Cedar Park claws past Friendswood to advance to regional semifinals


HOUSTON - It took Cedar Park one possession to make adjustments on Saturday night. But once the Timberwolves locked in, they were almost unstoppable.

Cedar Park pushed its winning streak to 11 games with a dominant 31-14 win against Friendswood at NRG Stadium in the area round of the playoffs. The Timberwolves will face off against Manor in the regional semifinals Friday at 6 p.m. at The Pfield.

"(Friendswood) played a lot of different coverage than they have been," Cedar Park head coach Carl Abseck said. "Our kids did a good job of adjusting, staying with the plan that we had, and taking what they were giving us. It's dink and dunk, but it still works."

Cedar Park quarterback Ryder Hernandez finished 28-for-36 passing for 306 yards and two touchdowns and an interception. He led the team with 10 carries for 40 yards and a touchdown.

Junior Josh Cameron caught 11 passes for 103 yards and had one rush, a three-yard touchdown. Tristan Hervey caught three passes for 75 yards and a touchdown for the Timberwolves.

"(Josh and I) have been playing ball together since we were in sixth grade," Hernandez said. "Just coming out here on the big stage and showing out was awesome. The chemistry between me and all the guys is awesome."

Defensively, Cedar Park held Friendswood to 13 yards rushing, and 14 points are the second-fewest the Mustangs have scored this season.

"Our defense tried to take away the big plays and take away the guys they wanted to throw to," Abseck said. "You make them one-dimensional. Then you can really attack that. We kept everything in front of us."

Friendswood's first drive was its longest, as the Mustangs got to the Cedar Park red zone, but turned the ball over on downs. The Timberwolves only picked up one first down and 19 yards on its first drive.

But after that, the Timberwolves were in control.

Hernandez and Hervey connected on a 58-yard score with just under five minutes left in the second quarter, and Hernandez followed that up with a 10-yard swing pass to Adams that went for a touchdown.

Friendswood got on the board just before the break, moving down the field in chunks thanks to a pass interference call and big pass play to set up a four-yard touchdown run.

Cedar Park went for it on 4th down on its first drive of the second half, and Hernandez scrambled for a 13-yard touchdown. Justin Bohrer followed that up with a 25-yard field goal to extend the lead.

The Mustangs tried to fight back with a touchdown early in the fourth quarter, but Cameron capped off an eight-play drive for the Timberwolves with a three-yard touchdown run on the next drive and Cedar Park bled out the clock from there.

"They were giving us all that underneath stuff, so I just had to take what they were giving me," Hernandez said. "Our receivers were doing a great job getting those yards."

Cedar Park beat Manor 49-24 in the final game of the regular season this year, but the Austin-area Mustangs have taken things to another level offensively during the playoffs, outscoring their opponents 73-33 over two games.

It doesn't get any easier to beat them a second time.

"In the playoffs, anything can happen," Hernandez said. "We've got to come ready to play. They've got a great squad over there."

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