The Cooldown: Week 4

Week four is the most popular bye week in the state, which made for an interesting slate of games. It was a lighter slate with so many teams off, but it was also the start of district play for many teams who did play. Check out our week four recap, POTW and more.

Cinco Ranch might be the best team in Katy

Cinco Ranch is on year two of being one of the best turnaround stories in the state. After going a combined 4-24 between 2018-2020, the Couagrs went 8-5 last season and made an appearance in the third round of the playoffs. This season could be even better.

Paetow moved up into the all-Katy ISD 19-6A after winning state at the 5A-I level last season. Katy won a state title in 2020 and made it to the state semifinals last season. Somehow, Cinco Ranch might be the best of them all in 2022. That sounds a little bit like an exaggeration, but the Cougars dismantled Tompkins – who has perenially finished in the top two of 19-6A – on Friday night. This, the same Tompkins squad that took Katy to the wire before losing 14-13.

If Friday night is any indication, Cinco Ranch very well could beat Katy, a standard bearer for success not only in the district, but for all of Houston. The Cougars roped Tompkins, 42-14, by way of a second half birrage of points. Quarterback Gavin Rutherford finished with 241 yards and three scores on an effieicent 22-of-30 passing. Fischer Reed paced the receivers with 10 catches for 100 yards and a score, while Cougar WR mainstays Seth Salverino and Noah Abbound caught touchdowns as well.

Sam McKnight had a good night on the ground with 99 yards and a score, but was out-done by Tompkins star Caleb Blocker, who finished with 192 yards and a touchdown. Despite the loss, state-ranked Tompkins is still a good squad – but Cinco Ranch proved it is one of the best in the Houston area and maybe one of the best in the state.

Of course, Katy’s reputation is beyond reproach. The Tigers will be the favorite until proven otherwise, which hasn’t happened in more than a decade – as evidenced by Katy’s one district loss since 2008. Still, I’m keeping an eye on Katy’s Oct. 21 showdown with Cinco Ranch, potentially with a district title on the line.

Langham Creek breaks streaks against Bridgeland

Langham Creek hadn’t beaten Bridgeland in three years. It hadn’t won its district opener in five years. On Friday, both of those streaks fell, but not without a Bridgeland rally.

A touchdown run from Bridgeland running back Jordan Wooden, who had a good night with 142 yards and three touchdowns, with less than a minute left cut the lead to three. Langham Creek recovered with ensuing onside kick to secure a 29-26 win.

Braylon Scott threw for 173 yards and three scores on 8-of-18 for Langham Creek, aided by one of the top receivers in the country. Oklahoma commit Jaquaize Pettaway finished with 56 yards and a touchdown on three catches, while C.J. Davis paced the Lobo receivers with 115 yards and a score on four catches.

Langham Creek is now 2-2 while Bridgeland dropped to 1-3 in what is quickly becoming a hard-to-read district 16-6A. Cy Ranch is 2-1 with a loss to Tompkins and could regain control at the top of the district. Cy Falls is also 2-1, but was blown out by Cy-Fair. Cy Falls is 3-1, but hasn’t truly been challenged yet. Predicting the playoff order in this district feels impossible at this stage, which should make for an exciting regular season.

Manvel bounces back with big district win

Manvel has struggled to open the year, at least by its own lofty standards.

The Mavs suffered an opening night loss to Shadow Creek, a 6A team, which is to be expected when playing up a classification. Manvel looked good the following week against West Brook, but then lost a nail-biter to Angleton. With Foster and Fulshear looking strong and Magnolia West also 3-0, district wins are a premium for Manvel.

The Mavs will already have to usurp Angleton to make the playoffs, making last weeks’ game against Friendswood of the utmost importance to stay in the crowded 10-5A-II playoff race. Kaeden Smith had a nice night, passing for 203 yards and a touchdown on 15-of-21. Joseph Paddio had four catches for 58 yards while Kyler Flint caught the lone touchdown pass, an 88-yarder.

Manvel ultimatelty won the game 24-14 behind an explosive passing attack and a solid defensive performance. The head-to-head win against Friendswood could come in handy down the road. Next up for the Mavs is a big showdown at home against Magnolia West.

News and Notes

In this section each week, I’ll do some bullet points to highlight the other games that caught my eye but didn’t have time to discuss in full detail like the games mentioned above. It was a lighter slate last week, so there weren’t as many games to mention.

  • Clements took down Elkins, 26-21
  • Conroe rallied to beat Willis, 28-24
  • Deer Park kept it rolling with a 35-14 win over Clear Brook
  • Katy ran away from Morton Ranch in the fourth for a 41-20 win
  • New Caney won a defensive slugfest against The Woodlands, 14-7
  • Barbers Hill survived a thriller with Crosby, 28-27
  • Bay City took down Sealy, 22-17

Player of the Week

My player-of-the-week was a pretty obvious choice despite the fact that I already discussed his game above. There’s a first time for everything!

With three touchdown passes, 250 yards of offense and more than 70 percent of passes completed, Gavin Rutherford is my player-of-the-week! I think Cinco Ranch caught a lot of people off guard by beating Tompkins in a blowout and the two-year turnaround there is truly incredible. Rutherford and a strong senior class are a huge reason Cinco Ranch has been able to do this.

What to look forward to

We are somehow already to week five. Come Saturday night, the regular season will be half over already. Feels like it just started! Here’s the best of the best coming up in week five.

  • Cinco Ranch takes on a resurgent Morton Ranch program (TH)
  • Randle faces a big test in high-powered Lake Creek (TH)
  • Alvin and Alief Taylor battle for playoff positioning (TH)
  • Shadow Creek faces a 23-6A test in Pearland (F)
  • The Woodlands looks to bounce back against a solid Conroe squad (F)
  • Cy-Fair takes on high-powered Stratford (F)
  • Clear Springs and Dickinson battle for 24-6A playoff positioning (F)
  • Lamar and Heights face off in a battle of top teams in 18-6A (F)
  • Tompkins looks to get back on track against Seven Lakes (F)
  • Klein Oak faces Klein Collins in a battle of top teams in 15-6A (F)
  • Rivals Spring and Westfield face off (F)
  • Barbers Hill looks to keep it rolling against La Porte (F)
  • Hightower and Bush square off (SAT)

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