This is one of the most anticipated showdowns of the early season, but might have lost a bit of shine when the Rangers were the victims of an upset last week with a 34-31 loss to North Forney.
Despite the setback, Lone Star remains state-ranked, checking in at No. 7 in the Associated Press 5A Division I poll, while perennial power Aledo is No. 2 in the 5A Division II rankings after a 70-7 rout of Weatherford in its opener.
Regardless of results in September, both teams still expect to be competing for state championships and this will be a good early measuring stick.
The Rangers were almost able to rally from a 21-3 deficit before coming up three points short.
They still have one of the best offenses in the state, led by quarterback Garret Rangel, who threw for 201 yards a week ago.
Wide receiver Trace Buckler stepped in nicely to the lead receiver role vacated by record-setting Marvin Mims, recording eight catches for 92 yards and two touchdowns, while Ashton Jeanty was also solid with six grabs for 67 yards.
One area the Rangers will try to get going is the ground game, as they were held to just 1.9 yards per attempt on 23 carries.
Defensively, Lone Star seemed to settle in after a slow start and held North Forney to just seven points in the second half.
The Rangers also flashed their big-play potential, as Jaden Rios and Noah Bolton each had interception returns for touchdowns.
Lone Star has put together an impressive first decade as a football program. After enduring some growing pains during a 0-10 start, the Rangers showed improvement, and during the last eight seasons, they have compiled a 82-22 record, including a trip to the state championship game in 2015 and to the semifinals last season.
If they hope to take the program to the next level, they need look no further than across the field to see the modern gold standard of success.
Since 2009, Aledo has put together arguably the most dominant run in the history of Texas high school football. During that 11-year stretch, they have compiled a mind-boggling 161-10 record and captured eight state championships, including the last two.
The Bearcats had few problems in their opener as they cruised past Weatherford in a 70-7 rout.
Aledo led 35-7 at halftime, allowing them to substitute liberally in the second half.
Sophomore quarterback Brant Hayden was impressive in his debut, completing 10-of-15 passes for 271 yards and three touchdowns.
Senior JoJo Earle had an explosive night, grabbing six receptions for 169 yards and a 73-yard touchdown and he also found the end zone on his only two carries.
Earle was not alone, as Connor Smith broke off a 58-yard touchdown run, Jeremiah James rushed for 67 yards and a score, Logan Flinta has two catches for 87 yards both of which went for touchdowns and Brayden Mendez added a 54-yard scoring grab.
Defensively, Sam Forman recorded a team-high 10 tackles, Ryan Williams and Chris Wright each made eight stops and the Bearcats combined for two takeaways and seven tackles for loss.
Though these teams have each made their share of extended playoff runs, they have often come in different divisions or regions of the playoffs and this will be their first head-to-head meeting.
While a trio of FISD teams played on Thursday, here is a quick look at tonight’s action:
Memorial at Sunnyvale
7 p.m. at Raider Stadium
Records: Memorial—1-0; Sunnyvale—1-3
Memorial kicked off its season last week with a narrow 21-20 loss to Justin Northwest. It was a tough setback, but there were positives, as the Warriors are coming off a 1-9 season and Northwest was a playoff team in 5A Division I last year.
Junior Ethan Lollar took a majority of the snaps at quarterback, completing13-of-24 passes for 122 yards and touchdowns to Jackson Schoolcraft and Tyler Arnold.
Sophomore kicker Ian Villarreal also made a difference, converting both of his field goal attempts.
Memorial got several standout efforts on defense, as well. Johnny Breeden tallied a team-high 16 tackles, while Carlos Romero, Max Honsaker, Diego Diaz, Jake Herzog and Kaleb Schraer each made 12 stops.
They will take on a Sunnyvale team that is a smaller program in Class 4A Division II, but also one that has already played four games, including a 47-14 win over Carrollton Ranchview in their last outing.
The Raiders have a dangerous offense with quarterback Max McAda, running back Obi Arinze, and wide receivers Noah McDill and Jake Taylor.
As a smaller program, most of those players are also regulars on the defensive side of the ball.
Richardson Pearce at Wakeland
7 p.m. at Frisco ISD Memorial Stadium
Records: Pearce—0-1; Wakeland—1-0
The Wolverines got off to a strong start to the season with a 38-10 rout of Sulphur Springs.
Quarterback Peyton Lewis was efficient, completing 12-of-21 for 225 yards and three touchdowns. Dugan Sexton had five catches for 132 yards and a pair of scores and Jack Mayer also had a 50-yard touchdown reception.
Wakeland was able to establish balance on offense, as Jared White (14-90, 2 TDs) nearly broke the 100-yard mark and scored twice.
