Home | Ennis High School | Ennis defense blanks Frisco to win 5A regional semifinal title
Laylon Spencer (7) celebrates with Dyllan Santos (2) after catching an incredible touchdown pass from Collin Drake in the third quarter of the Ennis Lions round three playoff victory Friday afternoon inside The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco. (Fred Phipps/KBEC Sports)

Ennis defense blanks Frisco to win 5A regional semifinal title

By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports

Someone once claimed that the more things change, like the shift from the I-formation to a spread offense, the more they stay the same. The latter proved to be true Friday afternoon in Frisco, as a Sam Harrell-led Ennis football team is once again headed back to a 5A regional championship. 

But the victory was not quite the high-scoring affair that Lion fans became accustomed to during Harrell’s first tenure, which last saw the Harrell-led Lions reach a regional semifinal in 2008 and regional championship in 2004 — a year that ended in one of three state titles for the hall-of-fame coach.

Those teams could sling it and sling it well. 

Friday was, instead, a 17-0 defensive showcase against a more-than-capable Frisco offense in a 5A Division II Region II semifinal inside The Ford Center at The Star. 

When asked how he thought his team and, more specifically, the Lion defensive unit played, Harrell laughed and responded,” How do you think?”

“Golly. When you throw a zero up there on their side…our defense just played great,” Harrell told KBEC Sports. “It was just a great effort by our kids and I am just so proud of them. That is hard to do this time of year, especially against a good football team.” 

He added, “Our defense as a whole played well. And it took all of them because [Frisco] was running out wide, running up the middle and they were running all sorts of places but the defense just played great.” 

Ennis limited Frisco to just 146 total yards and eight first downs during the win, which included a dismal 38 rushing yards on 23 attempts (1.7 YPC). The Lion offense netted 297 total yards and 20 first downs on the afternoon, including 183 rushing yards on 44 carries for a 4.2 yard-per-carry average. 

Junior quarterback Collin Drake led the Lion rushing attack with 87 yards on a team-high 20 carries. He also added 114 passing yards and one second-quarter highlight-reel touchdown pass to Laylon Spencer (6-55) on 13-of-24 through the air.

Ennis quarterback Collin Drake looks for an open receiver Friday against Frisco inside The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco. (Fred Phipps/KBEC Sports)

Jarius Jones (10-37) and Dyllan Santos (7-27, TD) also contributed to the Ennis rushing attack. 

The shutout is the second of the postseason for the Lion defense, with the first coming in a 34-0 bi-district victory against Frisco Reedy. The Lions also defeated Burleson Centennial 17-13 in last week’s area championship. 


It took a full 24 minutes for either team to break the scoreless tie, but the Ennis offense managed to piece together an impressive 17-play, 81-yard drive that Angel Aguillar capped with a 40-yard field goal as the first-half clock expired. 

Aguillar had previously missed a 44-yard attempt earlier in the second quarter. His redemption kick put Ennis up 3-0 at the half. 

The Lions punted on the opening possession of the third quarter, only to have the defensive unit set the group with decent field position after an interception on the third Frisco snap of the quarter. 

Ennis promptly took the air out of the football, rushing 10 consecutive times to move to the Frisco 15-yard line. 

A short completion from Drake to Spencer then set the stage for a highlight-reel, 11-yard touchdown catch by the sophomore wideout in the left corner of the endzone. Spencer went up and over a Frisco defender and got both feet down to put the Lions up 10-0 with 3:30 to play in the third quarter. 

Following a punt by each team, Ennis was unable to capitalize on a Frisco turnover with seven minutes and change to play in the fourth quarter. The Lions did, however, make the most of a Raccoon fumble on Frisco’s ensuing offensive possession, as Dyllan Santos capped a 3-play, 32-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown run to put Ennis comfortably ahead, 17-0 with 4:50 to play in the ball game. 

Frisco was afforded just two more possessions the remainder of the game, as Beasley and Jones were able to run out a large portion of the clock to seal the 17-0 Ennis win. 


Ennis, which improved to 12-1 on the season, will face No. 1 (11-1) Aledo in the 5A Division II Region II championship at 7:30 p.m. Friday at The Ford Center in Frisco. 


All photos by Fred Phipps/KBEC Sports


Fred Phipps/KBEC Sports contributed to this report. 


Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith


About Travis M. Smith

Travis M. Smith is the owner and content director of Ellis County Sports and has over a decade of award-winning sports coverage. He most recently served as the digital sports director for KBEC 1390AM/99.1FM. He is the former managing editor of the Waxahachie Daily Light, Midlothian Mirror and Glen Rose Reporter.

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