The strength-in-numbers theory applies to the booming metropolis of Frisco, which lies directly 27 miles north of downtown Dallas, and near the surrounding suburbs of Allen and Plano.
A rise in population in Frisco coincided with the Raccoons program getting stronger.
The Raccoons’ ascent into a state force, with 19 wins the past two seasons, comes after Frisco failed to win a single game in 2008 and 2009. Frisco finished 10-3 last year, with a chance to reach double digits again on Friday.
Frisco awaits John Tyler for regionals, with another school from the same locale, Frisco Centennial, a possibility for the winner in the state quarterfinals.
Reports listed Frisco as the nation’s fastest growing city from 2000 to 2009. The former farm town started the 1990s with just over 6,000 residents and entered the new millennium above the 33,000 mark before nearly tripling to its present-day total.
Under head coach Vance Gibson, Frisco finds itself right back in the thick of the Class 4A Division I playoff race. Thanks to a potent ground game and a sound defense, Frisco eased past Dallas Samuell in a 42-7 win in the area round.
The Raccoons opened the postseason with a thrilling 21-20 win over Highland Park, the state’s all-time winningest program. Frisco pulled out the win thanks to a 28-yard pass from Jake Battaglia to Max Steitle with 1:24 remaining.
“We’re happy with (the) result,” Gibson told the Frisco Enterprise after the win over Samuell. “We’ll just have to see what happens next.”
NOTES: Presale tickets for the JT-Frisco regional playoff game can be purchased Wednesday and Thursday (8 a.m.-4 p.m.) and on Friday (8 a.m.-noon) at the Tyler ISD athletic office. Tickets cost $4 for students, $6 for adults. Tickets cost $10 at the gate. Tickets can also be purchased at TT Lewis (903 W. Martin Luther King Jr., Blvd.) during regular business hours. There will also be a $5 parking charge at Eagle Stadium. John Tyler will be the home team and occupy the press box side of the stadium.
Next up: John Tyler, 7:30 p.m. Friday (Class 4A Division I regional)
Where: Eagle Stadium, Allen.
Head coach: Vance Gibson
Season results: North Forney, W 48-20; Byron Nelson Trophy Club, L 20-34; Lucas Lovejoy, L 24-35; Frisco Wakeland, W 21-17; The Colony, W 28-7; Little Elm, W 57-20; Frisco Liberty, W 43-35; Frisco Centennial, L 24-38; Frisco Heritage, W 51-9; Prosper, W 21-7; Highland Park, W 21-20; Dallas Samuell, W 42-7.
Records since 2000: 3-7 (00), 1-9 (01), 6-4 (02), 3-7 (03), 4-6 (04), 6-4 (05), 9-3 (06), 6-5 (07), 0-10 (08), 0-10 (09), 4-6 (10), 10-3 (11)
All-time playoff appearances: 25
Players to watch: RB Matt Nollman (939 yards, 9 TDs rushing; 162 yards, 3 TDs receiving); RB Ben Cole (755 yards, 10 TDs rushing; 11 catches, 220 yards receiving), DL Shane Roberson (6-2, 265).
Offensive outlook: The Raccoons rushed for 424 yards in last week’s win. Nollman led the way with 19 carries for 154 yards and 2 TDs, with Cole right behind with 12 attempts for 121 yards and a pair of scores. Frisco bases out the wing-T, averaging 33.3 points and 407 yards (254 rushing/153 passing) through 12 games.
Defensive outlook: Eight starters returned from last year’s 10-win team, led by a first-team all-district performer in Roberson. Frisco flustered Samuell’s offense in last week’s area round win, allowing 90 total yards and four first downs, and forcing three turnovers, including two fumble recoveries. The Raccoons yield 20.8 points per game out of their 4-3 alignment.
Team strengths: The ground attack of Frisco featuring five backs with more than 270 yards rushing paved the way through area for the Raccoons.
Noteworthy: Five Frisco schools compete in District 9-4A: Frisco, Centennial, Heritage, Liberty and Wakefield. All but Frisco opened within the last 10 years. …Only 12 miles separates Frisco from Allen, the site of Friday’s regional playoff against John Tyler at the luxuriant Eagle Stadium.
Quoteworthy: “All of our running backs are great high school football players,” Gibson said to the Frisco Enterprise. “They’re very unselfish. They work really well in pass protection and blocking for each other.”