By George Slaughter
The Cougars improve to 3-0. Brazoswood falls to 2-1.
Cinco Ranch literally needed no time to start Friday’s onslaught. The Buccaneers fumbled the opening kickoff and Cinco Ranch junior defensive back Brayan Perez Gilbes recovered the ball and ran it in for the opening touchdown. The score came before the game clock started.
“You don’t see that very often, and to go down and do that, you talk about a catalyst for the rest of the evening, that’s what that was,” Cinco Ranch coach Chris Dudley said. “Boom, just like that, it’s 7-0. It was a definite spark. It set the tone for the evening.”
Cougar junior quarterback Gavin Rutherford scored on a 61-yard run with 2:18 remaining in the first quarter, and it would be the first of three consecutive touchdown drives for Cinco Ranch. Cougar junior running back Sam McKnight scored on a 16-yard run. Following a Brazoswood fumble, Rutherford connected with junior wide receiver Seth Salverino on a 37-yard touchdown pass.
Rutherford hit Salverino for another touchdown, this one for 35 yards, with 3:44 remaining in the first half. Rutherford finished 5-of-7 for 112 yards and the two touchdowns. Salverino finished with four catches for 101 yards.
“I’ve been playing with him forever,” Rutherford said, adding that they’ve built up their football chemistry over many years.
Brazoswood junior quarterback Isaac Ponce hit a wide-open senior wide receiver Reagan Marshall for a 31-yard touchdown with 1:35 left in the first half. The Cougar defense was able to contain Ponce, who finished 9-of-23 for 107 yards. The Cougar defense held the Buccaneer rushing attack to only 154 yards on 43 carries.
Rutherford praised the defense and said it did its job.
“They got the ball back for us as soon as they could,” Rutherford said. “We just got enough chances to score and we took advantage of it.”
McKnight scored his second touchdown on a one-yard run with 8:33 remaining in the third quarter. He was the Cougars’ leading rusher, finishing with 105 yards on 19 carries.
Cinco Ranch is last score came on and 86-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Jack McCall to junior wide receiver Aadi Patel. The score came with 9:37 remaining.
Brazoswood got its second touchdown, a two-yard pass from Ponce to junior tight end Riker blank, with :15 left in the game.
People are getting excited about the Cougars after an 0-10 season in 2019 and a 1-7 season last year. Rutherford said the players are working together and becoming a brotherhood.
Dudley, now in his third year as coach, said it was great to see the fruits of the rebuilding effort starting to pay off.
“We’ve got quite a few kids who went through the battles these last two years and took their lumps in a lot of different ways,” Dudley said. “They still represented our program with great class and great heart. This is a group that, when we started our offseason program last year, they wanted to win football games and get the program to what it was for a long time. To be 3-0 is great, not just for the kids but for our school and our community.”
Sophomore defensive back Yetxiel Perez Gilbes agreed.
“I’m glad it’s paying off,” he said. “We’re doing great.”
Cinco Ranch will next play Clear Falls Friday at CCISD Challenger Columbia Stadium. Brazoswood will next play Chavez Friday at Hopper Field Stadium in Freeport.