The final score was 91-15, the kind of ignominious result that marks both squads for scorn, the victors even more than the team on the short end of the scoreline. The 91 points marked John Connolly High (Pflugerville, Tex.) as just the second team in 33 years to score 91.
Still, what marked Connolly's rout of Cedar Creek High (Bastrop, Tex.) most notable was that Connolly coach Howard McMahan claims he tried everything to keep from scoring so many points. At least that's the case he put forth to the Austin American-Statesman's Danny Davis.
"The bottom line is we’re in the kids business, we're not in the business to embarrass or show bad sportsmanship," McMahan told the Statesman. "Our kids played hard, and we did everything we could to make sure that the score wasn’t run up."
McMahan's squad racked up a 63-7 lead at halftime, so there was little question that they would emerge victorious. To try and kill the rest of the game, McMahan instituted pretty Draconian offensive restraints, as detailed by Davis in the Statesman.
Connally racked up 552 yards of offense over just 46 plays on Friday, and the Cougars only attempted five passes. McMahan said that he pulled his starters after the first series of the second half and [running back Laquinn] Sorrells, who had one carry over Connally’s first four games, was the team’s third-string running back. In the second half, which was played with a running clock, the Cougars weren’t allowed to snap the football until five seconds were left on the play clock.
K-MAC Sports webcast the slaughter, so I was able to listen to the game’s second half. By my count, Connally ran 14 plays in the third and fourth quarters. Aside from two muffed snaps, the Cougars ran the football on the other 12 plays, and McMahan said the team called for the same "inside zone" run on each snap.
Despite his best attempts, McMahan's squad still scored a touchdown on each of its four second half possessions. That pushed the final score to 91 points for a team that entered the game at 2-2 in 2013.
Connally's point spread highlights a major issue that faces the nation's strongest teams many weeks of the year: How can a coach encourage his team to play as hard as they can, just also discourage running up the score an embarrassing an opponent?
McMahan apparently thought he had an answer. Instead, his attempt to limit damage just raised more questions.
"It’s just a tough situation, but I can assure you that we’re not in the business to run up the score on nobody," McMahan told the Statesman.