Pictured Above: Lone Star High School WR Kavika Pittman.
Photo Credit: Diaz Design and Photography
5A Division II Region 2 Area Round Playoffs
Lone Star (11-1) VS Lovejoy (6-6)—42-9
The playoffs can be weird.
With two high-scoring offenses like Lovejoy’s and Lone Star’s going head-to-head in the UIL Area Round, it only stands to reason that each team’s early efforts would be highlighted by defense rather than more traditional point-scoring ability.
At the close of the first quarter, the Leopards of Lovejoy held a 9-7 lead over the Rangers of Lone Star. It looked as though Lone Star, in a similar fashion to their bi-district game against The Colony a week ago, would need a couple of quarters to get their offensive juices flowing.
Well, the Rangers put points on the board in the first half, twenty-eight of them to be exact, but they didn’t use a traditional approach. That is, LB Nicholas Bolton (2 INTs) supplied roughly fifty-percent of the first half’s point total thanks to two pick-sixes, one in the first quarter and another in the second.
Not exactly the type of “offense” drawn up on the board for the game plan, but hey, they’ll take it. In fact, the interception was a theme that would continue for the Lovejoy Leopards—throwing them, that is. Leopards southpaw QB Carson Collins (186 yds, TD, 5 INTs) under duress from the outset, would toss four of them in the first half alone.
Bolton’s second pick of the game put the Rangers in full control, up 21-9, as the Leopards were forced away from their pass-happy comfort zone and limited to a running game that couldn’t quite get their coffee to brew just right. All lukewarm decaf, save for RB Bumper Pool.
Lovejoy’s Iovinelli brothers combined for 142 total receiving yards—Beau (86 yds) and Jake (56 yds) but Lone Star’s overall defensive dominance made the Leopards turn to running the ball, which, as mentioned, was futile at best. Pool (64 yds) averaged over seven yards per carry, but their primary rusher, Jahi Rainey, amassed just 33 yards, and never caught a whiff of the point-scoring promised land.
Lovejoy, up 9-7 starting the second quarter, helplessly watched as the Rangers slapped the Leopards’ paws right out off the steering wheel while nestling comfortably in the driver’s seat as Darrin Smith (50 yds, TD) produced a 28-yard run to put Lone Star on top; a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Next up in that three-TD fandango of a quarter was the aforementioned Bolton’s 46-yard interception return, his second, boosting the Rangers’ lead to 12. Then it was an M.J. Rivers (215 yds passing, 3 TDs, 1 INT) one-yard toss to Kavika Pittman (40 yds, 2 TDs) that would lead the Rangers to a 28-9 advantage, and a very anti-climatic second half.
The Lovejoy Leopards did show some flashes of excellence, as their defense kept the Rangers’ run game at bay, as Kirby Bennett III (36 yds) and Rivers (38 yds) were each held to pedestrian performances on the ground.
But as we all know by now, the Lone Star Rangers are far from a one-dimensional unit. One way or another, the Rangers are going to put points on the board, and in bunches.
And although the playoffs are one bizarre bird, there’s nothing more normal than Lone Star burning out the bulbs in every scoreboard they find.
Up next for the Rangers are the Regional Semifinals and a matchup with the Waxahachie Indians (8-4) who are fresh off an impressive pounding of South Oak Cliff. We’ll have a full preview available soon and a Regional Semifinal Podcast Preview too!