High School Football

Cinco Ranch defense steps up in big win over Paetow

By Tyler Tyre, Sports Editor
Posted 10/15/22

“Just knowing that we had our defense back there to get us the ball back and get us the ball back, get stops on fourth downs, they even had a huge fourth and goal stop to keep them out of the endzone and I told the guys ‘this is the most proud I’ve been of the defense all season.’"

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High School Football

Cinco Ranch defense steps up in big win over Paetow


Cinco Ranch’s offense has been getting it done all season.

The Cougars came into this week having scored over 40 points in six of seven games this season, and in every game in district play, and they had had over 200 passing yards in every game in District 19-6A through the season as well.

Cinco Ranch had leaned on their offense to get wins and they had delivered, but things changed on Friday.

On Friday, the Cougars (6-1, 5-1) found themselves in a defensive slugfest, a spot the team hadn’t been in all year, as they traded blows with Paetow (3-4, 3-4), going back and forth all night long.

Yet in the end, it was still Cinco that came away with the victory behind a huge defensive performance and rushing attack, topping Paetow 35-24 and moving to 5-1 in district play.

“We knew there would be a game where we had to step up defensively and this was it,” said junior cornerback Taytum Johnson. “We have to know we can never settle as a defense and that’s what we’ve been working on. We had a good game two weeks ago, we were better last week and then we stepped it up even more this week, we have to keep doing that every week from now on.”

The Cinco defense was stout on the night, holding Paetow to under 100 yards passing and holding the Paetow run game when they needed to while also coming away with two turnovers and multiple huge fourth down stops, helping a Cinco offense along the way that struggled at times throughout the game.

“It really helped us out as an offense,” said senior quarterback Gavin Rutherford. “Just knowing that we had our defense back there to get us the ball back and get us the ball back, get stops on fourth downs, they even had a huge fourth and goal stop to keep them out of the endzone and I told the guys ‘this is the most proud I’ve been of the defense all season.’ They really showed up today, they knew what the gameplan was and went out and executed it.”

It took until the second quarter for either team to get on the board, but Cinco Ranch finally broke through with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Rutherford to Seth Salverino to take the lead, but just as soon as the Cougars struck, Paetow came back with a score of its own, capitalizing on a huge run by Alex Kilgore and then getting a touchdown on a 4-yard run by Damyrion Phillips, as the two teams went into the half tied at seven a piece.

Cinco came out and drove down the field, getting into the red zone, but Paetow made a huge play, as Christian Hurd intercepted a throw to an out route and brought it back 91 yards for a Paetow touchdown to give the Panthers the lead, but Cinco didn’t miss a beat and adjusted right away.

“We know every game is going to be different,” Rutherford said. “Not every game is going to be a blowout and not everything is going to click every game. But these are the types of games that help us grow. We know we didn’t do our best, but it was a good win. One more point than them is what maters and we did that and got the win.”

The Cinco pass game hadn’t been working up until that point and the Cougars made an adjustment, deciding to pound the run game, not just with their running backs, but with Rutherford as well. Rutherford led then down the field and scored on back to back drives to give the Cougars the lead with touchdown runs of five and 62 yards. Rutherford ended the night with 192 yards on the ground and that was a huge part of Cinco’s success offensively.

“Gavin really extended plays with his legs tonight and that’s a strength for him,” said Cinco Ranch head coach Chris Dudley. “He’s not too proud to where he feels like he needs to sit back and chuck it all the time, if he’s got an opening he’s going to scramble and he’s not afraid to lower his shoulder. The way he extended drives with his legs really helped us.”

Paetow tied things up once again early in the fourth quarter on a 10-yard Kilgore run, but Cinco answered back with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Rutherford to Noah Abboud. Paetow trimeed the lead on a field goal, but were unable to take advantage on their next possession, as Johnson came away with an interception, his third in as many games, and the Cougars put the game away when Rutherford ran in a 24-yard touchdown with just over a minute remaining in the fourth quarter.

“Taytum just has very good instincts,” Dudley said. “That’s one of his strong suits, he understands what offenses are trying to do and when they’re trying to throw and go his way. He’s done a really great job of elevating and getting the ball on all of those interceptions and he’s got that competitive edge where he wants it. Each of the last three games his interceptions have been crucial for us.”

The win sets the stage for what could decide the district championship next week when the Cougars take on Katy in a matchup between the teams in first and second in the district standings.

Cinco Ranch isn’t shying away from how big the matchup is or saying it’s just another game, they know what is at stake and they’re embracing it.

“Everyone want to beat Katy, that’s not a secret and we want to do that too,” Rutherford said. “Cinco was the last ones to do it before Tompkins and we want to do it again. But it’s not enough to just want it. We’re going to need to put in a good day of practice every day, put together a good gameplan and then execute. It’s going to be a dogfight next week.”

Cinco Ranch 35, Paetow 24








Cinco Ranch







Second quarter

CR: Gavin Rutherford 5 pass to Seth Salverino (Santiago Taborda kick) 6:40

P: Damyrion Phillips 4 run (Gabriel Schaeffer kick) 4:47

Third quarter

P: Christian Hurd 91 interception return (Schaeffer kick) 7:45

CR: Rutherford 5 run (Taborda kick) 5:25

CR: Rutherford 62 run (Taborda kick) 2:15

Fourth quarter

P: Alex Kilgore 10 run (Schaeffer kick) 10:55

CR: Rutherford 15 pass to Noah Abboud (Taborda kick)

P: Schaeffer 20 field goal, 5:56

CR: Rutherford 24 run (Taborda kick) 1:17

Team stats


Cinco Ranch

  First downs



  Yards rushing



  Yards passing















Individual Statistics

Rushing – Cinco Ranch: Gavin Rutherford, 12-192-3; Sam McKnight, 8-64; Eric Eckstrom, 6-35; Noah Abboud, 2-7; Paetow: Damyrion Phillips, 20-112; Koby Truehill, 1-4; Brock Nichols, 8-(-1); Derrick Johnson, 2-(-6);

Passing – Cinco Ranch: Gavin Rutherford, 9-30-130-2-2; Seth Salverino, 1-1-11-0-0; Paetow: Brock Nichols, 7-13-77-0-1; Koby Truehill, 2-6-18-0-0;

Receiving – Cinco Ranch: Colton Michalec, 1-53; Noah Abboud, 4-45-1; Seth Salverino, 4-39-1; Paetow: Jason Blue, 5-39; Van Keith Brown, 1-25; Jabari Bush, 2-20; Justin Stevenson, 1-11;

Katy ISD, sports, football, Paetow, Cinco Ranch, District 19-6A


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