Game with Frisco High moved to The Star because of weather threat.

ENNIS — Last Friday evening, the Ennis Lions took to their home field at Lions Memorial Stadium and went head-to-head with one of the strongest teams they have encountered this season — the Burleson Centennial Spartans. Both had sparkling and matching records of 10-1, coming into the contest. This hard-fought game turned into a tough, defensive battle, especially in the second half, but the Lions of Ennis held on for the win to claim the area championship, by a score of 17-13.

The Lions’ offense took the opening kickoff and came out aggressively, but the big defensive line of the Spartans forced Ennis to punt. On the second offensive play from scrimmage for Centennial, senior running back Chris Mosley ran around the left end and burst through for a gain of 54 yards, down to the Ennis 7-yard line. The next rushing attempt found the Spartans hitting pay dirt in the end zone. Burleson had shocked the Lions with a very quick start to get the first quarter in motion. The P.A.T. was missed, so the scoreboard showed 6-0 as the Spartans took the early lead.

The Lions came roaring back, led by junior quarterback Collin Drake, and 11 plays later, senior running back Dyllan Santos crossed the goal line for Ennis. The extra point was good by Angel Aguilar, so Ennis went ahead by a score of 7-6.

Not to be outdone, the Spartans took the kickoff and quickly scored three plays later with a 7-yard rushing touchdown. New score became 13-7, Centennial.

Where the Spartans were more a “quick burst” kind of offense, the Lions methodically moved down the field in much smaller increments of yardage, but the result was still the same. EHS started on offense again, this time on its own 21-yard line. Using a 16-play, 79-yard drive, and mixing up run and pass plays down the field, the Lions scored again with Drake crashing the goal line with a 2-yard rushing touchdown. The PAT was good again, thanks to the leg of Aguilar. That’s how the half ended, Ennis 14 and Centennial 13.

The second half saw a more concentrated defensive effort from both schools. Lots of short-lived and failed drives came to a halt many times, as a fourth-down punt was often the result of awesome “D” by both opposing teams.

Toward the end of the third quarter, Ennis sophomore defensive back Devion Beasley intercepted a pass from the Spartan freshman QB Phillip Hamilton. With that big break, the Ennis offense went to work.

Drake hit Santos for a 32-yard pass and good-gainer. Four more plays later, with a fourth-and-11 dilemma, head coach Sam Harrell ordered the field goal attempt. Once again, the Lions’ consistent kicker Aguilar split the uprights with a 28-yard field goal, making the score 17-13. This gave Ennis the lead early in the fourth quarter.

The Spartans made a valiant attempt to score late in the game, after they intercepted a pass from Drake, and they took possession of the ball at Ennis’ 36-yard line. Centennial drove the field and made it down to the 10-yard line to make it first-and-goal for the game winner.

The visitors had run the ball well most of the night, but the Ennis defense stood tall and held the Spartans to a fourth-and-goal at the 5-yard line. This was “the play” for the game, and Burleson decided to throw into the end zone to score. The Lions came through to disrupt the pass, and Ennis took over on downs at their own 5.

To seal the game and to give the Lions an automatic first down due to a Spartan personal foul as called by the officials, Ennis ran out the remaining time on the clock.

The Lions will now face the Raccoons of Frisco High School this Friday at 1 p.m. Because of the threat of bad weather, their contest has been moved from Mesquite Memorial Stadium to the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco. This third-round matchup should be a great one, as both teams boast an 11-1 overall record. According to MaxPreps, the rankings show Ennis as No. 8 and Frisco High as No. 4 in the state of Texas in Class 5A Division II.