By George Slaughter
After suffering through a 14-game losing streak that dated back to November 2018, Cinco Ranch is once again in the win column. The Cougars defeated Mayde Creek, 21-17, Friday night at Rhodes Stadium.
The Cougars improve to 1-3 overall, and 1-1 in District 19-6A. Mayde Creek falls to 3-1 and 0-1, respectively.
The win is the first for Cougars Coach Chris Dudley, who took over last year after the retirement of longtime Coach Don Clayton. Dudley and sophomore quarterback Gavin Rutherford said the team had good practices this week, despite the losing streak.
“Three great practices lead to a win,” Rutherford said. “You can’t have bad practices and expect this. We were flying around, both sides of the ball (during practice), and that’s how we came out.”
Indeed, they did. Cinco Ranch wasted little time getting started. On their first drive, the Cougars put together a 6-play, 64-yard drive, all coming on pass plays, including a 27-yard strike from Rutherford to junior wide receiver Grayson Williams.
Mayde Creek responded with a drive of its own, moving the ball 73 yards and finishing it off with a 2-yard run by senior quarterback Jace Wilson.
The Rams increased their lead on a 3-yard touchdown run by senior running back Julius Loughridge with 10:43 in the second quarter. But Cinco Ranch responded, tying the game 30-yard pass from Rutherford to sophomore wide receiver Seth Salverino.
Mayde Creek senior kicker Anthony Maras kicked a 27-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining in the first half to give the Rams a 17-14 lead.
The second half was primarily a defensive contest. The only score of the second half came when Rutherford hit sophomore wide receiver Noah Abboud for a 10-yard touchdown, with 4:16 remaining in the third quarter. The score gave Cinco Ranch the lead for good.
Rutherford said the first win means everything to the team.
“Our first win is so great, so sweet,” Rutherford said. “We want to keep it going, and we’re going to start winning some games.”
Cinco Ranch’s last victory, a 39-14 win over Tompkins in 2018, came on Clayton’s watch. The Cougars finished 3-7 that season and 0-10 last season. This season, they lost their opening two games by narrow margins before being handed a tough 55-0 loss against Tompkins last week.
Dudley said the losing could be a burden on the players.
“It weighs on them,” Dudley said. “To be so close on first two games, we could easily have been 2-0. But these kids didn’t crack. They didn’t give up. For them to respond how they did tonight is incredible to me.”
The Cougars have a bye week before returning to action against Katy. The Rams will play Katy Thursday at Legacy Stadium.