Kione Roberson

The Colony junior running back Kione Roberson rushes for yardage during a game earlier this season against North Crowley.

There are four weeks left in the regular season, but for The Colony football, head coach Rudy Rangel called Friday’s game against Frisco Heritage a “must-win.”

Seeking to extend their school record playoff appearance streak to eight seasons in a row, the Cougars (3-3 overall, 2-2 district) find themselves looking up in the District 5-5A Div. 1 standings.

The Colony trails both Frisco Independence (2-1) and Frisco Wakeland (3-2) by a half game for the final playoff spot, and the Wolverines hold the head-to-head tiebreaker by virtue of their 45-13 victory.

The good news for The Colony is that it played Class 5A’s top-ranked team Denton Ryan a week ago, but after facing Heritage (3-4, 1-4), the Cougars still have Independence (Nov. 27), Frisco Lone Star (Nov. 27) and Frisco Reedy (Dec. 4) – all playoff teams from a year ago – on the docket.

Kickoff between the Cougars and Coyotes is set for 7 p.m. Friday at the Ford Center at The Star.

“It’s 100 percent must win,” Rangel said. “We’ve got to get this one to give our team a chance moving forward. But just like every other game, we approach it the same way. We try to keep steady and prepare like anybody else. But, it’s a big game for us. There’s no doubt about that.”

The Colony lost to Denton Ryan 49-8, but Rangel said there were things that his team did well and he hopes that carries over into their next game against Heritage. Junior running back Kione Roberson picked up 87 yards the hard way against the Raiders. For the game, The Colony outgained Ryan on the ground, 143-115.

“I thought that he had one of the better games that we’ve had in a while,” Rangel said. “He earned (87) yards the hard way. It was very impressive. I love the kid to death. He works hard.

“That whole running back room, I’m infatuated with. Him, Robert Veasley, Kam Wesley. Then, we’ve got that sophomore Davonta Dunn. If you think about it, three of the four running backs are sophomores. All we’re doing is getting better by the game. And with another offseason under their belts, I will have one of the better running back groups in the state next year.”

As how The Colony’s offense plans to attack Heritage’s defense, Rangel said his Cougars are going to stick with the same formula: “three yards (per rush attempt) and a cloud of dust.” He wants his team to punish the Coyotes with their power running game.

The offensive line of seniors Chris Sanchez and Cam Thomas, junior Henry Keeler, and sophomores William Wallis and Josh Cochran have helped the Cougars rush for 4.7 yards per carry and 977 yards this season.

“A first down gets you another two and a half minutes,” Rangel said.

Heritage has had trouble keeping opponents out of the end zone. The Coyotes’ offense can put up points, having scored 252 points through seven games. Defensively, Heritage has struggled mightily, giving up a district-worst 352 points.

Offensively, Heritage has a plethora of weapons available within its five wide receiver spread scheme. Junior quarterback Easton Swetnam has passed for 1,636 and 19 touchdowns. Junior wide receiver Carsten Brewer leads the Coyotes in receiving statistics with 691 yards and 11 touchdowns, but he isn’t the only option. Bryce Gilchrist (458 yards), Hunter Smith and Cody Harrison (225) all have at least 200 yards. Junior running back Shawn Wara is a dual threat on the ground (718 rushing yards, 6 TDs) and in the passing game (326 receiving yards).

“Heritage is one of the best teams in the state offensively,” Rangel said. “Their quarterback is ranked up there in the top 20 in the state as far as passing yards. They’ve got a really strong receiving corps. They do just enough on defense to get the job done. We’ve got our work cut out for us defensively. There is no doubt about it.”

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