Thursday , 26 April 2018

Joe Arriola: Frisco Looks To Begin New Era With Win Over Lions

These days, the Frisco High football program is somewhat of a laughingstock. After all, the Raccoons are only one season removed from an infamous two-year losing streak and haven’t been relevant as far as the playoff picture is concerned since 2007.

But times weren’t always so tough for the Raccoons.

Those of us who have followed high school football in the McKinney-Frisco area long enough haven’t forgotten the days of the smashmouth Frisco running game and swarming, inescapable Raccoons’ defense. Even after Frisco Centennial was built, the Raccoons still refused to give up the crown, blowing out the Titans in the first four years of their rivalry by a combined score of 149-68. Even when the McKinney North Bulldogs took the field in 2006 with their best football team in school history, they still couldn’t knock off the Raccoons and were defeated 21-17.

Vance Gibson’s team was a challenge for every opponent that crossed its path and Frisco football continued to build on its already impressive tradition. Then, on November 2, 2007 the Raccoons beat McKinney North 31-13 to punch their ticket to the playoffs. Frisco would go on to lose its regular season finale against Lake Dallas the following week and shortly after would be eliminated from the UIL playoffs by Highland Park in the bi-district round.

That night would effectively mark the end of an era for Raccoons football.

In 2008, the Raccoons sunk to the bottom of the Frisco football landscape with losses to Wakeland (55-0) and Centennial (17-14) on their way to an 0-10 season. Things didn’t get much easier for Frisco High in 2009 as the Raccoons were blown out week after week and capped off another 0-10 campaign with a 70-47 loss to rival Centennial.

The Raccoons would finally put an end to the losing streak on September 3, 2010 with a long-awaited 22-7 victory at Royse City. 2010 was a year of ups and downs for Frisco High, which finished the season with a 4-6 mark, including an inner-city victory against first-year program Frisco Heritage, 40-6. Despite a record improvement, Frisco still couldn’t take down crosstown rival Centennial, losing 42-24 in the annual showdown.

This time last season, McKinney High hosted Frisco in a very intriguing matchup of two schools with longstanding tradition. On one side, you had the Lions of McKinney High, who were ushering in a new era under defensive-minded head coach Jeff Smith. Standing across the field, was a Raccoons squad that knew 2010 would be the year to break the 22-game losing streak and saw a golden opportunity in a rebuilding MHS football team.

Many people thought this game could go either way but it didn’t take long for the crowd to realize that this night belonged to the Lions, who handed the Raccoons their 23rd straight loss by a lopsided score of 42-8.

Now flip the page forward to 2011 and Friday night’s season opening game between the Lions and Frisco High. MHS is a program on the rise with a lot of young talent. Frisco, on the other hand, is a program looking to restore its rich tradition and has a group of hungry seniors that are determined to lead the Raccoons back to the promised land. In fact, Frisco High’s team motto for this season is ‘Taking Back Our Town’.

These guys mean business and McKinney High is taking notice.

After last Friday’s scrimmage victory against Denton, MHS head coach Jeff Smith reminded his players that this if the team Frisco High has been trying to build for several seasons.

“Last year they had a bunch of juniors and sophomores playing against us and they had a lot of youth,” Smith said. “This is the class of seniors that they’ve been waiting on to grow and mature and lead them deep in the playoffs.”

Smith was quick to praise Gibson and his coaching staff, who have done a good job trying to rebound from 20-plus losses.

“Their kids are very well coached,” he said.

In addition to being well coached, the Raccoons also feature a big offensive line and a speedy backfield, including senior running back Carlos Harris. As a junior, Harris rushed for 785 yards and averaged almost 9 yards per carry. Smith expects Frisco to try to use the running game in order to control the clock and said that defensive three-and-outs are the key to success for the Lions on Friday night.

-Joe Arriola,

In case you missed last week’s scrimmage featuring McKinney High vs. Denton – check out the bottom of the screen for a video recap of all the action.


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