PLANO – Seneca lost its fifth straight game, 48-23, at Plano Friday night, even if the Fighting Irish did not always look the part of a team playing out the string.
Much of its offensive output came at garbage time, but Seneca amassed 297 total yards to 440 for Plano (7-1). The Irish ran 64 offensive plays to Plano’s 42 and had only a 17-15 deficit in first downs. Seneca largely avoided mistakes, with no turnovers and only two penalties accepted by the Reapers.
“Certainly proud of some of the guys we have left,” Seneca coach Ted O’Boyle said. “We’ve had injuries left and right, and we’ve got guys subbing in and playing hard, and it was really great to see some kids get in there and have some success in that game and still play hard. Coach (Brad) Kunz – class guy – he subbed out, too, but our guys are still playing hard, and I’m proud of the effort for sure.”
After Seneca (2-6) went three-and-out on its opening series, Tyler Draine recovered a fumble of the resultant punt to give the Irish another try. Peter Hogue turned the turnover into points by making a 32-yard field goal.
The 3-0 lead lasted for all of 14 seconds as Plano’s Elijah Maisonet returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown. The Reapers then forced another Irish punt and were in the end zone again four Jay Winter runs later.
After another Irish punt, the Reapers again needed four more plays to score on a Tyler Ward pass to Sergio Chavez, although they were then held out of the end zone for the final 8:12 of the opening half.
Winter broke a 64-yard touchdown run on Plano’s first offensive play of the second half, however, and the Reapers added touchdowns on their next two drives as the Irish offense did little. The third touchdown made it 41-3 Reapers with 3:38 left in the third, and the clock would have kept running had Plano’s conversion pass attempt not fallen incomplete off the outstretched hands of a receiver.
“They had a really good game plan starting out. They just did their job,” Kunz said of the Irish. “Unfortunately, we had the slow start, but I think we just needed to get in a rhythm.”
Given the chance to extend the game, the Irish did just that. Casey Pifer had a 4-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter, and Draine added scoring runs of 5 and 78 yards in the final minutes.
Draine ended up tied with Winter for the individual rushing lead for the game with 142 yards, although Draine did all of his damage in eight second-half carries.