Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: Lovejoy, Prosper keep rolling despite jump to 4A
Lucas Lovejoy has never missed the football playoffs, and that includes the 2008 season, when the school east of Allen didn’t yet have a senior class. So when Lovejoy was bumped from Class 3A to 4A in the latest University Interscholastic League realignment, there was reason to be optimistic.
But there was also room for realism.
“Everybody was really positive,” said coach Matt Green. “But I do think that there was an element of ‘We don’t know how we’re going to do in 4A. Let’s just sit back and see what happens.’”
What has happened at Lovejoy, one of the state’s smallest 4A schools, is four wins in four games. That mirrors the start at Prosper, the school north of Frisco that is also 4-0.
Each school has won every game by at least 10 points, and Prosper has risen to No. 6 in the area 4A rankings and Lovejoy is No. 10. Moving up a class is usually difficult, but the smooth transition isn’t a big surprise for the two schools.
“We’re kind of on the smaller side in 4A enrollment,” Prosper coach Kent Scott said, “but from a participation standpoint, we’re very competitive statewide with 4A schools.”
In other words, it helps to have kids crazy about football. Prosper and Lovejoy certainly have that.
Prosper has more than 200 kids in its football program, which allows it to have two freshman teams, a sophomore team, a junior varsity team and the varsity. It had only 26 varsity players when Scott took over the program in 2006, but it’s about twice as big now, with a UIL enrollment of 1,257. It made the playoffs six straight years in 3A and won the Division I state title in 2008.
Some of Prosper’s rise comes from competing with neighbor Celina, the small-school football king that for many years gave the Eagles some royal thumpings.
“Prosper was kind of the whipping boy for them,” Scott said. “Having them right here in your backyard, having to go toe-to-toe with them, that has a lot to do with the success here.”
Lovejoy isn’t quite as large, with an enrollment of 1,104 in a 4A range of 1,005 to 2,089 students. It’s one of the smaller fish in the 4A pond, but in the last two games, it has knocked off a pair of good-sized 4A schools: Frisco (1,697) and Wylie (1,750).
Size doesn’t always matter.
“Jumping to 4A, there’s an adjustment,” Green said. “But I think that for teams that are at the top of 3A, there’s not that great of a difference. And this was a very good 3A team.”
Now Lovejoy appears to be a very good 4A team, led by the running back tandem of Nick LaSane and Daniel Sefcik, who combine to average more than 10 yards per carry and 200 yards per game.
Prosper, which features quarterback Davis Webb (orally committed to Texas Tech) and receiver Torii Hunter Jr. (Notre Dame), has beaten up on some so-so teams this year. But on Friday, Prosper plays host to Frisco Centennial, the area’s top-ranked 4A team.
It’s Prosper’s homecoming. It could also be the coming-out party for a team hoping to prove it can also be a power in 4A.
Follow Matt Wixon on Twitter at @mattwixon.
Football records for schools from the Dallas area that moved up to 3A, 4A and 5A this season.
4A to 5A
Carrollton R.L. Turner
Keller Timber Creek
3A to 4A
2A to 3A