By DAVID CLAYBOURN
The Colony Cougars played keep-away with the football for most of their 21-7 victory last year over the Greenville Lions.
They held the ball for 38 more plays and nearly 10 more minutes while outgaining the Lions 394-115 in total yards and gaining a big advantage in first downs (23-5).
Greenville will try to get the football back more often from the Cougars during tonight’s 7 o'clock rematch at Tommy Briggs Stadium in Lewisville.
Greenville coach Marvin Sedberry said he’s expecting another physical contest.
“Especially them coming off a win and playing at their home,” he said. “I think they’ll be ready to get after it.”
The Cougars may have been the most physically strong team the Lions played in 2012.
Sedberry said this Cougar team is every bit as strong as the last one was.
“They are huge up front, especially offensively,” he said.
Senior Bryan Hammond will run the football often behind that big line. Hammond rushed for 156 yards on 23 carries in the Cougars’ 27-7 win over Saginaw last week, scoring on bursts of four, 10 and four yards. Hammond pounded his way for 146 yards on 23 carries in The Colony’s win over Greenville last year, scoring on a 1-yard run.
The Colony finished with 242 yards against Saginaw, including 192 rushing, and limited Saginaw to only 117 total yards, while forcing six turnovers.
Greenville lost its opener last week to Princeton, 34-22. Greenville trailed 27-0 at halftime but came to life in the second half to outscore (22-7) and outgain (250-94) the Panthers during the final 24 minutes.
“I thought we played decent football,” Sedberry said of the second half. “In the second half we still made some mistakes. We were pleased with the effort the kids gave and they fought to the end.”
Sophomore Spencer Gilbert II, in his first varsity start at quarterback for the Lions, rushed for 45 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries and was 7-of-23 passing for 84 yards. Gilbert scored on runs of seven and five yards and tossed an 11-yard touchdown pass to receiver D’erren Wilson.
T.J. Hughes booted two extra points for the Lions and the defensive lineman John Franklin produced Greenville’s other two points, tackling a Princeton ball carrier in the end zone. Franklin was a force on defense for much of the game.
Defensive end Grant Blankenship, a 6-6, 245-pounder with 4.7 speed in the 40-yard dash, is a player to watch for the Cougars, according to Sedberry.
The Lions will be looking to snap a losing streak that now stands at 31 games.