SAN ANTONIO – Friday night’s 5A-I semifinal between Cedar Park and Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial was expected to be high scoring as the teams had scored 50 or more points in 16 of 26 combined games. It was that way for a half. Then Cedar Park forced turnovers and scored off them to run away from the Eagles in a 61-28 win to advance to the final against Denton Ryan. Ryder Hernandez threw for 7 touchdowns but it was the defense that led Cedar Park (14-0) back to Arlington.
The 1st half featured 4 lead changes and missed Eagle opportunities. The 2nd half featured a stretch where they scored 5 touchdowns, 2 off turnovers forced and another off a 4th down stop, in barely 10 minutes of game action. They did what the Eagles failed to do in the 1st half when Vets (13-1) forced 2 turnovers of their own, scored off neither of them, lost a touchdown on a penalty and gave up a safety on a holding call in the end zone. Instead of a larger lead, the Eagles only led 21-17 going into recess.
Cedar Park Head Coach Carl Abseck didn’t give a big halftime speech but instead made small adjustments. CP drove down the field to start the half and it was capped off by a short touchdown run by Kevin Adams. Moments later, Casyn Wiesenhutter recovered a fumble that became points a few plays later when Gunner Asbeck scored from 6 yards out. The defense forced a 4th down stop near midfield, then Luke Taylor picked off a Vets pass. Both led to scores. By the time Cade Haught caught a Hernandez touchdown pass followed by an Abseck TD catch, the game went from a 4-point deficit to a 31-point lead.
Vets also gave up 2 safeties with the other coming on a special teams error when the ball was snapped out of the end zone.
Cedar Park was 1 of 9 Austin area teams to reach the UIL or TAPPS state semifinals. They will play Denton Ryan Friday afternoon for their 3rd title in 9 seasons. Vets was trying to become the first Corpus Christi area team not named Calallen to reach the UIL football finals since 1963.
It was over when: Cedar Park scored 5 touchdowns in 10:54 in the 2nd half to go from trailing 21-17 to leading 52-21. It was that quick.
Game ball goes to: Cedar Park defense. Hernandez had sexy numbers but the defense was huge. They forced 2 turnovers that led to touchdowns, a 4th down stop that led to a 3rd, and made 2 stops in the 1st half when CP committed 2 turnovers.
Full highlights of this game at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fncrPOjSmU
Stat of the game: 44-7. Cedar Park outscored Corpus Christi Vets 44-7 in the 2nd half after the 1st half saw 3 lead changes.
Article by: Greg Sherman. Greg Shermanused to work in TV for Fox Sports Southwest and other media outlets but now runs his own media company in San Antonio. You can find Greg’s articles and videos on Twitter and YouTube @MrBowtie1982