WACO — Damaged but not downtrodden, Cedar Ridge’s historic season came to an end Saturday afternoon.
The Raiders lost 28-7 to Allen in the state semifinals on a rainy day at Baylor’s McLane Stadium, ending the year with the deepest postseason run in the school’s six-year history. Cedar Ridge had lost in the area round on three previous instances.
“We came in here to try and win a game and for it to not work out, it hurts,” Cedar Ridge coach Sam Robinson said. “Our kids came in and fought hard and we really thought we could play with those guys. The guys took us to a new level this year.”
Cedar Ridge quarterback Ezekiel Coss finished 11 of 24 for 172 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. R.J. Robinson led the Raiders’ rushing attack with 13 carries for 47 yards and Simi Bakare ran 11 times for 20 yards.
Jaylen Ellis caught three passes for 109 and a touchdown in the stadium that will be his home after next season.
The Raiders’ defensive line was dominant for most of the game, sacking Allen quarterback Grant Tisdale seven times. But the Eagles were just as stout forcing three turnovers and one turnover on downs, all four of which led to scores.
“Allan’s defense has done that to a lot of people,” Robinson said. “They’re a smothering defense. You can’t get here and learn what it’s like in practice. You have to get here and see what it’s like and where you lack.”
Both teams failed to get a first down on their opening possessions and there were just four first downs, three plays that went for more than 10 yards and zero points in the first half.
Cedar Ridge started the second quarter with a promising drive, but Allen senior T’Kai Lloyd returned a fumble by Trey Williams all the way to the Raiders 3-yard line. Coss made the tackle on the return and did not return until the third quarter.
Sturges punched it in for the Allen touchdown one play later. The Eagles doubled their lead when Theo Wease came down with a 31-yard touchdown pass in double coverage late in the second quarter.
“We’ve gotten banged up over the last couple weeks,” Robinson said. “We had (Brown) come in and he did some good things for us. It’s a long season and you’re going to have bumps and bruises, it takes more than 22 players.”
Allen stalled on the first drive of the second half. Cedar Ridge defensive back Jalen Washington was injured during the drive and had to be a red off on a backboard. Robinson said he was injured earlier in the game and that the backboard was a precautionary measure.
The Raiders had to rotate between Coss and Brown for most of the second half. Early in the fourth quarter, Brown was called for intentional grounding on a fake punt and Allen scored on the next play on Sturges’ second touchdown run of the game.
Coss was intercepted by Allen’s Luke Jaksick, who returned it for a 32-yard pick-six with just under five minutes left in the fourth quarter. The senior finished off the game with a 71-yard touchdown pass to Ellis with just over a minute left to avoid the shutout.
Allen will face off with Lake Travis, which beat Katy 28-14 to reach its second consecutive state final, Saturday at 3 p.m. at AT&T Stadium.
The 2018 senior class will go down as the winningest class in Cedar Ridge school history, finishing with 34 wins, two outright district titles and a pair of trips to the state 7-on-7 tournament in the summer.
“We’ve got a lot to be proud of,” Robinson said. “Disappointing because we feel like we belong here and can get to the big game. We look back, we can be proud. There were a lot f great memories and it was an unbelievable season.”