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Win and they’re in: Plano West has playoff berth at stake on Friday



PLANO, TX – In 2019, Tyler Soukup inherited a Plano West team mired in the longest losing streak in Plano ISD football history. In just his second season at the helm, he has a chance to lead the Wolves back to the playoffs.

West can put a bow on its improbable turnaround campaign at 3 p.m. Friday at Clark Stadium when it takes on Hebron. The meeting between postseason contenders pits the Wolves, 3-2 and fresh off a 20-10 victory over Flower Mound, against a Hebron team that’s 2-1 and playing its first game since Nov. 6.

The Hawks were last seen coming up short against Plano, 42-38, before deciding to shut down their program for two weeks due to a COVID-19 outbreak. Games against Coppell and Marcus were ruled “no contests,” denying the Hawks a chance at elevating their standing in a district where the total number of conference wins will determine the four playoff teams.

Currently, Marcus leads the pack with four wins, with West and Lewisville right behind at three. Hebron is tied with Coppell at two victories.

The Wolves upped their postseason odds behind a comeback win last week against Flower Mound, scoring 20 unanswered points after falling into a 10-0 hole. West did so behind a productive return to action for senior running back Tabren Yates, who has battled a quad injury throughout district play.

Yates turned in his most productive effort in 6-6A action against a stout Jaguar defensive front, rushing for 178 yards and three touchdowns to propel the Wolves to their first winning season since 2014.

With Flower Mound fresh off a 600-plus-yard effort in its last showing against East, West limited the Jaguars to just three points in the second half and clamped down on any big plays — surrendering just 258 total yards on 5.4 yards per play. 

Hebron’s offense has been methodical at times earlier in the season but had just begun to hit its stride before the program’s recent hiatus. Even in defeat, the Hawks scored a season-high 38 points on 462 yards against Plano.

Quarterback Weston Conaway, who missed all of the team’s preseason, completed more than 70% of his passes and tallied 356 yards and four touchdowns. Takoda Bridges and Mason Williamson, who primarily plays in the secondary, both eclipsed 100 receiving yards as part of a deep receiving corps, and running back Brandon Love logged 110 yards on the ground.

The Hawks’ defense struggled to slow Plano’s run game, surrendering 100-plus-yard nights to both senior quarterback Oliver Towns and senior running back Tylan Hines — a departure from the team’s work earlier in the season.

After being hit for 56 points in its opener against state-ranked Denton Guyer, Hebron surrendered 47 total points over its next three games — all wins.