It can be hard out there for a new program. The growing pains can last for years. But maintain success might be an even tougher situation.
This is where Frisco Heritage has found itself in the gaggle of schools from the same Independent School District. This is the eighth year the Coyotes have been in existence. There has been only a single winning season so far — it was a really great one at 10-3 and a district championship. All but one other season is a losing record, the other is 5-5. Last year the Coyotes went 2-8.
It has not been a good start to the latest campaign as Heritage sits at 0-3. After opening with a 41-20 District 13-5A loss to Frisco Lone Star, the Coyotes were beaten by Colleyville Heritage, 49-14, and Grapevine, 66-52, last week.
It might be a worry that the offense is getting in gear coming into the his match-up, especially since Heritage pushed the Yellow Jackets in a 64-60 win by Denison last season.
The game against Grapevine was tied at 45 going to the fourth quarter and saw plenty of points and yards (the teams combined for 67 first downs and 1,334 yards, 822 of it on the ground).
Amare Jones led Heritage by going 14-of-26 for 141 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for 195 yards and a TD on 20 carries. Khalil Harris added 144 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. And for good measure, Cameron Rose chipped in 16 carries for 98 yards and a score.
If there is good news, it is that Denison is allowing just over two yards per carry through three games, including a run-oriented Frisco attack and held up well.
The focal point will be at quarterback because Jones went wild against the Jackets last season (312 yards and five touchdowns on 30 carries and 14-of-21 passing for 179 yards and two scores). The senior, who was first-team all-district a year ago, is 20-of-43 passing for 238 yards and four touchdowns to go with 429 yards and two touchdowns on 53 carries. And a 100-yard kickoff return for a TD.
Connor Wolfe has also seen time behind center but is not a dual threat — he is 9-of-15 passing for 104 yards and two TDs but has nine carries for zero yards.
The backfield duo of Harris and Rose have been a handful as well. Harris is at 27 carries for 228 yards and two touchdowns and Rose has 181 yards and a TD on 36 carries.
Heritage had to replace Andrew Henry, who was second-team all-district as a sophomore but transferred to the Episcopal School of Dallas.
In the receiving department, Glen Mbaku leads the way with seven catches for 107 yards and two scores. Matt Sanders also has seven catches, but for just 34 yards and no TDs. Nic McTear, who was a first-team all-district tight end as a junior, is next in yardage at 67, and Jones is actually third in receptions with four for 29 yards and a touchdown. Senior Carloss Crawford was first-team all-district last season and has a catch for four yards. There’s a chance he was injured to start the season.
On the flip side, the Heritage defense is giving up huge chunks of yards. Grapevine rolled up 669 in the win, including 39 carries for 372 yards.
Colleyville Heritage also had over 600 yards (605), although it had 395 through the air.
And in the season-opener, Frisco Lone Star just missed getting 600 yards, settling for 598 with 484 coming on the ground.
There was only one Coyote on the all-district teams last year, and he graduated.
Sophomore Kaleb Culp leads the team with 38 tackles while seniors Darryl Jett, Jarred Brown (both 23 tackles) and Andre Bradley (18 tackles) are next in line.
Culp, Ky Halton and Eric Gallegos have interceptions while Gallegos has recovered two fumbles and Oryn Rhine has the other recovery.
Connor Bourg has stepped in at kicker to replace Dalton Black, who was second-team all-district as a senior. He has made all nine extra point attempts and kicked a 21-yard field goal.
Wolfe is the punter, and is averaging 44.7 yards on 13 attempts.