Cinco clinches playoff berth, Rutherford has record-breaking night

By Tyler Tyre, Sports Editor
Posted 10/30/21

“We know how good we could be and all the work we have put in is finally showing,” Rutherford said. “When our offense plays like we can and our defense stops them like we know we can, when we mesh like this it feels great. Our team is at a great point right now and we’ve all come together and it’s showing.”

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Cinco clinches playoff berth, Rutherford has record-breaking night

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Cinco Ranch got together as a team a week after the season last year and made a commitment.

After winning one game over the course of two years, Chris Dudley wanted his team to leave all the baggage from past teams into the offseason.

The team embraced that attitude and pushed through the offseason, through summer strength and conditioning and into the season.

That buy in has paid off for the Cougars (6-3, 3-2), as the team clinched its first playoff berth since 2017 by beating Morton Ranch (4-5, 2-3) 55-16 on Friday night at Rhodes Stadium in a District 19-6A matchup.

“It hit me with about a minute to go that we did it,” Dudley said. “It’s a great feeling for the community and a great feeling for the players and parents who have been supportive. I’m just so proud of the coaching staff, because there were a couple years there where it was rough. To have the kids be able to enjoy this moment, it’s a special thing. I’ll never forget it.”

There was never a doubt in any Cougar players mind on if the team could make the playoffs, it was just a matter on how it would get done. On Friday, a big part of that answer, as it so often has been this year, was Gavin Rutherford.

The quarterback had the best game of his career in the biggest moment of his career, throwing for 435 yards and six touchdowns while rushing in another score.

The six touchdowns and 423 yards passing both broke single game records for Cinco Ranch as Rutherford continued to shine as a junior.

“I can’t even put into words what it means,” Rutherford said. “But I really can’t do it without my team, without my coaches and my line and my receivers. My job is just to get the playmakers the ball and let them do what they can do and what I know they can do. I depend on my line and they did whatever they could for me. I’m so proud of them and this is really up to them. I can only do so much, this is really something for everybody around me. I just love my team and we all love each other. This is a real brotherhood.”

Cinco started the game off with an interception and Rutherfod didn’t take long to take an impact, throwing a touchdown pass to Grayson Williams on the Cougars opening drive.

Morton Ranch answered back with a touchdown on a Santana Scott 8-yard run and made it a one-point game, but Rutherford threw a 23-yard touchdown pass on the next drive to give Cinco Ranch more distance.

Morton Ranch again trimmed the lead to one early in the second quarter, but from there, the Cougars switched into a different gear.

Rutherford threw touchdown passes of 21 yards, 48 yards and 24 yards in the second quarter to Noah Abboud, Seth Salverino and Fischer Reed, before Morton Ranch’s Juan Arriaga kicked a 38-yard field goal as time expired in the half and Cinco Ranch went into the half with a 34-16 lead.

Rutherford and Cinco Ranch didn’t slow down in the second half. Rutherford ran in a 1-yard touchdown to start the third quarter before Sam McKnight scored late in the fourth quarter. Rutherford broke the passing yards record on the next drive and broke the passing touchdowns record when he threw an 18-yard touchdown early in the fourth to Salverino.

“Special, that’s what (Rutherford) is right now,” Dudley said. “He’s really developed into an outstanding football player and outstanding leader. What he does off the field is just as impressive as what he does on the field. To have a quarterback at this level make it look effortless is so impressive. He’s poised and his knowledge of the game is mature beyond his years. He’s just scratching the surface and can still get better and I can’t wait to see that.”

Senior safety Fordham Parks made an interception midway through the fourth and Cinco Ranch ran out the clock from there.

“It felt really good because last year I wasn’t able to clinch the game for us,” Parks said. “It just felt really good but I only got that pick because of my defensive lien and linebackers. They got pressure on the quarterback. I wouldn’t be able to do anything without those guys.”

After the game, Fordham and the other seniors that have been on varsity for three years stood up in the locker room and were recognized by their teammates for going through the lows and getting to the highs of the program.

 “The guys that have been through that mean so much to us, they’re all such leaders and they’ve been through those trials and tribulations,” Dudley said. “Fordham is a guy that leads with how he plays on the field. He gets everyone lined up in the secondary and he makes those splash plays in both the run and pass game. He’s got tremendous speed and instincts and his game has grown tremendously from his junior year to his senior year.

The Cougars know there is work to be done, but for now, they are savoring the moment.

“We know how good we could be and all the work we have put in is finally showing,” Rutherford said. “When our offense plays like we can and our defense stops them like we know we can, when we mesh like this it feels great. Our team is at a great point right now and we’ve all come together and it’s showing.”

Cinco Ranch 55, Morton Ranch 16

Cinco Ranch

14

20

14

7  

 --

 55 

Morton Ranch

 6

10

 --

 16 

First quarter

Cinco: Gavin Rutherford 57 pass to Grayson Williams (Santiago Taborda kick) 6:55

Morton: Santana Scott 8 run, 3:50

Cinco: Rutherford 23 pass to Noah Abboud (Taborda kick) 3:10

Second quarter

Morton: Ryan Hall 1 run (Juan Arriaga kick) 11:42

Cinco: Rutherford 21 pass to Abboud (Taborda kick) 9:47

Cinco: Rutherford 48 pass to Seth Salverino (Taborda kick) 5:06

Cinco: Rutherford 24 pass to Fischer Reed, 1:36

Morton: Arriaga 38 field goal, 0:00

Third quarter

Cinco: Rutherford 1 run (Taborda kick) 9:25

Cinco: Sam McKnight 21 run (Taborda kick) 1:43

Fourth quarter

Cinco: Rutherford 18 pass to Salverino (Taborda kick)

Team stats

Cinco Ranch

 Morton Ranch

  First downs

 16

 19

  Yards rushing

 17-53

 45-236

  Yards passing

 435

 85

  Passes

 16-22-6-0

 10-26-0-2

  Punts

 4-31

 4-37

  Fumbles-lost

 2-0

 1-1

  Penalty-yards

 6-45

 7-60

Individual Statistics

Rushing – Cinco Ranch: Sam McKnight, 6-42-1; Eric Eckstrom, 5-8; Gavin Rutherford, 6-3-1; Morton Ranch: Santana Scott, 27-109-1; Josh Johnson, 12-95; Ryan Hall, 4-37-1; Juan Arriaga, 1-(-5)

Passing – Cinco Ranch: Gavin Rutherford, 15-21-423-6-0; Jack McCall, 1-1-12-0-0; Morton Ranch: Josh Johnson, 10-26-85-0-2

Receiving – Cinco Ranch: Seth Salverino, 5-192-2; Fischer Reed, 5-115-1; Noah Abboud, 4-59-2; Grayson Williams, 1-57-1; Dylan Kripki, 1-12; Morton Ranch: Santana Scott, 3-29; Cameren Hudson, 2-28; Mike Gerald, 4-23; Josiah Mills, 1-5;

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