually happened or if the Yellow Jackets had beaten Prosper by any margin — one, 10, 50, you name it — but Wylie had then somehow lost against McKinney North. Either way Denison sees its season end without a playoff appearance. For the first time since 2002, Denison found itself finishing right at 5-5. Going 6-4 was not a guarantee for an 11th game. But after watching Prosper celebrate a 21-10 victory, it might have been a really nice consolation prize considering the aftermath.
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It was almost going to come down to this for both teams: Winner is in the playoffs. Loser goes home. For the Prosper Eagles, that is the case. For the Denison Yellow Jackets, not so much. Denison still needs to win….but also must get help from around the district.
To be the best you have to beat the best. In this case beating the best wouldn’t even have guaranteed a playoff berth. But Denison was ahead of district champion Wylie East by a point at the end of the first quarter. It was down a touchdown at half-time and the end of the third quarter. The Jackets were just close enough to give thoughts about doing something no one had yet to do in 10-5A. But the Raiders showed why they are in first place, continuing to pile up yards and point against its latest opponent. The mantra had worked almost every week. Denison was going to score on East. The Raiders were planning on scoring more and did so in a 63-42 victory. As long as Denison is the best in the match-up against Prosper to close out its season, the opportunity to get into the playoffs will still be there. Unless McKinney North has already beaten Wylie.
You might remember Eno Benjamin from such places as the last time Denison faced Wylie East. The then-sophomore running back had 41 carries for 292 yards and three touchdowns. Since then he has been a force to reckon with and the Jackets will get their chance against the 2015 version that has been tearing up the season this week in a match-up of irst place vs. third place.
Teams don’t like to look ahead. Or at least coaches don’t like their teams to look ahead. There’s no sense worrying about what’s ahead on the schedule unless you deal with what’s right in front of you. For the Denison Yellow Jackets, that turned out to be McKinney North. And they were side by each in the standings — tied for third place and the winner of their match-up guaranteed to stay no worse than that spot with two weeks left in the season. The victor would maintain their playoff density. So much happened in the first 12 minutes it more than made up for the slower pace of the final three quarters. Denison just happened to make a couple more of those things happen early on — a field goal five plays in ended up being the difference in a quarter where SEVEN touchdowns were scored — and went on to beat North, 52-49, in what could end up being the season-defining victory.
When it comes to the city of McKinney, there have been many memorable battles with original high school. But the neighbors up Highway 75, McKinney North, haven’t see as many of those down-to-the-wire, classic or record-setting performances involving the Denison Yellow Jackets.
They say the hardest thing to do is repeat. In a certain situation, anything can happen. A bounce can go your way. A call can go in your favor. But if you have to come away with a win more than once, the outcome isn’t going to be as random. When it comes to rivalry games, multiply that times like a million. Strange things always seem to be afoot. So as Denison was able to capture its third straight Battle of the Ax victory, this latest a 41-14 decision against the Sherman Bearcats, how tough was it despite the final margin? And just how will the Jackets handle things for the 118th version of Texas longest-running rivalry next fall? For now, the heavy lifting against Denison’s most familiar opponent is done.
As we learned once upon a time, you keep your friends closer and your enemies closer. There is no closer enemy for the Yellow Jackets than Sherman, since geographically these two are situated side-by-each.
There was a good bit of time on Friday night where it looked like Denison and Wylie weren’t going to be able to play. The sun was setting, the power was out and 7:30 p.m. was closing fast. Ultimately the game was able to take place with only a minor delay, but perhaps it would have been better for the Jackets if it had been pushed back a day. A sluggish start, literally beginning on the opening kickoff, put Denison in a hole it was never able to dig out of in a 31-21 loss against the Pirates. Let’s hope things are a little brighter going forward with just a month left in the season.
In each of the last two seasons, Denison and Wylie have squared off in a game decided by a touchdown with each team earning a victory. The main difference? Both times the Pirates were able to get into the playoffs. When the Jackets lost, 30-24, a year ago, Denison was unable to dig out of the 0-3 hole that defeat put them in.
When it comes to the second year of the realignment cycle, the reflex is to compare what is happening to the prior season. The schedule hasn’t changed but the teams might have due to graduation or transfers or whatever. But it can provide a road map based on the success or failures from that year. For Denison, it involves looking back at a 4-6 overall season and 2-5 record in 10-5A games. The quick math shows needing to win two more games to get where you want to be. During the first month of 2015, the Jackets matched exactly what they did in 2014. They beat Frisco Liberty and Trinity Christian-Addison. They lost to Argyle and Lovejoy. That brought us to last Friday against McKinney. Denison lost that one last year — in overtime no less. It was the first best chance to flip the script. There was no need for overtime. Denison came away with a 35-13 victory that has the Jackets tied for third place with a match-up against Wylie, another team they lost to last season. Denison can only hope not to follow a flip with a flop.
