Cinco headed to regional semis after win over Memorial

By Tyler Tyre, Sports Editor
Posted 11/20/21

“These last two weeks especially, we’re playing complimentary football, the offense is picking the defense up and the defense is picking up the offense,” Dudley said. “it’s such a big deal to be able to shut down a teams run game, and these last two games our kids have stepped up"

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Cinco headed to regional semis after win over Memorial

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Cinco Ranch has worked on its run game all season.

The Cougars have been a past first team most of the year, throwing for 2567 yards while rushing for 1165 yards heading into the teams Class 6A, Division II area round matchup on Saturday.

But that has been flipped on its head during the playoffs, after rushing for 135 yards and throwing for 195 in the bi-district round, Cinco Ranch (8-4) went even more run heavy against Memorial.

 “When we have a good run game it opens up our pass game even more,” said Cinco Ranch quarterback Gavin Rutherford. “Coach emphasized that we aren’t only a passing team, we’re a running team as well. As the year has gone on we’ve tried to keep pushing the run game, because it just makes us better and opens up the pass more.”

The commitment worked, as the Cougars rushed for 235 yards on the ground in a 48-13 win over Memorial (7-5) at Tully Stadium.

Rutherford led the way with 106 yards on the ground, while Sam McKnight ran for 43 and Eric Eckstrom ran for 36 yards.

“It’s critical that we’re able to run the ball like that,” said Cinco Ranch head coach Chris Dudley. “After today we’ve rushed for about 1,300 yards this year, and then Gavin has thrown for over 2,500 so it’s a good balance. It’s much more complimentary than it was last year and Gavin is so unselfish that he doesn’t care if he throws it 25 times or 13. It’s working right now.”

Eric Eckstrom got Cinco Ranch on the board with a 2-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter and Cinco Ranch never looked back.

Rutherford hit Noah Abboud for a 13-yard touchdown and on Cinco’s next drive, Rutherford kept a read option, running in a 32-yard touchdown, giving the Cougars a three touchdown lead in the first quarter.

The Cougars defense came to play, and didn’t let up, only allowing 13 yards on the ground all day.

“These last two weeks especially, we’re playing complimentary football, the offense is picking the defense up and the defense is picking up the offense,” Dudley said. “it’s such a big deal to be able to shut down a teams run game, and these last two games our kids have stepped up and were doing some things up front that are aggressive. The kids are just doing a great job.”

The Cougars offense finally slowed down in the second quarter, but they still managed three points, as Santiago Taborda kicked a 43-yard field goal late in the half after Fordham Parks intercepted Memorial with just over a minute left in the second quarter.

Memorial finally got their first points of the game on its first possession of the second half when Chase Goodwin connected with Kyle Siblik on a 23-yard touchdown pass, but Cinco Ranch answered immediately. The Cougars drove right down the field following the touchdown and Sam McKnight ran in a 16-yard touchdown to keep the distance between the two teams.

The Mustangs got another touchdown in the fourth quarter, but Rutherford put things to bed with a 53-yard touchdown pass to Abboud before Rhett Rodabaugh capped off Cinco Ranch’s day by returning an interception 70 yards for another touchdown and Taborda kicked another field goal from 20 yards out ot end it.

“We were able to keep stopping them and it’s like we always do, you keep stopping them and the takeaways just come,” Rodabaugh said. “It wasn’t really a game plan, it’s just a mentality we have. Especially on the defensive line, we have a mentality that we open the gaps to let the other guys come through. We make those sacrifices because we all trust each other as a team.”

The Cougars advance to the regional semifinals for the first time since 2017 and will take on Summer Creek 1 p.m. Saturday at TDECU Stadium at the University of Houston.

“It feels great,” Rutherford said. “This team, the most important thing for us was to keep the brotherhood up and we’ve done that. No one can strip that from us, we want to play with each other as long as we can. We love each other. We know what each other’s strength and weaknesses are. We trust and believe in each other and it builds up the whole team.”

Cinco Ranch 48, Memorial 13

Cinco Ranch

21

3

7

17 

 --

 48 

Memorial

0

0

6

 --

 13 

First quarter

Cinco: Eric Eckstrom 2 run (Santiago Taborda kick) 9:43

Cinco: Rutherfod 32 run (Tabords kick) 5:06

Cinco: Rutherford 32 run (Taborda kick) 2:36

Second quarter

Cinco: Taborda 43 field goal, 0:07

Third quarter

Memorial: Chase Goodwin 23 pass to Kyle Siblik (Carter Keene kick) 7:05

Cinco: Sam McKnight 16 run (Taborda kick) 5:57

Fourth quarter

Memorial: Goodwin 86 pass to Siblik (pass failed) 7:40

Cinco: Rhett Rodabaugh 70 interception return (Taborda kick) 6:07

Cinco: Taborda 20 field goal, 2:20

Team stats

Cinco Ranch

 Memorial

  First downs

 17

 14

  Yards rushing

 37-235

 24-13

  Yards passing

 125

 294

  Passes

 8-16-2-0

 18-32-2-2

  Punts

  3-23

 1-40

  Fumbles-lost

  0-0

 1-1

  Penalty-yards

  2-20

 8-53

Individual Statistics

Rushing – Memorial: Chase Goodwin, 4-8; Luke Sicola, 2-5; Ethan Spears, 1-2; Carson Zahn, 8-0; Luke Liggett, 1-0;Winston Smith, 8-(-2); Cinco Ranch: Gavin Rutherford, 11-106-1; Sam McKnight, 12-43-1; Noah Abboud, 1-38; Eric Eckstrom, 12-36-1; Seth Salverino, 1-12

Passing – Memorial: Chase Goodwin, 8-15-158-2-1; Winston Smith, 11-22-136-0-2; Cinco Ranch: Gavin Rutherford, 8-15-125-2-0; Jack McKall, 0-1-0-0-0

Receiving – Memorial: Kyle Siblik, 9-213-2; Luke Sicola, 3-34; Carson Zahn, 2-21; Coe Tredennick, 2-16; Trent Posell, 2-10; Cinco Ranch: Noah Abboud, 3-85-2; Eric Eckstrom, 1-13; Seth Salverino, 2-11; Grayson Williams, 1-10; Fischer Reed, 1-9; Sam McKnight, 1-(-3)

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