PFLUGERVILLE - With each passing week, Cedar Ridge makes history. This week was no exception, as the relatively young school — just opened in 2010 — punched its ticket to the state semifinals with a dominant 30-2 victory over Hendrickson at The Pfield on Saturday.
"This is all new to us, and new to our fans, but we're having a blast with it." Cedar Ridge coach Sam Robinson said. "Beating a district rival added some spice to the game and made it that much sweeter."
The Raiders (13-1) bested their District 13-6A rivals in the Class 6A, Division I, Region II finals, becoming the third suburban Austin school opened in 2010 to reach the state semifinals. Leander ISD's Rouse (2012) and Vandegrift (2014) were the first two.
The Cedar Ridge defense held Hendrickson (10-4) to 110 yards and no offensive points and Ezekiel Coss threw for 190 yards and three touchdowns on a 12-for-21 passing effort to lead the Raiders to an impressive victory.
Putting to rest any potential concerns after a last-second win in overtime against Coppell last week, the Raiders imposed their will on Hendrickson from the very first moments through the final buzzer.
Starting on defense, the Raiders opened the scoring with a 33-yard fumble recovery touchdown by Colby Burkley. That score and others in the first half sparked the wire-to-wire victory.
Coss tacked on two passing touchdowns in the first and second quarters, one to Trey Williams and another to Jaylen Ellis. With the Raiders defense dominating, the offense put the game away with steady, methodical drives.
"Some stuff went our way early and made them one-dimensional," said Cedar Ridge head coach Sam Robinson. "Our defensive line, if they know what you're fixed to do, they can dominate a game."
Coss found kicker and tight end Jose Berlanga for a 15-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter, though Berlanga's subsequent point after attempt was blocked and returned for two points by T'rel Taylor of Hendrickson. It was the sole scoring play of the night for the Hawks.
Hendrickson's season ends with a second loss in 2017 to Cedar Ridge, which edged them for the District 13-6A crown in the regular season. It was the Hawks' first appearance in the fourth round since 2008.
Cedar Ridge advances to face undefeated powerhouse Allen in the state semifinals at Baylor University's McLane Stadium.
"We watched a little bit of Allen on film already, but we'll start tomorrow to come up with a good gameplay against them," Robinson said. "Our kids really want this and they're gonna play on house money and run with it."
The Eagles won three consecutive state titles from 2012-2014, and were named national champions by High School Football America for those three seasons. This year, the Eagles are again nationally ranked, though Allen's regional final win over Euless Trinity on Saturday was not without controversy. Eagles quarterback Grant Tisdale's late second quarter touchdown pass to Andrew Magee came on a play that television and still photos appeared to show Tisdale being sacked before passing the ball to Magee.
Still, Allen dominated late in the game, pushing ahead to a convincing 41-20 final score.
"You gotta approach it like every other game," says Robinson. "We just need to take care of the Cedar Ridge Raiders, and that's what we've done all year. We will prepare like we have since the playoffs started."
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
(13-1) 17 7 6 0 30
(10-4) 0 0 2 0 2