CARROLLTON, Texas – A heavyweight battle between Prosper and Lake Ridge High Schools lived up to the hype, though the Eagles ultimately won 38-28 in the 5A Regional Semifinals on Friday at Standridge Stadium.
Mansfield Lake Ridge (12-1) was led by running back Cartraven Walker, who finished with 250 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 23 carries. Overall, Lake Ridge outgained Prosper 550-to-291, including 404 yards on the ground as a team.
Meanwhile, Prosper (10-3) played the majority of the game without star senior running back Kaleb Adams, who entered the game leading all Dallas-area backs with 29 touchdowns this season.
Adams sprained his ankle late in the first quarter and did not return. Without him, Prosper’s approach did not change but ultimately wasn’t enough to get the win.
“We wanted to keep doing what we did all year,” Prosper Offensive Coordinator Tyler Moore said. “[Adams] is a great running back. I wouldn’t trade him for anybody else in the state of Texas.”
Without Adams, Prosper couldn’t get things going. They were shut out in the second half despite being able to keep things close until the final seconds ticked off the clock.
“Unfortunately, we struggled to move the ball on offense,” Prosper Head Coach Brandon Schmidt said. “We had a key turnover there towards the end of the game. It just didn’t go our way.”
Prosper made a late comeback push in the fourth quarter, driving the ball into goalline territory with an opportunity to make it a three-point game. The drive ended with a DJ Love fumble recovered by Lake Ridge at the five-yard line.
Prosper’s defense forced two fumbles to gain the edge in the first half. On Lake Ridge’s second drive of the game, Walker was stripped on third down, setting up a scoring drive to put Prosper up 14-7 early in the second quarter.
A few possessions later, Walker lost hold of the ball on what would have been a fourth-down conversion. Prosper’s Noah Ellis picked it up and returned it 78 yards all the way to the 1-yard line. David Alvarez followed up with a goal line plunge to put Prosper up 28-14.
Walker made up for his mistakes with big runs to keep control of the game. He took a run for 41 yards on Lake Ridge’s first play from scrimmage and later had a 46-yard touchdown to tie the game at 14-14 late in the first quarter.
His third score of the first half came with 13 seconds left on the clock, cutting Lake Ridge’s halftime deficit to seven points. Lake Ridge came out and scored again on its first possession to begin the second half. Still, Prosper was able to lurk around and keep things close.
“We’ve always fought until the very end,” said Blake Harrington, Prosper Eagle senior defensive back. “We’re not going to give anything up. I love my guys, and they play hard to the whistle.”
Friday night’s third-round loss marked third time Prosper has lost to Lake Ridge in the past two seasons. Lake Ridge’s 11-game win streak began with a 33-16 victory over Prosper on Sept. 8.
Lake Ridge moves on to face Highland Park, which won the 5A Division I State Championship in 2016, in the Regional finals.
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