McKINNEY — Braden Plyler threw three touchdowns passes and ran for two more scores to lead Pottsboro to a 63-0 win over Kemp in a Class 3A Division I Region II bi-district contest at McKinney ISD Stadium.
Pottsboro (11-0) will move on and play either Sabine or Mount Vernon in the area round next week. After two straight seasons, with first-round losses, the Cardinals broke that streak in a big way — tying the school record for points set earlier this season in district place against Commerce. The team also became the highest-scoring offense in school history with 529 points and counting, surpassing the 525 points in 2015.
It is also the sixth time in eight seasons Pottsboro has won at least 11 games and the third time it was won 11 games to open the season, along with 2012 and 2015.
Plyler led the Cardinals with 106 yards on 16 carries and 179 yards passing, completing 12-of-17 throws, despite only playing one series in the second half. Pottsboro, with help from a Riley Deaton six-yard fumble return for a touchdown, stormed out to a 42-0 first-half lead.
Plyler connected with Jasek Hooker for a 31-pass to kick off the scoring just over four minutes into the game.
Cy Shope plunged in to the end zone from a yard out one minute later before Pottsboro turned it on in the latter stages of the second quarter.
Zach Wideman caught a 16-yard TD pass from Plyler with 5:34 to go in the half before Deaton’s fumble return on the ensuing possession.
Kemp (3-8), which lost its final two games by a combined 147-0 margin, couldn’t get anything going offensively, punting four times in seven first-half possessions. The other three possessions ended with two Cardinals interceptions and a fumble, which Pottsboro turned into 14 points.
Plyler then found Ezra Fritts for an eight-yard touchdown pass with 1:18 remaining in the quarter and just before the break — with 11 seconds showing — Plyler scored on a seven-yard run.
The Cardinals earned their first shutout of the season by holding the Yellow Jackets to zero first-half passing yards, and allowed only 16 in the game. The Jackets finished with just 59 yards rushing.
When the Jackets got down to the Cardinals 12-yard line late in the fourth quarter, Pottsboro tackled Jackets running back Jayden Galvez for a 1-yard loss. On third down, the Cardinals caught Bryson Derrick from behind for a loss of five and forced an errant pass on fourth down to preserve the shutout.
Titus Lyons turned a swing pass from Jett Carroll into a 51-yard touchdown with 5:47 left in the third quarter. He finished with three receptions for 71 yards.
Cooper Townsley completed the scoring for the Cardinals, capping a three-play drive with an 11-yard touchdown run up the middle with 3:53 remaining in the third quarter.
Townsley set up his touchdown run with a 42-yard scamper through the Jackets defense. He finished with 71 yards in seven carries.
Laramie Greathouse led the Jackets with 23 receiving yards.