Above Photo Credit: Suad Bejtovic Photography
And just like that, here we are in the midst of Week 10 with only seven long days separating us from the final game of the season.
The regular season, that is…because the playoffs—sweet, sweet postseason play, is certainly on the horizon.
But first things first, and here is a preview of the much-anticipated Game of the Year for both 5A and Frisco…
Reedy (5-0) @ Lone Star (5-0)—Fri., Nov. 3 @ Frisco Memorial Stadium
Much unlike the Frisco Lone Star Rangers, who have had success consistently since their jump from 3A to 5A, the Reedy Lions have progressively gotten better game by game, here in just their second season of varsity play.
The secret of success for the Lions is really no secret at all. They play fundamentally-sound, nearly error-free on both sides of the ball. They have a defense that is allowing just 194.6 yds via the pass per game, and a ground-stuffing line that coughs up just 171.4 yds per game. And as for points allowed per game, teams leave with a loss while having just scored an average 19.4 points per game.
Reedy’s defense is led by one of their offensive standouts, in Will Harbour. He’s got the team lead in tackles with 58, good for an average of 10.3 per game. Right on his heels is John Swope, averaging 10.1 tackles per game, with 45 total; he also provides pocket pressure with two sacks. Now when it comes to putting pressure on the QB, the Lions have two stars—Cameron Harris (6 sacks) and Matthew Hoots (8 sacks)—both can make a signal caller’s feet feel like they’re dancing in quicksand.
On offense, the Reedy Lions possess a balanced attack that is spear-headed by the precision passing of QB Josh Foskey (1,818 yds., 18 TDs) who has yet to throw one solitary interception on the season.
RB Justin Gipson, one of two 13-5A rushers with over 1,000 yds, has a nose for the end zone, as his 13 TDs can attest. WRs Sean Hall (437 yds, 2 TDs) and Bennett Mecom (377 yds, 5 TDs) tote the majority of the receiving load. The Reedy Lions are an excellent football team. But even a truly great team is going to have some problems with the Lone Star Rangers.
The Rangers have a defense that is borderline ridiculous—in a good way. In District 13-5A games thus far, Lone Star has rarely given other teams a chance. They allow just 118.6 rushing yards per game while allowing a scant 56.4 yards per game in the air.
All told, the Rangers’ defense has suffocated the opposition, allowing an unbelievably anemic 6.8 points per game. In fact, the closest a Frisco team has come to beating the Rangers was way back in Week 1 when the Heritage Coyotes put up 20 points, and still lost by three possessions. Since then, three of the Rangers’ four wins have come without allowing so much as a point. But the offense has been just as dominant, scoring an average of 45.3 points over those same four games.
M.J. Rivers (1,491 yds passing with 17 TDs, 1 INT; 612 yds rushing, 11 TDs) is a true dual-threat maniac who is basically a gun-slinging QB and a ground grinding running back all rolled into in one. His three key targets are the trio of Marvin Mims (537 yds, 8 TDs), Ife Opere (304 yds, 3 TDs) and Kavika Pittman (265 yds, 4 TDs), and when Rivers isn’t doing the running himself, the excellent Kirby Bennett III (725 yds, 10 TDs) totes the rock with great success.
Look, it’s not hyperbole to say that this is the Game of the Year for 5A. This will be a true test for both parties involved, and when the smoke settles, there’s going to be a top-ranked team with all the local bragging rights. So, who’s it going be? The Reedy Lions or the Lone Star Rangers? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.