The Colony, after an impressive 8-2 season, was regarded as a dark horse pick to make a deep run this playoff season. They gave undefeated Frisco Lone Star their toughest test of the season, a 41-38 back and forth game. Their only other loss came to also 8-2 Frisco Independence in double overtime. Glenn Rice Jr. and the Lancaster Tigers, however, had other plans for The Colony Cougars.
On Thursday night in the opening slate of games for the Texas High School Football playoffs, it was Lancaster that knocked off The Colony 44-29 to improve to 9-2 and send the cougars home early and disappointed.
Lancaster has been one of the more impressive teams in 5A all season long. They opened the year with a competitive 24-3 loss to state powerhouse Duncanville, but ever since have gone on a run.
From September 20th to October 18th the Tigers’ faced four opponents and won by a total score of 270-0. Four games, four consecutive shutouts, four consecutive games of 60 plus points.
They parlayed that success into a battle against Highland Park that they took to overtime and what would eventually be the de facto district championship game. They ultimately lost the game in overtime 42-35 but Texas had been put on notice. These Tigers were legit.
Lancaster is led by its impressive QB-RB duo of Glenn Rice Jr. and Tre Bradford respectively. The offense as a whole is averaging a hair over 48 points a game whilst the defense is only letting up 14. A point differential of almost five touchdowns per game is bound to lead to some success.
That success came Thursday night when Lancaster, took a 23-7 lead early over The Colony and never looked back.
Lancaster got things started off early when defensive back, Barry Green intercepted a screen pass and took it to the house for the quick lead.
The Colony struck back with a touchdown run of their own but early in the second quarter a pair of Tigers’ touchdowns by Karon Neblett and Tre Bradford, the latter of which finished the game with 248 yards, extended their lead to 14.
The Colony on the very first play of its next drive was stopped for safety and just like that the Tigers were cruising.
The Cougars kept clawing back close enough to at one point make it a two-point game at 23-21. That’s when Tre Bradford struck.
Bradford took a handoff up the middle and walked untouched from 37 yards into the endzone for his second time of the day and thus making it a 30-21 lead.
The killing blow was later delivered by Rice Jr. on a read-option that he took to the house himself.
“That touchdown felt great,” Rice Jr. said. “My offense gave me great blocking that set me up for success.”
Glenn Rice Jr. is a massive reason for the Tigers’ success this season as he now has 2,243 total yards on the season for 25 touchdowns.
“I’ve been in the lab my whole life,” Rice Jr. said. “It’s finally paying off, hard work and studying your opponent.”
The Colony came into this bi-district matchup averaging 44.5 points a game and the Tigers defense held them to just 29. Their second-lowest point total all year.
“My defense has been giving me consecutive stops.” Rice Jr. added.
“Our offense has been putting up a great amount of points, the key with us is heart and belief.”
Lancaster coming off of their impressive victory gets an extra days rest as they await star quarterback Dillon Markiewicz and the 10-1 Mckinney North Bulldogs.
“You can expect us to work harder than ever and prepare the best game planning we can.” Rice Jr. said.
Lancaster has only one football state championship appearance to its name since a 2012 4A Division II 17-7 loss to Cedar Park.
With Glenn Rice Jr., Tre Bradford and the stout Tigers defense the possibilities for the 2019 squad are limitless. Rice Jr. put it best when he said – “Expect the unexpected.”