Frisco and Centennial entered Thursday’s 6-5A Division I contest with similar, albeit, somewhat different approaches.
Both the Raccoons and Titans were focused on controlling time of possession and keeping their opponent off the field, and to varying degrees, both were successful.
Frisco has enjoyed success with this game plan for several years with its wing-T attack.
Centennial, however, does not have the same personnel, and its ground game was missing its key piece with leading rusher Harry Stewart not in action.
The Titans tried to counter with a deliberate, short passing attack, and that worked for a while as they jumped to the early lead.
But in the end, Frisco had just a little too much, as it was able to claim a 24-10 victory on Thursday at The Ford Center at The Star.
The Raccoons improve to 2-0 in district and 3-1 overall, while Centennial falls to 1-1 and 2-2.
Frisco led 10-3 at halftime and appeared to take control early in the third quarter with one of its patented clock-chewing drives.
The Raccoons gobbled up nearly five minutes during a 10-play 72-yard drive, which was capped when Kam Pendergraph darted around the left side and went untouched eight yards into the end zone to push the advantage to 17-3.
Centennial had moved the ball well in the opening quarter behind quarterback Naman Goyal, but he did not play in the second.
Goyal returned after halftime, but the Titans quickly went three-and-out on their first two drives of the second half.
But Centennial was able to hold Frisco on fourth down on the first play of the fourth quarter and the offense recaptured the rhythm it had at the start.
The Titans moved 72 yards in six plays, with Goyal lofting a deep ball to Trey Herbert, who battled with a defender at the goal line and then caught the bobbled ball to complete a 37-yard touchdown to close the gap to 17-10.
If momentum was on Centennial’s side, it did not last long.
On the ensuing kickoff, Ismael Taylor burst right through a hole in the defense and outraced the rest of the field for a 92-yard touchdown return and Frisco instantly had its two-score lead restored at 24-10 with 9:15 left.
The Titans threatened to make it a game twice down the stretch.
But one drive ended with a turnover on downs, and in the final seconds, Taylor picked off a pass in the end zone to secure the victory.
Early on, it was Centennial who was setting the pace.
Goyal completed his first 11 pass attempts, including six on the opening drive, as they took up nearly half the first quarter on a possession that was capped when Jack Davis booted a 40-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead.
Frisco’s opening drive stalled near midfield and the Titans went back to work, this time on a five-minute,13-play drive.
However they would come away empty when after converting a pair of earlier fourth-down attempts, they were denied a third when Mason Mitchell’s sack gave the Raccoons the ball.
This time, Frisco wasted little time, moving 62 yards in just four plays. Quarterback Camren Gibson hooked up with Jaylen Archibald for a 35-yard gain, and Brandon Miyazono, who had 114 yards on just eight carries, broke through the defense for a 24-yard touchdown run to give the Raccoons a 7-3 lead.
With Goyal on the sideline in the second quarter, the Centennial offense stalled and Frisco was able to take advantage late, getting a 29-yard field goal from Mason Stallons to enter the locker room with a 10-3 advantage.
The momentum continued to swing back and forth in the second half, but Frisco had too much as it was able to make the plays to secure the victory.