Above Photo Credit: KevinMyerPhotography.com
It’s high school football time in Texas. And with nine teams fighting for Frisco ISD supremacy under the Friday Night Lights, there truly is no better time than now to be in the Lone Star State. Here’s a quick look at all nine Frisco schools to give you a quick heads up about some key players to check out as well as information on which of the three fine stadiums your favorite team will be getting their gridiron grind-on for Week 1…
Frisco High Raccoons
2016: (8-3, 5-2) DII Bi-district Finalist
Head Coach: Vance Gibson
Player(s) to watch: DB Dylan Horton; RB Heath Yetter
Year after year, longtime Frisco head coach Vance Gibson not only employs an old-school flexbone running attack but he also always has his ‘Coons in the hunt for a postseason prize. This season will be a true test for Frisco High though, as they are one of the youngest teams experience-wise in the district. With no returning offensive starters, look for Heath Yetter to be the primary back in Gibson’s offensive attack the majority of the time.
All-District DB Dylan Horton will be a focal point of the defense, and as one of only a few seniors on the team, he’ll play a big part as on-field leader of this very young team. Although there are some questions marks in terms of role players, Coach Gibson just has an uncanny knack for putting the right player in the right role, so look for the Raccoons to be in the mix for district supremacy.
First Game: Thursday, August 31st @ Frisco Centennial @ Ford Center at The Star, 7:00 PM
Frisco Centennial Titans
2016: (2-8, 1-6) Did not make Playoffs
Head Coach: Matt Webb
Player(s) to watch: LB Bryson Jenkins; RB Hunter Williams
Once a Frisco powerhouse, the Centennial Titans have scuffled a bit of late. With a spread offense, defenses are kept on their heels as long as there is a strong running game to offset the pass play. And the Titans certainly have a premier runner that can present some tough matchups scheme-wise. RB Hunter Williams possesses the speed and elusiveness to complement Coach Webb’s spread to a tee. With Williams behind center, the Titans can be just as explosive as some of the more loaded teams in 13-5A.
On the flip-side, LB Bryson Jenkins has the build and speed of a running back, which gives him a distinct advantage as a play-making linebacker. Williams uses his speed to drop back into the secondary to break up passes, and has the size to snuff out the running play. The Titans, coming of an uncustomary poor season a year ago, could be a dark horse in the playoff picture.
First Game: Thursday, August 31st Vs. Frisco @ Ford Center at The Star, 7:00 PM
Frisco Wakeland Wolverines
2016: (8-5 , 4-3) DI Regional Semi-finalist
Head Coach: Marty Secord
Player(s) to watch: WR/DB Tre Adams; LB Rece Stafford
Like most denizens of District 13-5A, the Wakeland Wolverines are no strangers to success. Coming off a solid season that saw them win eight games in the regular season while rumbling to the DI Regional semi-finalist slot, Wakeland might be a bit better this year. This is what happens when your team returns 11 starters that now have postseason experience as well as the confidence that comes with this. WR/DB Long and lean Tre Adams is a crucial part of the Wolverines’ offense and the athletic two-way player can ring some bells on defense too. LB Rece Stafford will build on his impressive 2016 season. With playoff experience and plenty of playmakers, a Wakeland romp into the tournament should surprise no one.
First Game: Friday, September 1st Vs. Frisco Liberty @ Frisco ISD Memorial Stadium, 7:00 PM
Frisco Independence Knights
2016: (9-3, 5-2) DI Area finalist
Head Coach: Kyle Story
Player(s) to watch: DB Logan Brungardt; OL Ben Perry
The Independence Knights might have surprised a few folks last season when they not only made their first postseason appearance, but also won their first playoff matchup. Well, the secret is out and now the Knights might just be poised to not only make the postseason again, but to go on a deep run.
Independence boasts one of the district’s stingiest defenses, highlighted by DB Logan Brungardt—he of the more-video-game-than-real 146 tackles last year. He’s got that special something that is hard to scheme against; somehow, he’s just always in on the play.
To some, the Knights might be missing that ever elusive “big play” weapon to put points on the board. However, one of the great things about football, especially at the high school level, is that someone always rises from anonymity into stardom and offensive lineman Ben Perry is just the guy to assist in the process. Perry has the size and athleticism to create holes on offense that become a running back’s best friend. Look for the Knights to be playoff-bound for a second-straight season.
