The area round of the playoffs this Friday gives Prosper football a chance to make history and get revenge in the process.
After winning their first two playoff games, the Eagles (10-2) now must defeat Mansfield Lake Ridge (11-1) to continue their run in the playoffs on Friday, Dec. 1. A win would advance Prosper past the area round for the first time since 2008, when the Eagles won the 3A State championship.
“We’re still a building program,” Prosper head coach Brandon Schmidt said. “Our kids have to know and understand that we can play with anybody in the state.”
Lake Ridge lost its first game of the season to Denton Guyer, 36-21, but hasn’t lost again since. During their 11-game win streak, Lake Ridge has had their fare share of blowouts and have been good in close games as well, winning four times by eight points or less.
The recent history of success at Lake Ridge also speaks volumes. Head coach Kirk Thor has led his team to a 42-12 record over the past four seasons, including playoff runs to the Regional round last year and all the way to the state finals in 2015.
Prosper has not found a way to top Lake Ridge the last two times they’ve faced off, losing 20-6 two years ago and 33-16 on Sept. 8 of this season. Those are two of the three lowest point totals in any games in the past two years for the Eagles.
The Mansfield defense is one of the strongest Prosper will face all year, holding opponents to 20.8 points per game. Still, the Eagles have enough talent to hang around compared to the team they had at the beginning of the season.
“There’s really no disadvantage for us at this point,” Prosper defensive coordinator Jason Johns said. “It was so long ago. We’re a different team.”
Since that game, senior running back Kaleb Adams has emerged as a threatening force out of the backfield. He leads all Dallas-Fort Worth area 5A running backs with 29 touchdowns and ranks third with over 1,600 yards this season. Under center, junior Keegan Shoemaker has taken a firm hold of the starting position, emerging as both a runner and a passer in and out of the pocket.
Earlier this season, Lake Ridge was able to run the ball with authority against Prosper. Dual-threat quarterback Chandler Rogers put up 122-yards on the ground while Dewone Jackson ran for 92-yards and a pair of touchdowns. Expect Prosper to adjust this time around, using a talented unit that allows only 14.2 points per contest.
“We were young at the Lake Ridge game,” Adams said. “We learned a lot. It was a tough loss, but I feel like we’ll bounce back from it.”
Prosper and Lake Ridge play Friday, Dec. 1 at Standridge Stadium in Carrollton. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.