It was the first time in almost nine months that the lights were turned on inside Tommy Briggs Stadium and the play on the field was indicative of that theme. In a game that featured 21 combined penalties and eight turnovers, The Colony slugged out a 24-2 victory over North Crowley.
In a rematch of last year’s season opener, the play on Friday was a far cry from the high-flying offensives of 2018 when the Cougars edged the Panthers 62-49. Instead, after some early offensive fireworks, it was the defenses that reigned supreme this time around.
After the two teams traded turnovers to start the contest, Colorado commit Keith Miller III broke the scoring open. With 4:25 in the first quarter, senior quarterback Mikey Harrington connected with a streaking Miller for an 87-yard touchdown. Without any Panther within arm’s length of the senior wideout, Miller gave his senior-laden squad a lead they would not relent the rest of the evening. He would finish with 96 yards receiving.
North Crowley quarterback Chance Beachum followed the touchdown with an interception across the middle of the field at the hands of senior cornerback Stephen Wallak.
Two plays later, Harrington stiff-armed a defender and found fellow senior Blake Uselton in the back of the end zone to give the Cougars a 14-0 with 2:31 left in the opening frame. In the span of less than two minutes, The Colony’s spurt pushed the game out of reach permanently.
“It is always good to get a win on the first night. The defense was good through the whole game,” said Rudy Rangel, The Colony head coach. “The offense clicked at times, but we will watch the video and get better from it. It was a good night.”
The defense had to be the headline, pitching a shutout against an explosive Panther offense. With the average third-down distance at third-and-13 for North Crowley, Beachum and Co. looked frustrated all evening. It was a coming-out party for The Colony, which saw four different players pass around the vaunted gold turnover chain. Catalyzed by a forced fumble by senior defensive end Kylair Warner and capped off by a Myles Price interception, it was a complete performance by the unit.
Price picked up right where he left off from last year’s district MVP campaign, making an impact on both sides of the ball. In the third quarter, the do-it-all man picked up a rushing touchdown to give his team a 21-2 advantage. Price’s stat line is something you would see in a video game, with 25 receiving yards, 12 rushing yards, a rushing touchdown, an interception, nine tackles and two pass break-ups.
“He is one of the best players I have ever coached. He gets it done, but it is not just him on both sides of the ball. Christian Gonzalez and so many other guys were there tonight playing well too,” Rangel said.
Equally, sophomore transfer Shafiq Taylor wasted no time in breaking in his new uniform. The young corner lead the team with 11 tackles and two pass breakups.
The other side of the ball, however, stalled after a quick start. After throwing for 176 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, Harrington and the offense were quiet in the second. The air attack mustered up just 14 yards after the intermission, with the three-year starter finishing 15-of-23 for 190 yards.
“We seemed to be a little off, but that is what you expect, especially with a new offense. It is a new offense this year and we have some young kids,” Rangel said.
The new offensive weapon Rangel was referring to was running back Kamden Wesley. The freshman finished with 41 yards and two fumbles. After the turnovers, though, the coaching staff felt confident to stick with him and he rewarded them with a gutsy second half.
“He is a special kid and he is going to be a household name by the end of the year. It happens when you are getting hit by 18-year-olds for the first time,” Rangel said.
The Cougars will move on to a highly anticipated draw with Reedy at 7 p.m. Friday. The budding rivalry is something media, staff and spectators have circled on the calendar since the schedules were released.
“We want to play the best teams and we really happy to get the win tonight. We will fix some problems and we are excited we schedule these teams in the preseason,” Rangel said.