By George Slaughter
The best thing about Mayde Creek’s 2019 football season is that it will continue in the playoffs. The Rams finished their regular season with a hard-fought 47-27 win over Morton Ranch Friday night at Legacy Stadium.
This has been a historic season for the Rams, who with the win improved to 8-2 overall and 4-2 in District 19-6A. This season, Mayde Creek:
- Enjoyed its first winning season since the 2007 season, when the Rams finished 6-5.
- Enjoyed the most wins in a regular season, 8, since the 1997 season.
- Earned its first playoff berth since the 2008 season.
Playoffs start next week with three other teams joining the Rams in the postseason. Katy, at 10-0 and 8-0 in district, has the first playoff spot. Tompkins, at 9-1 and 7-1 in district, has the second spot. Mayde Creek has the third spot, and Taylor, which lost 47-0 to Katy Thursday, gets the fourth and final spot. The Mustangs are 5-5 and 3-3.
Had Morton Ranch beaten Mayde Creek by four or more points Thursday, it would have broken a tie with Taylor on point differential for the final playoff spot. Morton Ranch finishes its season at 5-5 overall and 2-4 in district.
The Rams took command early, racing to a 21-0 lead before Morton Ranch finally scored on a 36-yard screen pass from junior quarterback Jaymarcus Wilson to junior running back Devin Winfield with 16 seconds left in the first quarter.
Mayde Creek responded with another touchdown, this time on a 46-yard pass from junior quarterback Donte Jones to senior Raymon Williams. Junior kicker Angel Gorostieta’s extra point with 10:11 in the first half gave the Rams a 28-7 lead seemed to deflate any momentum the Mavericks had built.
But the Mavericks got back in the game with three unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter. The first came on an eight-yard run by Wilson with 5:53 left in the second quarter. Mayde Creek lost a fumble on its next possession. Three plays later, Wilson scored again, this time on a seven-yard run, and suddenly the Mavericks were down by only one touchdown.
The third Morton Ranch touchdown involved some razzle-dazzle. On a fake field goal play, junior Kevin Earls completed a 21-yard touchdown pass to senior linebacker Victor Holdman with 1:27 remaining in the half. The extra point attempt failed, but the Mavericks went into halftime trailing by only one point, and confident they could overcome that deficit.
Mayde Creek focused its second half offense on running the ball, and the time-consuming strategy paid off. Of the 12 plays it was on offense in the third quarter, the Rams ran the ball nine times. The Rams went to the air only three times on its only possession of the third quarter. Mayde Creek scored on a 28-yard screen pass from Jones to junior Kenneth Ellison with 53 seconds remaining.
Morton Ranch had to punt on its next possession, but its defense held and forced a Mayde Creek punt early in the fourth quarter. This was where the clock struck midnight on the Mavericks hopes, as on the punt play, the Mavericks were flagged for offsides penalty. The penalty gave Mayde Creek a fourth-and-one situation, and the Rams decided to go for it. Junior running back Julius Loughridge broke a five-yard run to make the first down. On the next play, Loughridge went 65 yards for another score. He finished the game with 228 yards on 29 carries.
The extra point made it 40-27 and all but ended Morton Ranch’s is hopes of pulling out a victory.
Mayde Creek coach Mike Rabe said the season has been exciting.
“To watch our kids work, the work they have done to get to this point, to see them come away with an 8-2 record, they’ve done a really good job,” Rams coach Mike Rabe said. “I’m really excited for them. Their mentality is really good. They don’t get too high or two low at any point in the game. Morton Ranch made a good run us at the end of the half, got the game close. We had a ‘finish’ mindset, and we saw that in the second half.”
Playoff pairings were still being finalized Friday night.