By George Slaughter
Cinco Ranch improves to 5-1 overall and 4-1 in District 19-6A play. Mayde Creek falls to 3-3 overall and 1-3 in district.
There was no drama in this game, but lots of Cougars highlights. Cinco Ranch scored on all six of its first half possessions en route to a 41-7 halftime lead. Junior quarterback Cam Harper scored the first two touchdowns. The first came on a six-yard run with 9:02 in the first quarter. The second came at the 5:32 mark.
The final score of the first quarter came on a 34-yard run by senior running back Brent Kuithe. The play was set up by an interception by Cinco Ranch senior defensive back Josh Ofili, who returned it to the Rams 34.
Kuithe would go on to score three more touchdowns in the second quarter, on runs of four, 60, and five yards.
Mayde Creek got its only score of the first half on a 40-yard run by Jalon Strong with 3:41 in the half.
In the second half, the Cougars continued their dominance, scoring on their first two possessions. Harper hit senior wide receiver Devin Staton for a 50-yard touchdown pass on the second play of the third quarter. Cinco Ranch’s Anthony Ruffeno intercepted a Rams pass on the ensuing possession, and the Cougars cashed in with a one-yard run by junior running back Sanders Crawford IV.
Ruffeno’s interception was the second of two turnovers the Cougars forced.
“He (Mayde Creek senior quarterback Keyonte Flakpul) has had a good year and has put up some good numbers,” Clayton said. “For the most part, we did a great job of flushing him out of the pocket and not letting him throw on time. Obviously, the two interceptions helped, but I thought our defense did a great job against some pretty skilled athletes over there.”
Crawford had a 54-yard touchdown run with 11:44 left in the game to finish Cinco Ranch scoring.
“The offense got into a good groove over the past two weeks,” Clayton said.
Mayde Creek scored on a one-yard run by Flakpul with 1:19 left in the game.
“We’ve had two good weeks previously against Foster (a 36-6 Cougar win) and then again Taylor (a 44-0 Cougar win),” Clayton said. “Our objective tonight was to come out, be a mature team, and take care of business. I felt they had some explosive players, but if we could contain those, we’d be in good shape.”
For this year’s Cougar squad, “maturity” is a theme the coaches have emphasized.
“I challenged them to be mature,” Clayton said. “(I told them) you know how to prepare.”
He said he told the team that the Mayde Creek game was a trap game.
“You start comparing scores and who they’ve played, and all of a sudden you think you’ll beat them bad,” Clayton said. “Nothing wrong with thinking that, but if you don’t work to do it, that’s when it’s a trap.”
Cinco Ranch will next play Seven Lakes Friday night at Rhodes Stadium. Mayde Creek will next play Strake Jesuit Saturday night at Rhodes Stadium.