Defensive battle: Late stops give Wakeland victory over The Colony
FRISCO -- The Colony and Frisco Wakeland have two offenses with different identities.
The Cougars use a run-dominated offense that features clock management and efficiency while the Wolverines use a quick-strike attack behind the arm of junior quarterback Jackson Lamb.
However, it was Wakeland's ground game and defense that made the difference during Thursday night's contest at Frisco ISD Memorial Stadium, with the Wolverines prevailing for a 21-14 victory.
"We felt like we needed to run the ball better and we worked on it all week in practice," said Marty Secord, Wakeland head coach.
Following a punt on its opening drive of the game, Wakeland got some help from The Colony when a bad snap pinned the Cougars deep in their own territory.
An eventual punt gave Wakeland a shortened field and the Wolverines made the most of the opportunity by marching 47 yards for the game's first score.
The drive was capped off by a 1-yard sneak from Lamb after the junior found senior receiver Jonahthan Weisheit on a screen pass to the 1-yard line during the previous play.
Wakeland would carry the 7-0 lead into the second quarter after both teams traded punts during the final two possessions of the frame.
The Cougars looked to even the score early in the second when junior running back Bryan Hammond marched his team into Wakeland territory before The Colony settled for a 42-yard field goal attempt from junior Noe Villareal that went wide left.
The team's defense would give Hammond and the rest of the backfield another chance after forcing a quick punt from Wakeland. Senior fullback Trevor Briggs capitalized this time and finished a 78-yard drive by sprinting 8 yards for the game-tying touchdown with 6:28 left in the opening half.
Briggs ran for 39 yards on eight carries but was overshadowed by Hammond, who finished the game with 270 yards and one touchdown on 35 carries.
Wakeland junior Tyler Carver responded with a touchdown run of his own from 2 yards away just minutes later, giving the Wolverines a 14-7 lead with 1:54 remaining in the second quarter.
"If you give [Carver] the ball, he's going to do some good things with it," Secord said.
Carver muscled his way to 54 yards and a score on 15 carries to become Wakeland's leading rusher in the game.
The Colony botched a chance at tying the game before halftime when senior quarterback Troy Chandler was intercepted by senior Doriel Yeager near the end zone. The Wolverines ran out the final 32 seconds of the half and carried a 14-7 advantage into the locker room.
The second half was much of the same for both teams, with Chandler tossing another interception on The Colony's second drive of the third quarter.
Junior Chris Allen returned Chandler's pass to The Colony's 14-yard line, setting up an 8-yard touchdown pass from Lamb to senior receiver Turner Smiley.
Lamb's only touchdown pass of the night gave the Wolverines a 21-7 lead with 6:17 left in the third and allowed the junior to finish with 92 yards after completing 10-of-19 attempts.
Hammond put The Colony right back into contention by leading an 81-yard drive that ended in a 12-yard touchdown run from the junior with 2:51 left in the third.
Neither team would find the end zone again though, as The Colony turned the ball over on downs in back-to-back drives during the fourth quarter.
The second failed fourth down gave Wakeland possession with just 2:10 remaining in the game and the Wolverines were able to burn clock after Lamb hit Smiley for a key first down conversion.
"We needed to make some stop and we did that," Secord said.
Wakeland (6-2, 3-2) stayed at fourth place in the District 9-4A standings with the victory and a key showdown against Little Elm Friday night could go a long way in determining the final playoff team from the district.
"It's another big game for us," Secord said. "We looked at it like a three-game season going into tonight's game and now we have two more games left."
The Colony (4-4, 2-3) dropped from a three-way tie for fourth place down to sixth place with Friday's loss. The Cougars will look to rebound with a vital contest against defending champion Centennial.
Both games are slated for 7 p.m. kickoffs.
"This was a big win," Secord said. "Without this one, you're almost out of it."