Three of Frisco ISD’s finest remain in the UIL Playoff hunt. In order for those remaining Frisco Three to advance to the regional quarterfinals, they’ll have to beat three teams that have won 14 games in a row.
All winning streaks come to an end at some point, so why not at the hands of a Frisco team? Here’s a look at the matchups for this week’s regional semifinals.
4A DIVISION II REGION II SEMIFINALS
Frisco High School (11-3) Vs. Ennis (14-0)—Fri. 11/29, 7:30 PM @ AT&T Stadium
For the Frisco Raccoons to advance to the Regional Finals, they’ll have to do something no team has done all year—beat the Ennis Lions. And as if that task weren’t daunting enough, they’ll have to do so without their leading rusher, Max Steitle, who suffered a broken leg in last week’s area round.
Like the Raccoons’ offense, the Lions employ a variation of the Wing-T offense.
The strength of the Wing-T is its ability to confuse a defense. In theory, by the time the defenders figure out what is going on, it’s too late. And with the myriad of weapons that Ennis possesses, opposing defenses are sent into sensory overload.
The Lions have averaged 475.2 yards of offense per game—3,630 rushing, 2,072 passing—while scoring 44.2 points per game. And in the playoffs they have been even more lethal. The Lions blew out Lindale in the bi-district round 62-17, and were even better against Love Joy last week, as they pounded out a 64-13 win.
During both of Ennis’ playoff victories, they found themselves leading by at least 15 points after the first quarter. QB Devin Smith (117/179 1,918 yds, 18 TDs 6 INTs) doesn’t have the same gaudy ground numbers as other option QBs, but this is due to the level of talent around him. RBs Terrence Williams (1,454 yds, 22 TDs) and Nicholas Gabriel (1,019 yds, 19 TDs) are lethal on the ground, and leave the backfield to catch passes in the slot (496 receiving yards, 6 TDs combined for the two), creating matchup nightmares.
As if that weren’t enough, Smith has three WRs each of whom have 335 or more yards receiving on the year—Marcus Daggs (25/411 yds, 2 TDs), Donta Thompson (18/402 yds, 5 TDs), and Tre Elliott (19/335 yds, 4 TDs).
On the defensive side, few teams stop an aerial attack like the Lions can. While they surrender 278.3 yards per game of total offense, only 94.1 yards of that total come via the pass—the area’s fourth best total.
Frisco hasn’t made it this far by mistake; they have beaten strong offenses in Lincoln and West Mesquite to get to this point. However, if the ‘Coons can pull off the upset, you’d better believe it will take one heck of a defensive performance—something that they are surely capable of.
3A DIVISION I REGION II SEMIFINALS
Frisco Lone Star (11-3) Vs. Kilgore (14-0)—Fri. 11/29, 2:00 PM @ Forney’s City Bank Stadium
As Lone Star can attest, playing in a tough district is a great way to prepare for the UIL State Playoffs. And although 9-3A is one of the area’s finest, it doesn’t compare to the “District of Doom,” aka 16-3A. Of the four schools which qualified for the postseason tournament, all four are still going strong. And the Rangers have the unenviable task of taking on the Doom’s toughest opponent, Kilgore.
Last season, the Kilgore Bulldogs were within one win of playing for a state title. Thanks to seven returning starters on both offense and defense, the Bulldogs are even better than they were a year ago. And since that 42-32 loss to eventual 3A State Champ Stephenville, the Bulldogs have done nothing but win.
During last week’s area round preview, it was noted that the Rangers would need to step up on defense to pull off the win over Princeton. Lone Star did that and more, as they dominated the Panthers on both sides of the ball in the 35-0 rout. In order to get past Kilgore, the defense will have to be at their best once again.
Offensively, Kilgore is led by QB Benny Colbert (900 total yards of offense, 13 TDs, 3 INTs), RBs Kevrin Justice (1,217 yards, 24 TDs) and Davieonta “JuJu” Brown (881 yds, 11 TDs).
Facing a multi-faceted offense is nothing new for the Rangers, however, as they went toe-to-toe with Sanger in the first round and blew out Princeton last week. Along the way, the Rangers defense has had to contend with the area’s top running backs, and now their offense boasts the area’s top running back still in the playoff picture, in Ramon Harris (1,602 yds, 19 TDs).
For the Rangers to move on, it will take a total team effort on offense as well as defense, but if Lone Star can play up to its full potential, they certainly have a chance to advance to the state finals.
TAPPS DIVISION III STATE SEMIFINALS
Frisco Legacy Christian (12-2) Vs. First Baptist (14-0)—Sat. 11/30, 6:00 PM @ Pennington Field
For the second week in a row, the Legacy Christian Eagles take on a team they have faced before in 2013. However, unlike last week’s matchup against FW Temple, the Eagles’ first meeting with First Baptist didn’t go so well, as they lost 56-28.
Featuring one of the state’s premier passers in QBs in Max Partlo (2,269 yds, 42 TDs, 4 INTs), Legacy has got their work cut on for them. The problem with First Baptist is that even though they have an elite pocket passer running the show, he is far from their only weapon.
Alongside Partlo’s favorite passing target, WR Trae Hart (890 yds, 13 TDs) are two excellent running backs. Justen Tatum (826 yds, 14 TDs) and Jaylin Nelson (687 yds, 10 TDs) can grind out yardage with ease.
First Baptist is just as good on defense as they are on offense. Averaging just 163.9 total yards of offense allowed per game, the Saints are particularly good at stuffing the run (77.6 yards per game). And are no slouches in stopping the pass too (86.3 ypg). Thus, it will be up to dual-threat QB Ryan Davis to get his offense going early and often, and he’ll need some help from his defense to keep the nuclear-level Saints offense from piling on the points.
Be sure to check back next week for Lifestyle Frisco’s regional semifinal review.