(CORRECTION: It was originally reported, erroneously, that Wylie clinched a playoff berth.)
WYLIE -- Wylie celebrated its homecoming on Friday night by closing in on a playoff spot with a 42-12 victory over Richardson Pearce.
The Pirates (6-3, 4-2 District 10-4A) were led by senior wide receiver Jermaine Merdock, who had nine receptions for 170 yards, four rushes for 53 yards, three touchdowns. Getting him the ball was senior quarterback Nico Ramirez, who was awarded the key honor of the night: Homecoming King.
Ramirez finished the night 17-of-19 with 263 yards with three passing touchdowns.
Although the offense was able to capitalize pretty much the whole night, a lot of Wylie's production was created from turnovers forced by the defense.
Wylie defensive back Andre Moseley collected a fumble in the first half when Pearce running back Corey Coleman was stripped of the ball trying to get closer to the end zone. Later in the game, Moseley came down with an interception off Pearce senior quarterback Mac Morse when the Mustangs were trying to close the gap Wylie had created on the scoreboard.
Morse had a good game, going 36-for-51 for 384 yards, but he threw interceptions that Wylie's offense turned into points.
Before the game started, the talk around the stadium was how it would be interesting to see if Wylie's defense could slow down the uptempo offense of Pearce (4-5, 3-3). But on the first drive, it became apparent that the fast-paced offense Pearce was known for wasn't in synch.
The offense took its time getting set up at the line and there were even times of a huddle-up offense that seemed unusual for what the Mustangs were trying to run. There were also times where the quarterback and receiver were not on the same page.
On more than one occasion, Morse dropped back to throw a pass to a certain side of the field and the receivers were blocking for either a running play or a possible screen pass. In addition, some routes were either being cut short or overthrown. Plain and simple, the offense just did not seem a hundred percent from the time it took the field.
Wylie also got a strong performance from running back Vincent Bryan. He carried seventeen times for 138 yards and two touchdowns, with key runs that kept a lot of drives alive and the clock slowly counting down.
Wylie (4-2), Rockwall (4-2), Pearce (3-3), McKinney North (3-3) and McKinney (3-3) enter the last week fighting over three playoff spots behind unbeaten district champion Highland Park.