LITTLE ELM — Even though Little Elm came into the night already eliminated from playoff contention, rivalry games always seem to find a way to make things interesting. This Friday night, though, was not one of those days.
The Colony ensured the crowd would not be a factor in this game from the start and jumped out to a lead it would never relent. By the final whistle, it was a 52-17 win for the Cougars over the rival Lobos.
Little Elm certainly was calling plays like it was its biggest game of the year, going for it on fourth down twice to start the game. Both calls resulted in turnovers on downs and the Cougars capitalized with points.
Before the clock hit nine minutes in the first frame, The Colony held a 7-0 lead thanks to a 20-yard run by way of freshman Kamden Wesley. The five-play, one-minute drive set the tone for the evening.
Wesley finished just shy of 100 yards, averaging 7.75 yards a touch and added two touchdowns.
“With a tough loss last week in overtime, we had to win this. I liked the way be practiced all week and our defense sets the tone for the offense” said Rudy Rangel, The Colony head coach. “Our offense gets a lot of credit, but I love my defensive guys that make it happen.”
Moments into the second quarter, Myles Price announced his presence in his final appearance at Little Elm ISD Athletic Complex. In triple coverage in the back of the end zone, Price made it a two-score game, 14-0, on a 15-yard dart from Mikey Harrington II.
Fellow senior and Division I college pledge Christian Gonzalez followed suit after a Little Elm fumble, adding a stand-up touchdown to make it 21-0.
Defensively, the Cougars were also dominant. Other than simply the two fourth-down stops, the tandem of Stephen McCollom and Gonzalez blanketed everything in coverage and came up with tackles for losses.
Even the special teams were clicking on all cylinders, with The Colony successfully completing an onside kick with 10 minutes left in the second quarter. That was succeeded by a 5-yard touchdown run by Price to make it a 28-point advantage.
The Texas Tech commit made a statement in his final regular-season game on his way to three first-half touchdowns alone. He capped off his explosive half with a 69-yard touchdown on a play where he simply outran everyone after a screen pass. Price would tally seven grabs for 156 yards and two touchdowns to go along with 10 rushing yards and a rushing score.
“We just wanted to have a clean game. We have been having problems with pre-snap penalties and things that have set us behind the chains,” Rangel said. “So goal No. 1 was just to have a clean game and get the ball out of Mikey’s hand fast. We let those guys get to work and that’s what we did.”
Little Elm couldn’t seem to get out of its own way in this one, dropping passes at a high clip. On three separate occasions, the Lobos dropped what would have been potential first-down gains and instead were forced to punt. The field position battle was also a struggle for the home team, with The Colony starting three of its first-half drives already inside Little Elm territory.
On the night, the Cougars produced 425 yards of offense.
The Lobo seniors finished out their careers with a pair of solid performances. Ryan Watts, the Ohio State committee closing out his illustrious career at Little Elm, would end with three catches for 35 yards and a touchdown in his swan song. Chuck Egwu also finished out his tenure with two catches for 30 yards.
As for The Colony, it will be on to the playoffs. Rangel said after the game this was a night to celebrate for now, but the going gets much tougher after this — a Thursday night bout at Lancaster awaits.
“You want to go in there with some momentum because we are going to go play a really good Lancaster team,” Rangel said. “We just want to have a good night tonight and feel good about practice. Everything is always a little sweeter when you win and we will go in there and see if we can knock those guys off.”