Cedar Park falls to Manor in regional semifinals


Cedar Park's season came to an end Friday night at the Pfield, losing to Manor 17-14 in the third round of the playoffs.

It truly was a tale of two halves, as the Timberwolves controlled the tempo and held Manor to less than 50 rushing yards in the first half, but gave up nearly 200 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns in the second half.

"We missed some balls that we didn't miss earlier," Cedar Park head coach Carl Abseck said. "That's a product of what we're doing. We have to make those plays when we get the chance. It goes that way sometimes."

Cedar Park junior quarterback Ryder Hernandez completed 18-of-34 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown.

Manor running back Tahj Brooks, who is committed to Texas Tech, only rushed for 22 yards in the first half but had more than 100 yards and touchdowns when the teams came out of the locker room.

It was a rematch from the regular season when Cedar Park beat Manor 49-24 in the regular-season finale. The Timberwolves won the District 17-5A title, while the Mustangs finished in fourth.

"Their athleticism upfront," Abseck said. "Defensively, they're so long upfront with very talented individuals. They've been playing really well. Between the downed linemen and the rush, that was something that concerned us, and obviously, it hurt us tonight."

Manor will face off with last year's state finalist Shadow Creek Saturday at noon at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Cedar Park turned the ball over on its first two drives of the game, but Manor couldn't capitalize, and couldn't get a first down in that span, turning it over on downs on its second drive.

The Timberwolves started to pound the running game in the second quarter with nine straight rushes, and finally broke through when Hernandez flipped the ball to Cameron, who dove inside the left pylon.

Manor struggled to move the ball in the first two quarters, gaining just three first downs the entire half.

Hernandez connected with Gunnar Abseck to get Cedar Park inside the Manor red zone just before halftime, but the Timberwolves couldn't punch it in, and their shot field goal bounced off the goalpost as the first-half clock expired.

Brooks and the Mustangs came out running. The Texas Tech commit scored on a short run on the first drive of the second half. He had more touches in the scoring drive (nine) than he did the entire first half.

Cedar Park defensive lineman Ben Bell scooped up a Manor fumble and returned it five yards for a touchdown with just over three minutes left in the third quarter.

Manor used some trickery when running back Che Nwabuko hits Carl Chester in the back corner for a 19-yard touchdown to tie the game with less than 10 minutes remaining. The Mustangs stopped the Timberwolves on 4th down and marched down to hit the game-winning 19-yard field goal.

It's hard to look at this season as a disappointment for the Timberwolves, who accomplished their goal of taking back the district title.

"I couldn't have asked for a better group of seniors that bought into what we were trying to do," Abseck said. "We were disappointed in the outcome last year and did everything they coupled do to make sure it didn't repeat itself."

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