Cedar Park Overcomes Adversity, Knocks Off Ennis To Advance To Regional Finals

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Photo: Lezley Norris/TexasHSFootball

WACO, Texas — It was a tale of two halves tonight at Waco ISD Stadium, as the Cedar Park Timberwolves overcame a 14-point deficit to defeat the Ennis Lions 17-14 and advance to the UIL 5A regional final round.

Though Ennis owned the first half of the ballgame, it’s not how you start it’s how you finish — and Cedar Park finished on top.

Tied at 14 with 5:05 remaining in the game, it was Cedar Park kicker Lucas Bardshar that played the role of the hero, as he drilled a 24-yard field goal. The Timberwolves were able to take their first lead of the game and with a superior defensive effort they secured the victory over Ennis.

Ennis quarterback Kade Graf. Lezley Norris/TexasHSFootball

Ennis (8-4) was able to get the first points of the game after Kade Graff connected with James Harris on a 10-yard touchdown pass. The Lions would maneuver their way into the end zone once more in the second quarter, with a 50-yard touchdown run by Tycen Thompson.

“We’ve learned to deal with adversity over the course of the year,” Cedar Park Head Coach Carl Abseck explained. “Week in and week out you have different things that happen during the game and how you respond is important and our kids responded like champions.”

That champion style of response came in the form of a 17-0 second-half run by the Timberwolves. Cedar Park finally got in the end zone on their first possession of the third quarter, but not before converting on a 4th and 6 from their own 48-yard line.

Brant McDonald found Logan Mayou on a 39-yard pass to keep the drive alive, then Ryan Fiala hit Payden Sawicki for a 2-yard touchdown pass. The Cedar Park defense was phenomenal during the second half of the game and they were able to hold Ennis to just 20 yards of total offense during the third quarter.

“We wrapped up and we made tackles, we were in a position to make plays and we did a good job in the second half getting a bunch of hats to the football,” Abseck said.

Down 14-7, Cedar Park called on freshman Eric Shine to execute a halfback pass and he delivered a perfect pass to Carlos Woorley, who was able to slip behind the Lions secondary for a 44-yard touchdown.

The Timberwolves were able to capture the momentum of the game after they tied it up at 14.

“When you’re playing in these games, there is not any use in holding anything back,” Abseck continued. “You’re playing to win and trying to get another week.”

Penalties played a big role in the collapse of Ennis, the Lions were hit with seven penalties that totaled 61 yards. Tycen Thompson carried the ball 13 times for 147 yards and one touchdown in a losing effort for Ennis.

Lezley Norris/TexasHSFootball

Cedar Park (11-1) will face Manvel in a rematch of last season’s playoffs and Abseck knows his team will have to play consistently if they want to continue their push for AT&T Stadium.

“We just have to keep playing our game, they’re obviously a talented team and what we see from them is not going to be anything new, because a lot of our kids played them last year. The game will be a huge fight because they are talented, but our kids are going to show
up and they are going to fight and at the end of it they’re going to know there was a football game.”

The two teams are looking into playing next week’s game either in Waller or Prairie View, but a set location has yet to be officially determined.

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