Morton Ranch Beats Seven Lakes, Keeps Playoff Hopes Alive

By George Slaughter

Morton Ranch’s 10-7 victory over Seven Lakes Saturday at Legacy Stadium wasn’t pretty, but it was important to the Mavericks’ playoff hopes this season.

Four teams from District 19-6A will make the playoffs. Katy and Tompkins have earned the top two spots, and things get interesting after that.

Three teams—Mayde Creek, Morton Ranch, and Taylor—are competing for the last two spots. For Morton Ranch to make the playoffs, Katy must defeat Taylor Thursday at Legacy Stadium, and then the Mavericks must defeat Mayde Creek by four or more points when they play Friday at Legacy Stadium.

The point margin is important because of tiebreaker procedures, Morton Ranch coach Ron Counter said. Earlier this season, Mayde Creek defeated Taylor, 14-10, and Taylor defeated Morton Ranch, 31-28.

If the Mavericks should beat the Rams by three or fewer points, or if the Rams win that game, then Mayde Creek and Taylor qualify for the playoffs and Morton Ranch is left out.

Counter called Saturday’s game, which improves the Mavericks to 6-4 overall and 3-3 in district play, a “big, big win,” but not very pretty, either.

Morton Ranch junior running back Devin Winfield scored on a 17-yard run for the Mavericks’ only touchdown. The score came on the opening drive of the game.

Seven Lakes responded, scoring on a 31-yard pass from junior quarterback Cristian Beltran to junior wide receiver Josh Chang.

Morton Ranch retook the lead with 7:48 remaining in the second quarter, when senior Gabriel Garcia kicked a 36-yard field goal. The field goal ended the scoring and the game became a defensive struggle with penalties and turnovers on both sides.

The Mavericks were flagged six times for 56 yards, including two 15-yard calls for roughing the passer. The Spartans, meanwhile, were penalized four times for 25 yards. Morton Ranch had four fumbles, losing three, while the Spartans had two fumbles, losing one, and one interception.

“We had too many penalties, but the defense really came through at the end,” Counter said.

Seven Lakes falls to 3-7 overall and 0-6 in district. The Spartans return to action for their season finale against Cinco Ranch. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. at Rhodes Stadium.