The Wolverine defense also did its job, forcing three turnovers and allowing only 10 points.
Pearce opened the season with a 31-24 loss to Mesquite Horn, as it saw a late comeback fall just short.
Quarterback Burke Wahlberg was 20-of-35 for 243 yards and three touchdowns. Christopher Courrege was the main target with seven receptions for 110 yards while the scoring passes went to Anthony Bohling, Brigg Sears and Cormac Boylan.
The Mustangs struggled against the run, though, averaging only 1.9 yards on 21 attempts.
Wichita Falls Rider at Independence
7 p.m. at The Ford Center
Records: Rider—1-0; Independence—0-1
The Knights carried high hopes into the season with 15 returning starters from last year’s 10-3 regional semifinalist team, but they got a reminder there is still a ways to go with a 17-14 loss to Frisco.
The Raccoons did what few teams have been able to in limiting Independence’s dynamic quarterback Braylon Braxton. The senior still completed 14-of-29 for 130 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 53 yards on nine carries, but those were below his numbers from a year ago.
Jaedon Orr had a solid effort on the ground, with 11 attempts for 90 yards and a touchdown while Elijah Arroyo caught the scoring pass from Braxton.
Defensively, Caleb Ellis led the team with 12 tackles, with Kendall Williams, Justin Matthews and Murphy Roberts each adding nine stops. Roberts, Jaden Wallace and Xander Cherne recorded sacks and Ethan Tate and Brayden West had interceptions.
They will try to bounce back against a Rider team that posted an impressive 42-13 win over Class 6A Midland in its opener.
The Raiders were 9-5 as they advanced to the 5A Division II finals last season and returned 18 starters from that team.
That includes a 3,000-yard passer in Jacob Rodriguez, a 1,00-yard receiver in Nick Darcus, a solid running back in Tre Byrd and nine starters on defense.
Corsicana at Lebanon Trail
7 p.m. at Toyota Stadium
Records: Corsicana—1-0; Lebanon Trail—1-0
This game features a pair of teams who knocked off larger programs a week ago. The Trail Blazers notched a 39-14 win over 6A Berkner, while the Tigers earned a 28-21 win against 5A Division I The Colony.
Lebanon Trail went from one win its in augural season in 2018 to three victories last season and are hoping to continue that trend.
Quarterback Drew Martin threw for 100 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown to Jonah Johnson, and Martin, Parker Mawhee and Gregory Hatley combined to rush for 191 yards and three scores.
Defensive back Chinonso Arinze returned a punt for a touchdown and the defense held the Rams to 238 yards and forced a pair of turnovers.
That unit will have to contend with a balanced Corsicana offense.
Quarterback Solomon James threw for 180 yards and a touchdown, George Foster had nine receptions for 90 yards and sophomore Jayvon Thomas had a breakout game with 15 carries for 140 yards and a score.
Liberty at Greenville
7 p.m. at T.A. Cotton Ford Stadium
Records: Liberty—0-1; Greenville—1-0
The Redhawks battled tough a week ago before falling to Reedy, 35-27, while the Lions earned a 34-18 victory against Henderson.
Liberty returned nine starters on offense and it showed in the opener as it rolled up nearly 400 yards of offense.
Sophomore Keldric Luster made an immediate impression, completing 21-of-40 passes for 261 yards and rushing 18 times for 123 yards and four touchdowns.
Connor Hulstein had six catches for 123 yards and Preston Urbine had nine receptions for 91 yards, but Liberty will look to get the rest of the ground game going around Luster.
The defense did much better as the game went on, allowing only seven points in the second half.
Will Glatch led the team with 12 tackles, Daniel Ajayi had 11 stops, including one for loss, and Evan Hill had an interception.
Greenville got an impressive performance from its quarterback, as well, as senior Brandon Stephens threw for 86 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 92 yards and three scores.
Miles Denison and Hugh Pitts were also effective on the ground, as the Lions averaged 7.2 yards per carry.
Heritage at Saginaw
7 p.m. at Roughrider Stadium
Records: Heritage—1-0; Saginaw—0-1
The Coyotes got an offensive explosion last week, erupting for more than 600 yards in a 61-45 win over Prosper Rock Hill.
Easton Swetnam built off his solid sophomore campaign by completing 25-of-38 passes for 327 yards and six touchdowns and rushing for 105 yards and a score.
Shawn Wara also had a huge night on the ground with 16 carries for 148 yards and a touchdown, while Bryce Gilchrist (7-108), Hunter Smith (6-93) and Carsten Brewer (6-82) combined for 283 receiving yards.
Saginaw was a playoff team last season, but returned only two starters on the offensive side of the ball and that showed in a 36-0 loss to Fort Worth Southwest.