The path to a district title doesn't get any easier for Plano East's defense.
A week after shutting down Plano West's dynamic passing game, East (5-2 overall, 4-0 in District 8-5A) must do the same to defending 5A champion Allen (7-1, 4-0) on the road at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The game will decide the 8-5A champion.
While East's secondary came through against West by blanketing receivers, the onus is on the front seven against Allen. The defensive line will have its hands trying to contain QB Matt Brown, who has orally committed to Arizona.
The Eagles' offense is similar to East's. Brown is Allen's leading rusher with 699 yards and 14 touchdowns, much like QB Ryan Foster is East's leading rusher with 704 yards and seven touchdowns.
Luke Burleson (Baylor commit) and Cedric Ogbuehi (Texas A&M commit) lead Allen's offensive line, which features four returning starters that have no trouble opening holes.
"They're pretty much a complete football team offensively," East head coach Johnny Ringo said. "You definitely have to focus on ways to stop Brown but they also have other challenging people as well."
East's 34-25 win over West clinched the team's first playoff berth since 2006. Trailing 19-14, the game turned in East's favor early in the third quarter when WR Gabe Carter scored on a flea-flicker. The Panthers recovered the ensuing onside kick and scored on its next two possessions to seal the win.
"Momentum was on our side," Ringo said. "That's why we went to the onside kick. We were able to maintain momentum."
East's defense did the rest. West QB Michael Pruneau was held to a season-low 207 passing yards as the Wolves receivers had trouble getting open against the Panthers secondary.