Cinco Ranch earns first playoff win since 2016 over Fort Bend Bush

By Andres Chio | Special to the Katy Times
Posted 11/13/21

“The program has come a long way through the first three years now and it means so much to these seniors who saw us through it,” head coach Chris Dudley said.

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Cinco Ranch earns first playoff win since 2016 over Fort Bend Bush

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After four years of missing the playoffs, Cinco Ranch earned the school its first playoff victory since 2016 in a resounding 44-0 shutout over Fort Bend Bush Friday at Rhodes Stadium.

It was an emotional win for a program that went 1-17 over the last two seasons before turning things around this year.

“The program has come a long way through the first three years now and it means so much to these seniors who saw us through it,” head coach Chris Dudley said.

The Cougar defense allowed the Broncos to pick up just 108 yards of offense and forced two turnovers, an interception and a fumble.

“We wanted to make them have to do what they’re uncomfortable doing and that’s exactly what we did,” senior defensive end and team captain Zach Dycus said. 

Bush threw the ball 28 times to just 14 rushes, which was not the regular play-calling pattern for the defensive-minded, run-first team. 

Cinco Ranch’s offense kept to the ground on their first possession as they drove Bush back with run after run. Junior Eric Eckstrom carried the ball eight times on the 10-play drive and finished it with a 6-yard touchdown run.

“They’re a physical defense and they do a lot of press & man coverage on the edge and you gotta make them pay for that,” Dudley said, “Our offensive line did a great job of being able to move people up front.”

Junior Colten Michalec blocked a punt on Bush’s next drive to give the Cougars the ball on the Bronco 33-yard line. 

Cinco Ranch took advantage of the field position with a methodical drive and Eckstrom ran in a 4-yard touchdown to increase the lead.

With the ground attack rolling, Cinco Ranch opened up the passing game in the second quarter and quickly marched down the field. 

Michalec found the ball in his hands as he slipped past the coverage and junior quarterback Gavin Rutherford threw to him for a wide open 15-yard touchdown.

Bush found some success passing as they looked to close the lead heading into the half, but an interception by senior defensive back Odera Nsobundu in the endzone killed the drive and any momentum the Broncos could build.

The interception capped off a stellar half of defense by the Cougars as they allowed just 35 yards of offense in the first quarter and 42 yards in the second quarter.

The Cougars received the ball to start the second half and Eckstrom made his mark in the air instead of the ground.

Rutherford and Eckstrom linked up with 24 and 21-yard passes before junior receiver Seth Salverino caught a fade pass for an 18-yard touchdown.

Things went from bad to worse for the Broncos as they fumbled the ball on the first play of the next drive and senior defensive tackle Rhett Rodabaugh recovered and returned it to the five yard line.

Eckstrom put the game away with a 5-yard touchdown run on the next play to make it three on the day.

“(Eckstrom) is a tough, hardnose kid. He’s not the biggest kid, but he’s not afraid to lower his shoulder and gain the extra yard,” Dudley said.

It was Eckstrom’s first start at running back this season after playing as the backup for most of the season. 

Eckstrom said. “I was definitely a little nervous at the beginning of the game. After that first play, I got the jitters out and it was time to go to work.”

Eckstrom finished the game with 95 yards rushing and three touchdowns to go along with three catches for 74 yards.

Junior kicker Sanitago Taborda managed a 39-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, but for the most part, Cinco Ranch ran the ball for the rest of the game and wound down the clock.

Cinco Ranch will face the winner of Saturday’s matchup between Houston Memorial and Houston Heights in the Area round.

Cinco Ranch 44, Fort Bend Bush 0

Bush

0

0

0

0  

 --

 0 

Cinco

7

14

21 

7

 --

 44 

First quarter

Cinco: Eric Eckstrom 6 run (Santiago Taborda kick) 3:50

Second quarter

Cinco: Eckstrom 4 run (Taborda kick) 11:15

Cinco: Gavin Rutherford 15 pass to Colten Michalec (Taborda kick) 6:47

Third quarter

Cinco: Rutherford 18 pass to Seth Salverino (Taborda kick) 6:47

Cinco: Rutherford 4 run (Taborda kick) 3:30

Cinco: Eckstrom 5 run (Taborda kick) 3:10

Fourth quarter

Cinco: Taborda 39 field goal, 9:10

Team stats

Bush

 Cinco

  First downs

 6

 21

  Yards rushing

 14-23

 39-122

  Yards passing

 85

 297

  Passes

 13-28-0-1

 11-13-2-0

  Punts

  N/A

 N/A

  Fumbles-lost

  1-1

 0-0

  Penalty-yards

  11-84

 5-30

Individual Statistics

Rushing – Cinco: Eric Eckstrom, 25-95-3; Colten Michalec, 5-16; Gavin Rutherford, 8-9-1; Jack McCall, 1-2; Bush: Donovan Nixon, 4-13; Tyler Hilder, 4-12; Adrian Cornier, 5-4

Passing -- Cinco: Gavin Rutherford, 10-12-191-2-0; Seth Salverino, 1-1-16-0-0; Bush: Tyler Hilder, 13-27-85-0-1; Adrian Corrier, 0-1-0-0-0

Receiving – Cinco: Seth Salverino, 4-84-1; Eric Eckstrom, 3-74; Fischer Reed, 2-20; Gavin Rutherford, 1-16; Colten Michalec, 1-15-1; Bush: Donovan Nixon, 4-27; Jamon Cooley, 3-23; Adrian Cormier, 3-16; Aaron Valintine, 1-13; Raheim Mercurius, 1-5

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