It was all golden for Plano East in week one, cruising to a 48-14 victory over Rowlett at Kimbrough Stadium Friday night.
The Panthers outgained the Eagles by 204 yards, won the turnover battle by two and scored on eight possessions in the contest. A fumbled Rowlett snap on their opening punt attempt of the game set East up in the red zone for their first offensive possession. Three plays later, Desmond Smith punched it in for a 7-yard score.
Smith finished the game with 86 rushing yards and three scores as part of the loaded and diverse Plano East backfield that accounted for 195 yards on 33 carries. Andrew Earls scored once on the ground, gaining 51 yards himself.
Still, the Panthers had work to do in the second half after being held to two field goals and up only 20-14 at the break. They broke the game open in the third quarter, where Smith rushed for two touchdowns and East held Rowlett to two three-and-outs to take a commanding 34-14 advantage.
One of the points of emphasis in the offseason was turnovers on defense, and the Panthers were able to halt two drives doing so. Braylon Coleman took a deflected pass back 41 yards to set up a Justin Simmons 41-yard field goal. Late in the game, Tyler Bryant fell on a fumble that ended Rowlett’s final offensive possession.
The victory was the Panthers’ biggest win since Nov. 2, 2018, when they defeated Plano West 51-17. That season was also the last time Plano East made the playoffs.
Plano East will gear up for a second District 9-6A foe next week as they travel to Naaman Forest on Friday, Sep. 1.
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