PFLUGERVILLE, Texas — Though the Raider defense didn’t get the shutout, it was only by technicality.
Cedar Ridge High School claimed the first State Semifinal berth in its history Saturday night at The Pfield, using its stifling brand of defense to secure a 30-2 victory against Pflugerville Hendrickson.
The Hawks scored two points on a blocked extra-point returned for a touchdown but were otherwise held to 117 yards on 50 plays (2.3 yards per play) during the Raider win.
“Our defensive line was the difference in the game,” Cedar Ridge Head Coach Sam Robinson said. “They got after it tonight.”
The defense scored the first points of the game when senior Colby Burkley returned a fumble 36-yards for a touchdown. Senior Jose Berlanga added a 41-yard field goal and senior Ezekiel Coss tossed a 60-yard touchdown to senior Trey Williams to give the Raiders a 17-0 first quarter lead.
“There was a pretty good wind at the start of the game and I think that was a big factor,” Robinson continued. “We were able to defer and we kicked off with the wind. So Hendrickson that first quarter, they were in the wind. They couldn’t throw it as well and couldn’t punt very good. We got great field position and got an early lead, and they became a little bit one-dimensional trying to throw the ball (to) get back into it. So our defensive line kind of got to where they were in full pass rush mode, and that’s kind of what helped us.”
Coss added two more touchdowns with a 40-yard pass to junior Jaylen Ellis in the second quarter and a 15-yard strike to Berlanga in the third. Senior running back Simi Bakare, who was injured last week and considered day-to-day, played but managed just five carries for 14 yards.
Junior Duece Vaughn led Cedar Ridge in rushing with 84 yards on 14 carries. Coss finished with 153 yards on 11-of-20 passing.
“We had a couple lineman go down in the game early,” Robinson said, “so on the offensive side of the ball they’re really banged up and they just grinded it out. Coss made some really nice throws in some crucial situations on a couple third downs that kept drives alive. So he definitely made some plays when we needed them.”
Before this season, Cedar Ridge had never made it past the second round before this year and now finds itself in the state semifinals. It will play perennial state-power Allen at 2 p.m. Saturday at McClane Stadium in Waco.
Katy and Lake Travis will play in the other 6A-DI state semifinal.
“It’s Allen, Lake Travis, Katy and us,” Robinson said. “Being in that company, man, it’s a great feeling.”
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