Three touchdowns within a four-minute span of the third quarter propelled the Tomball Cougars to a 52-42 win over Fort Bend Ridge Point Oct. 26, at Tomball Stadium and secured the locals a spot in the Texas UIL 4A playoffs. The victory was Tomball's fourth straight after opening the season 0-4.
"Our kids played really hard and practiced really hard all week, and decided to bring it to this game," said Cougar head coach Danny Ramsey.
Leading 24-22, midway through the third quarter, a closely-fought contest turned one sided,as Tomball scored touchdowns on three consecutive possessions.
The two teams traded scores in the first half, the visitors striking first at the 10:05 mark of the first quarter. A 7-play, 71-yard drive was capped on a hitch pattern from sophomore quarter Jesse Crebbe to senior wideout Mark Roman, who dashed 24 yards for a touchdown.
Tomball responded with a 7-play drive of their own, with tailback Xavier Powell scoring on a 43-yard run to make it 7-7 after Brown's first PAT of the night. On their next possession, the Cougars moved 50 yards to the Panthers' 20 before settling for a 30-yard field goal by Brown at the 3:12 mark. That drive was keyed by Reynolds' 31-yard keeper off a zone read on a third-and-four from the Cougars' 36 yard line.
Ridge Point tied the game with a field goal to start the second quarter, but the Cougars were forced to punt on their next possession. The Panthers then marched 81 yards in 12 plays, with senior wide receiver E.J. Ewah scoring from 20 yards out on a sweep left with 5:13 remaining in the half. A two-point conversion failed, which eventually provided the Cougars with their one-point halftime margin.
Sophomore fullback Percy Alford rumbled into the Panthers' end zone from 18 yards out to cap a 10-play, 80-yard drive on the Cougars' next possession, and Brown's PAT made it 17-16. With just over two minutes left in the half, Ridge Point moved 30 yards to the Tomball 35 before Krebbe's deep pass down the right sideline was intercepted by Cougar defensive back Tyler King.
After halftime, Tomball went 62 yards in eight plays, scoring on Powell's 5-yard sweep at the 9:39 mark. Brown's PAT made it 24-16. The Panthers countered with a 9-play, 65-yard drive, and junior tailback Je'Marcus Johnson found paydirt from five yards out. But another two-point try was unsuccessful, maintaining the Cougars' lead at 24-22. Tomball then started the game-deciding run, which consumed most of the third quarter.
The Cougars scored on a 67-yard pass from senior quarterback Drew Reynolds to junior wide receiver Weston Shattuck. After a three-and-out and 5-yard punt by Ridge Point (4-4, 3-2), the Cougars moved 42 yards in three plays to make it 38-22. That touchdown came on a 30-yard scamper by senior tailback Dmitri Scott, who bounced off several tacklers before rambling to the end zone.
The ensuing onside kick by senior placekicker Chadd Brown was recovered by senior Jeff Cantwell at the Panthers' 42. Two plays and a 15-yard facemask penalty later, Reynolds found senior tight end Kendall Browning over the middle for 12 yards and a touchdown to increase the Cougars' lead to 45-22 after Brown's sixth PAT of the night.
Ridge Point scored two TD's in the fourth quarter to make it interesting, but Powell scored from 48 yards out on a jet sweep left to make it 52-35 with 49 seconds left in the game. The Panthers would respond in kind with 32 seconds left to conclude the scoring.
"They're a very athletic team and very well coached," Ramsey said following the point fest. "We go up three scores, that was a big deal. Even to go up two scores was a big deal, but to do it so fast in the third was probably the turning point with regards to confidence on our offense."
The two teams were nearly even in total offense, Tomball finishing with 512 yards to Ridge Point's 509. The Cougars racked up 362 yards rushing on 49 attempts, led by Powell's 183 yards on 25 carries. Reynolds pitched in 88 yards on 9 totes, and Scott added 57 yards on six carries.
"Their defense was pretty good," Powell said. "They stopped me in the backfield a couple of times, but overall I just did my thing."
The Panthers ran for 288 yards on 48 attempts, including a 100-yard-plus night from Johnson (27 carries, 140 yards) and junior fullback Josh Burrell (101 yards on 13 tries)
Reynolds finished 8 of 15 for 150 yards passing, with four of those completions to senior wideout Mason Dillard for 56 yards. Krebbe totalled 221 yards passing (13 of 24), and Roman had five catches for 100 yards.
The Cougars and Panthers were also close in first downs (24 to 26) and time of possession (23:48 to 23:40). Both teams had two turnovers.
The Cougars (4-4, 4-1 in 18-4A) traveled to Tully Stadium on Nov. 3 to challenge the Stratford (Spring Branch) Spartans for a second place finish in district play. Tomball fell to Stratford, falling to third place in the district. The Cougars will take on Tomball Memorial Nov. 9 at Tomball ISD Stadium.