The Lone Star High School football team finished another long playoff run Saturday, completing its season with a 12-2 record after a 24-20 loss to Mansfield Legacy at SMU’s Gerald J. Ford Stadium.
“Our kids have done so much to have the opportunity to be here,” Lone Star coach Jeff Rayburn said after the game. “We came up a little bit short today, but I sure am proud of what we accomplished this year.”
Lone Star trailed Legacy (12-2) for most of the 5A Division II quarterfinal. But the Rangers battled back in the fourth quarter to take a 20-17 lead on a nine-yard touchdown pass from MJ Rivers to Ife Opere. Lone Star’s two-point conversion that followed, on a pass from Rivers to Kavika Pittman, gave the Rangers a 24-20 lead with less than five minutes left. But Legacy scored the winning touchdown on a 66-yard pass from Jalen Catalon to Randy Wright.
It was a tough ending to a great season for Lone Star, but although the players were disappointed, they appreciated what they had accomplished.
“I’m just grateful to be here, to have the opportunity to play hard,” said Lone Star defensive lineman Zivaiishe Smith. “Although we didn’t have the results we wanted, we still played our hardest.”
After the game, Rayburn reflected on how important the current seniors have been to Lone Star’s success over the last three seasons. That group of seniors, with leaders such as linebackers Nick Bolton and Noah Velicer, helped Lone Star advance to the state championship game two years ago.
During the last three seasons, Lone Star had a record of 36-6.
“It’s been an unbelievable run for this senior class,” Rayburn said. “These guys kind of put us on the map statewide. Their leadership and what they’ve accomplished speaks volumes.”