First Game: Friday, September 1st Vs. Frisco Reedy @ TO
Frisco Liberty RedHawks
2016: (4-6, 3-4) Did not make playoffs
Head Coach: Chris Burtch
Player(s) to watch: LB Cade Wynn; QB Michael Miller
After finishing fifth in District 13-5A last season, Coach Burtch’s young Liberty squad might be facing an up-hill battle to stay within striking distance of a postseason run. A key loss from last year is QB Grant Buss, who now takes his snaps at the collegiate level. This year’s team will turn to QB Mitchell Miller to fill the void left by Buss’ departure. Miller won’t have to be a one-man show though, as the RedHawks do have some athletic playmakers on offense.
Linebacker Cade Wynn will be a key clog on defense as he’ll be responsible for keeping the opposition’s running game in check.
First Game: Friday, September 1st @ Frisco Wakeland @ Frisco ISD Memorial Stadium, 7:00 PM
Frisco Heritage Coyotes
ill 2016: (2-8, 2-5) Did not make playoffs
Head Coach: Che Hendrix
Player(s) to watch: QB Amare Jones; LB/DE Orin Rhyne
There’s a new dual-threat star in 13-5A, folks. Remember former Lone Star stud Jason Shelley? He ran rampant against the Coyotes (and anyone else the Rangers played) for four seasons, but now he’s safely tucked away from 13-5A as a freshmen at Utah. Coyotes’ QB Amare Jones draws comparisons to the aforementioned Shelley, and he’s gaining almost as much FBS attention too. Should Jones continue to improve both in the pocket and out, Heritage might find themselves in the playoffs after a shaky 2016 campaign.
LB/DE Orin Rhyne will shine once again on defense as he has the size to hand any defensive line assignments coupled with the speed to step and lead a core of linebackers that have a knack for snuffing out running attacks.
First Game: Friday, September 1st @ Frisco Lone Star @ Ford Center at The Star, 7:00 PM
Frisco Reedy Lions
2016: (3-7, 1-6) Did not make playoffs
Head Coach: Chad Cole
Player(s) to watch: RB Justin Gipson; DB Dom McCorry
It wasn’t too long ago that the Independence Knights were Frisco’s newest kids on the block. It sure didn’t take much time didn’t take them to get up to snuff in the very tough world of 5A football. Current district newbies, the Reedy Lions were competitive even faster than the Knights, as they grinded out an impressive win their first year of play. They have a good chance of adding to last year’s three wins, as they have a strong running game led by RB Justin Gipson, who slashed and dashed for over 1,000 yards in 2016.
On defense, the secret sauce of Coach Cole’s defense is DB Dom McCorry who was just shy of the century mark in tackles last season (98).
First Game: Friday, September 1st, VS Frisco Independence @ Toyota Stadium, 7:00 PM
Frisco Lone Star Rangers
2016: (10-2, 7-0) DII Area finalist
Head Coach: Jeff Rayburn
Player(s) to watch: QB M.J. Rivers; LB Nicholas Bolton
Obviously, the Lone Star Rangers have some pretty big shoes to fill as former Lifestyle Frisco MVP Jason Shelley (Utah), has taken his talents to the collegiate ranks. But all is not lost for the Rangers, as Prestonwood Christian transfer M.J. Rivers has the size of a true pocket passer which adds a different look to Lone Star’s offense. And the big man can scoot too, to the tune of 4.6 forty-yard dash.
It will certainly be fun to see how Rivers can segue from TAPPS private school passer to 5A signal caller in one of the toughest districts in the area. On the defensive side, keep an eye on Nicholas Bolton. He registered 87 tackles last season and has the chops to reach triple-digits this season.
First Game: Day, Month Vs. Opponent @ Ford Center at The Star
Frisco Legacy Christian Eagles
2016: (3-6, 0-4)
Head Coach: Alan Embry
Player(s) to watch: RB Andrew Straughan; DL Sam Clayton
Don’t let the private school designation fool you, TAPPS Division II-1 is one tough district with a few teams that could easily hold their own with even the largest of public schools. On the Eagles’ district dashboard you have last year’s State Champion Lions of Grapevine Faith, as well as the 2016 state semifinalist Midland Christian Mustangs.
The Legacy Christian Eagles truly do have enough talent to hang with some of the big boys. Championing this cause will be RB Andrew Straughan, an excellent backfield blocker and big bruiser who can use his size to get those few extra yards up the middle. Legacy’s key defender might just be d-lineman Sam Clayton; a tough matchup for a team’s o-line because of his size, but don’t let the big man fool you—he’s quick enough to reek havoc in the pocket too.
First Game: Friday, Sept. 8th @ John Paul II @