Although the Frisco Lone Star Rangers fell to the Cedar Park Timberwolves in the Region II 5A State Final, their 2015 season was a historic one, one that catapulted Frisco ISD to a level of success few districts can claim. Here’s a look back at the Rangers’ playoff run, on their way to becoming the 5A Region II State Runner-up.
5A Division Bi-district
W Lone Star (10-1) VS Prosper (6-5)—24-10
Right from the get-go, the Lone Star Rangers be challenged by a formidable foe. After averaging over 40 points per game (45) during the regular season, Lone Star would be held to just 24 points against their first round opponents, the Prosper Eagles, District 6-5A’s fourth seed.
Prosper used their talented secondary to hold Jason Shelley to just 161 yards passing with one touchdown. This would prove to be the lowest passing yardage Shelley would gain all postseason.
However, Shelley is far from a pocket passer, as the Eagles could do little to stop his ground game, as he rushed for 212 yards and two scores, accounting for all of Lone Star’s offense, save for a first quarter Coby Shelton TD grab that gave the Rangers their first lead of the game.
W Lone Star (11-1) VS Forney (8-4)—55-13
The second round of the 2015 UIL Playoffs saw a return to form by the Rangers’ elite offense. Freed from the shackles of Prosper’s staunch defense, Lone Star exploded for 27 points in the first quarter, and sailed into halftime up 41-0.
The Forney Jackrabbits had no answer for Jason Shelley and his wide array of offensive weapons. Although Forney, District 12-5A’s fourth seed, held him to just 37 yards rushing, Shelley picked apart the Jackrabbits offense with ease, WR Jrayton Fuksa (222 yds, 2 TDs) for two second quarter scores, while handing off the running duties to RB Darrin Smith (156 yds, 4 TDs) who gladly accepted the challenge.
The Rangers were in top form, as their 584 yards of total offense pairede well with a defense that allowed only two garbage-time scores by the Jackrabbits.
5A Regional Semifinals
W Lone Star (12-1) VS Marshall (11-2)—56-7
The Lone Star Rangers managed to score even more points in round three than they had in their previous round’s shellacking of a hapless Forney squad. Although in this round, against District 15-5A’s third-seeded Marshall Mavericks, it took Jason Shelley and company a bit longer to get in their scoring groove.
The Rangers managed just one score in the opening quarter, a one-yard pass to Jaylen Doixon (47 total yards, one TD receiving, one TD passing). The next quarter would prove to be a momentous one, as Lone Star rumbled into halftime up 28-7, thanks to a 61-yard strike to WR Coby Shelton (117 yds, TD) in the closing minutes of the second quarter.
A 28-0 run to close out the game was highlighted by none other than Jason Shelley, who alone accounted for 450 of the Rangers’ 580 yards of offense.
5A Region II Regional Finals
W Lone Star (13-1) VS Lancaster (10-4)—49-34
For the first time all postseason, the Lone Star Rangers entered halftime against a postseason opponent without a lead, as they were deadlocked with the Lancaster Tigers, 21-21.
Lancaster, 14-5A’s third-ranked seed, presented the most formidable offense the Rangers had encountered thus far, and one that would serve as an excellent preparation for their next opponent, the Lake Dallas Falcons.
Lancaster’s QB, Ryan Ross (302 yds, 3 TDs) was the first signal caller to truly test the Rangers defense, as he used his primary target, ATH Spencer Gilbert III (181 total yards, TD) to carve up Lone Star’s secondary in the first half.
After allowing three TDs in the first half, the Rangers’ made the necessary defensive adjustments to keep Lancaster off the board in the third quarter, while WR Jaylen Dixon (125 yds, 3 TDs) gave the Rangers a 28-21 lead after hauling in Shelley’s 40-yard pass with 7:43 remaining in the third quarter.
A 94-yard pick-6 by Nicholas Bolton gave the Rangers a two-possession lead and would prove the decisive blow.
5A Region II State Semifinal
W Lone Star (14-1) VS Lake Dallas (12-3)—55-49 (3 OT)
Just two victories from a State Championship, the Lone Star Rangers headed into the rarified air of the UIL State Semifinals. In fact, this would be the furthest a Frisco ISD team had made it in the tournament since 1973.
This penultimate battle is one that will be talked about for generations, as it truly had it all, including a Lake Dallas team that mirrored Lone Star in most facets of the game.
Minutes into the second quarter, it appeared as though the rout was on, as the Rangers were up 28-0 over Dagan Haehn’s Lake Dallas Falcons. But the Falcons were in no mood to be boat-raced, as they went on an inexplicable 28-0 run of their own, that only a 31-yard strike to Coby Shelton (59 yds, TD) with :15 remaining in the third quarter could halt.
Down 35-28 in the fourth quarter, Falcons QB Dagan Haehn (386 total yds, 5 TDs) rallied Lake Dallas once again, forcing over time thanks to a one-yard pass to WR Keegan Brewer (128 yds, 2 TDs).
The Lone Star Rangers would prove victorious after a seesaw series of overtimes, once WR Michael Johnson picked off an errant Haehn toss during the game’s third and final OT. Now it was on to the State Final—the first time a Frisco ISD school had been just one win away from the whole enchilada.
5A Region II State Final
L Lone Star (14-2) VS Cedar Park (16-0)—6-22
You always want to win your last game, which is especially true when your team’s final frontier is in the 5A State Championship. Sadly, it just wasn’t in the cards for the Lone Star Rangers, as Cedar Park’s defense put together an epic game plan; one that no team had been able to execute in the Rangers’ previous 15 contests.
Even the score itself is a misnomer, as the Rangers defense held the very potent Timberwolves offense to just 15 points, while the other Cedar Park points were put up late in the second quarter when LB Mac McCaskill executed a scoop-and-score on a Jason Shelley fumble to increase their lead to 14-6.
A third quarter touchdown pass to ATH Tommy Lavine (147 total yds, TD) would be the only scoring the second half would see, as the T’Wolves defense would keep the Rangers from finding the end zone.
It’s difficult to see the silver-lining when you’re just one game and a mere 17 points from a championship. But the Rangers can learn from this loss and let it fuel them all off-season and into next year. A tough as it is, you have to tip your cap to the Cedar Park Timberwolves and learn from the loss to game plan against it in the future.
Lone Star Rangers Outlook 2016
With 33 members of the 2015 roster returning for next season, including stars Darrin Smith (FR), Coby Shelton (JR), Jaylen Dixon (SO), Jason Shelley (JR) and Jacob Click (SO), the Lone Star Rangers will be poised once again for a deep playoff run.
There is not true substitution for playoff experience, and the Rangers now have no shortage of it. Remember, this time a year ago, the Cedar Park Timberwolves were on the precipice of a State Championship, only to fall to Ennis. Vindication was theirs as they held off the Rangers this season to take it all. There is no reason that the same narrative can’t be written by the Lone Star Rangers come 2016.