Above Photo Credit: Suad Bejtovic Photography
For this week’s Game of the Week, you have the tale of two unbeaten perennial contenders duking it out for 5A Area supremacy. And don’t let the near triple-digit heat fool you, as this matchup between the first and second-ranked schools in the area is sure to have all the excitement of a frosty foray of the late December variety.
Frisco Lone Star (1-0, 3-0) VS Denton Ryan (0-0, 3-0)—The Ford Center at the Star, 7:00 PM
Much has been said about District 13-5A’s Wakeland Wolverines, and their prolific offense. However, let’s not overlook the equally potent attack of the Lone Star Rangers.
The Rangers are putting up just over 40 points per game, thanks to an offense that averages over 440 yards per game, so it’s no surprise they’ve been ranked as the state’s 15th best football team.
Lone Star, led by dual-threat QB M.J. Rivers, a Prestonwood Christian transfer, has been doing just fine in 5A. Rivers, a superior runner, has amassed 329 yds with seven TDs on the ground through his first three games.
Although he has completed slightly fewer than half of his pass attempts, he’s allowed just one interception with three TDs. Rivers’ favorite targets are WRs Kavika Pittman (105 yds, TD) and the explosive Marvin Mims (70 yds, 2 TDs).
Essentially, when a team schemes for the Rangers, they have to prepare the defense as if there are two star running backs to contend with. Rivers has found the end zone with his legs on seven occasions, as has Lone Star’s primary RB, Kirby Bennett III while adding 421 yds to his ledger.
The Denton Ryan Raiders, are every bit as potent offensively as Lone Star. The Raiders’ pistons begin firing when QB Spencer Sanders has the ball. Like the Rangers’ M.J. Rivers, Sanders is a dual-threat signal caller but he is even more dangerous with the aerial attack than his counterpart.
Accountable for just under 1,000 total yards of offense through his team’s first three games, Sanders has thrown for 783 yds and 10 TDs—with just one interception—with four more scores on the ground as he has accumulated 210 rushing yards.
Sanders’ is at his best when he finds his main weapon, WR Gabriel Douglas (364 yds, 7 TDs) in open space. The speedy Billy Bookman Jr. (114 yds, 3 TDs) can burn a defense on his own but is especially dangerous when Douglas is double-teamed. The Raiders primary foot soldier is RB Emani Bailey (269 yds, 4 TDs) who takes advantage when a defense is too keyed up to defend the pass.
The Lone Star Rangers get the edge in their ability to run the ball, with the Ryan Raiders providing a more solid passing attack. Look for both team’s sound defenses to step it up even further for good old fashioned showdown as two talented teams provide an early glimpse into the postseason.