If there is one loss that the Yellow Jackets would like back from 2014, it is the 35-28 overtime setback suffered against McKinney.
Rarely do teams have to worry about an opposing player for four years. A lot of times it won’t even be three. Most of the time it comes down to the junior and senior year combo in a realignment cycle that has a defense on edge. Unfortunately for the Yellow Jackets, they have been forced to go up against Lovejoy’s Bowman Sells for every season of the standout quarterback’s high school career. And every year has gone by with Sells putting up a strong performance in a Leopards’ win. The latest is the one that hurts the most because it was Denison’s best chance to take down Lovejoy. In the closing minutes Sells came through one final time against the Jackets, handing Denison a tough 45-34 loss to start 10-5A play.
Since Lovejoy moved up a class and has been paired in a district with Denison, things have not gone well for the Yellow Jackets in this match-up. The Leopards have scored at least 50 points in each of the three meetings and Denison has come out on the short end of the shootouts each time.
There are some times where things are simply unable to be explained. A defensive end intentionally kicking a fumble? An official accidentally causing one? One team essentially deciding to throw on just about every down? The other team not wanting to throw but having so much success it couldn’t stop? This was a game that had all of these things — and more — but most importantly it saw Denison pull off a fourth-quarter comeback for a 48-40 victory against Trinity Christian-Addison to close out non-district play.
The Live Blog is back! After a one-week hiatus due to figuring out a new iPhone, here is the homecoming edition as Denison welcomes Trinity Christian-Addison to Munson Stadium to close out non-district play. Follow the action here or follow me on Twitter @JasonDellaRosa.
Last year at this time, the Yellow Jackets were coming off some record-setting passing performances in the first match-up with a school that ended with a loss. Denison would then be facing another first-time opponent and set some passing records in a win.
Well that escalated quickly. What looked like another back-and-forth, highly entertaining contest between Denison and Argyle took a sharp turn out of favor for the Yellow Jackets in the latter stages of the second quarter. Facing an opponent who has played in a state title game in three of the last four years, Denison found itself playing from behind and was unable to fully get back into a 50-33 loss against the Eagles.
The Argyle Eagles come to town riding a 30-game win streak in the regular season. Will that get to 31 or can Denison moved to 2-0 with a victory tonight at Munson Stadium? Follow all the action here at the Live Blog or follow me on Twitter @JasonDellaRosa.
There was only one team to beat Argyle in 2014, and it took Navasota double-overtime (and a dubious call on the game-winning TD) in the state championship game to finally give the Eagles a loss after 31 straight wins.
Hope springs eternal before a season begins. Nothing has happened yet and so the possibilities are endless. Want to win a state championship? Sure, until you get eliminated from the playoffs or don’t even make it at all, it’s out there. Want to go undefeated? Why not, until you have a loss on your ledger you can be. As far as season-openers go, Denison couldn’t have hoped for a more successful debut. The Yellow Jackets started off 2015 with a blowout 49-7 victory against Frisco Liberty and can only hope the rest of the year contains so many positive moments.
Another season is upon us and the 2015 version kicks off with the Denison Yellow Jackets traveling to Toyota Stadium for a match-up against the Frisco Liberty Redhawks. Follow along with all the action here on the Live Blog or follow me on Twitter @JasonDellaRosa
With a chance to make some positive first impressions, the Denison Yellow Jackets did that in several areas during their first scrimmage against Graham at Munson Stadium on Friday night.
There are very few boxscores that include Bea Nguyen’s name. There are even fewer than contain Shelby Galyon’s. But they both have a significant effect that goes beyond what is there — or more importantly, what is not there.
There was something of a cathartic finish for the Yellow Jackets. In what might have been their best game of the season, they went out and took the frustration of some many tough losses out on a team that wasn’t prepared to handle the onslaught. Denison had its most points of the season, rolled up 500 yards and were three plays away from a perfect effort on defense and special teams. It was a frustrating season in that the Jackets end at 4-6, 2-5 and that could easily read 9-1, 6-1. As we head into the off-season with some good things to look forward to in 2015, I turn to a wise old Vulcan for inspiration: “Live long and Prosper.”
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