After being held out for precautionary reasons against Coppell this past Saturday, Colleyville Heritage coach Joe Willis said junior quarterback Cam Roane is probable for the regular season finale Friday at Richland.
Willis declined to get into specifics about an injury but said Roane could have played if necessary. The 19-14 loss to Coppell really meant nothing in terms of Colleyville Heritage’s playoff hopes. Even if the Panthers (4-5, 2-3 in District 7-6A) had won, they still would need to beat the Rebels (3-6, 2-3) at 7:30 p.m. in the Birdville Fine Arts and Athletic Complex in North Richland Hills to clinch a berth.
It’s a repeat from 2014 when the Panthers defeated the Rebels. If it repeats the script, Colleyville Heritage would move into the Class 6A Region I Division II bi-district round and travel to Mansfield. In the UIL’s new pilot program, the top seeds in Division I and Division II in Class 6A can host a bi-district playoff game.
“He’s just got banged around more than anything [against Carroll],” Willis said. “He’s healthy. It’s a different situation because of where we are in the season. We just wanted to give him a week to make sure he was ready to go this week.”
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This wasn’t a last-minute decision. Willis said the coaching staff worked to prepare Jacob Sheppard, who threw for only 88 yards but had 63 on a touchdown pass to Germon Thothion that closed the deficit to five points. Coppell stiffened in the final moments after Colleyville Heritage recovered an on-side kick and drove to the Cowboys 35.
“We’re trying to get better every week,” Willis said. “I thought our defense did a great job of stopping some of the running and we controlled a pretty good receiver [Josh Fink, held to nine yards per catch]. I just like the way we competed for four quarters.”
Finding the edge
Willis doesn’t have to find any storyline for his team this week. This is a playoff game against the Rebels, who have lost three straight.
“I like the idea of where we have our backs against the wall,” Willis said. “I’ve sensed this was going to be this way for several weeks. With our team, I think what’s best for them is to play with that sense of urgency. The bigger the game, the more emphasis we have. I think we just practice better that way.”
Richland could present two dual-threat quarterbacks between Joel Wiley and Trae Self. They have been splitting time in recent weeks.
With the top Division I playoff seed in District 6-5A wrapped up following the 28-10 victory over Birdville, the Mustangs (7-2, 4-1) want to finish the regular season on a good note. They play Fort Worth Eastern Hills (1-8, 1-4) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Handley Field in East Fort Worth.
But Randy Jackson has an eye on his bi-district opponent from 5-5A. It’s either going to be Saginaw or Denton. If Saginaw upsets White Settlement Brewer on Friday, then the Mustangs play the Rough Riders. If Brewer wins, then it will be Denton at 9 p.m. Saturday at AT&T Stadium. Jackson said he hopes to speak with coaches from Saginaw this week to set possible playoff arrangements.
While the Mustangs are looking to play the same offensive line for just the second consecutive week, one area where they haven’t struggled is nose tackle. Brian Andrews has added 50 pounds to his frame to go from 190 to 240. His consistency has helped in how the Mustangs want to defend opponents.
“There are games where we turn him loose,” Jackson said. “He’s hard to block one on one. He can control the ‘A’ gaps [between the center and guards]. He can collapse them and just plays with such a great physical style. He eats a lot of space for us.”