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Frisco shuts down the Jackets

Jason Della Rosa
Herald Democrat
Denison's Jakalen Fields (32) and Lane Tharp go to tackle Frisco's Donta' Reece during District 7-5A (II) play at Munson Stadium.

When you look at the state rankings and see Frisco and Texas High right next to each other, the Yellow Jackets can understand why.

Taking on a pair of top-10 opponents is never easy but Denison felt a little better about facing the Raccoons, seeing as how they went on the road when Frisco was ranked last season and came away with a hard-fought win.

But this time around the Jackets really struggled to get anything going offensively until their final drive and Frisco came away with a 23-3 victory in District 7-5A (II) action at Munson Stadium.

Reece Stange’s 26-yard field goal as time expired saved Denison (4-3, 3-2) from its first shutout in a decade. The series saw the Jackets produce 76 yards. On their first nine possessions they totaled just four first downs, 97 yards and had a pair of turnovers. They ended with 173 yards — 105 coming on 30 carries with a long of 24.

“The kids hung in there. We’ve got to be better on offense,” Denison head coach Chad Rogers said. “Part of it’s their defense; part of it’s us.”

The Jackets have had issues against the three best teams they have played — Frisco, Texas High and Lovejoy are a combined 19-0 — and twice the only scoring was a field goal.

Jadarian Price had 11 carries for 64 yards and caught a pair of passes for 26 yards while Keleon Vaughn’s lone reception covered 18 yards for Denison (4-3, 3-2), which had a three-game winning streak snapped and fell into a fourth-place tie with Lebanon Trail. Those two will play at Memorial Stadium in Frisco on Thursday night.

“Short week, we gotta bounce back,” Rogers said. “Win or lose this had to be behind us. The faster it's behind us the better we can focus on what’s next.”

Syone Usma-Harper ran for 162 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries and Jake Gaster kicked three field goals for Frisco (6-0, 4-0), which keeps pace with Lovejoy as the district’s two undefeated teams and they will meet up on Friday.

Denison's defense to keep the game within striking distance. The Raccoons had five red-zone trips — four inside the 10-yard line — end in a turnover on downs, a fumble recovery by Vaughn and the field goals.

“The defense did a really great job,” Rogers said. “They gave us a chance.”

Gaster kicked a 32-yard field goal on the opening drive of the third quarter and then Frisco took advantage when Brandon Miyazono recovered a fumble on a Caleb Heavner scramble into Raccoon territory at the 42-yard line with 8:05 to go in the third — the first time Denison crossed midfield.

On the first play Caree Green went deep to Chase Lowery for 43 yards and four plays later he kept on a one-yard sneak to make it 20-0.

The teams then traded turnovers. Frisco was about to widen the lead when Vaughn recovered a fumble forced by the convergence of Dakota Buttrill and Keebler Wagoner on Donta’ Reece at the Denison 15. But Heavner tried to go deep on the first play and a throw into double coverage was intercepted by Arron Jamison-Johnson.

After two false starts, Green tried to go back to Lowery on the same play but Vaughn tipped it and Wagoner was there to snag it for the interception.

The Jackets went three-and-out before Frisco took seven-and-a-half minutes off the clock. Gaster’s final field goal of 26 yards came in the middle of the fourth quarter.

Frisco took a 10-0 half-time lead when Gaster kicked a 26-yard field goal as the second quarter expired.

The Raccoons had scored the only other points of the half on their previous possession. Denison was pinned deep in its end and after a punt the Raccoons started at the Denison 38. Usma-Harper got the ball on all five plays, the last a 10-yard run up the middle with 6:36 remaining in the half.

Frisco had only two other possessions to that point and one of them ended with the Jackets making a goal-line stand in the first minute of the second quarter.

The Raccoons had first-and-goal at the two. After a run gained nothing, De’Teaurean Johnson ran down Ryan Taylor on a sweep to the left for a four-yard loss. Taylor then caught a five-yard pass but Wagner hit him down just short of the end zone.

Green tried a sneak on fourth down but the middle of the Jacket line held firm and kept Frisco off the board.

Denison also had four drives in the first half. The first two series did not earn a first down and the next was the one which started after the turnover on downs just outside the end zone.

The Jackets did pick up a first down but then punted; their final possession started at their six-yard line following a penalty on the return and Denison got two first downs before punting.

Denison had only 49 yards across 19 plays heading into the locker room while Frisco was at 143 yards on 31 snaps.

District 7-5A (II)

Frisco                23

Denison              3