- By Rick Cantu American-Statesman Staff
After a three-season long waltz through its district, Cedar Ridge’s football team aspires to make a name for itself at the state level, too.
On Friday night at Dragon Stadium, the Raiders tuned up for the Class 6A, Division I playoffs with a 49-3 victory over Westwood in the District 13-6A finale for both teams.
Cedar Ridge (9-1, 6-0) has posted a 30-3 record over the past three seasons while winning back-to-back undisputed 13-6A titles. But the Raiders, who started playing varsity football in 2012, have never reached the third round of the playoffs, a goal they aspire to reach — and surpass — this season.
Next week, Cedar Ridge will face Akins in a bi-district playoff, and Raiders coach Sam Robinson said his team couldn’t have had a better tuneup than its matchup against Westwood (5-5, 3-3).
“The No. 1 deal was to stay healthy and we did that, we wanted to give everyone some playing time and we did that and we executed pretty well,” Robinson said.
As for the Warriors, they will open the Class 6A, Division II playoffs at San Marcos on Friday night. Westwood coach Anthony Wood rested most of his regulars — including Will Jennings, one of the area’s premier quarterbacks — in the second half against Cedar Ridge.
The Raiders dominated the 13-6A finale, finishing with 427 yards of offense while yielding 141 yards.
Raiders quarterback Ezekiel Coss, who played for just one half, completed 8 of 10 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns. The biggest play for Cedar Ridge was his 68-yard touchdown pass to Jaylen Ellis in the first half.
“This game gets us ready for the playoffs,” Coss said. “I know we haven’t been past the second around of the playoffs before, but we’re more concerned about what’s happening right now.”
A year ago, Cedar Ridge won its first 11 games before falling to Klein Collins in an area-round playoff. The Tigers prevailed 40-34 in overtime.
Has Cedar Ridge been overlooked in Central Texas football circles?
“After this year, I think they’ll know who we are,” Coss said.
Deuce Vaughn and RJ Robinson both scored rushing touchdowns for the Raiders in the fourth quarter. Cedar Ridge led 35-3 at halftime after scoring touchdowns on each of its five possessions.
The Raiders wasted little time, scoring on a six-play, 48-yard drive on their first possession, capped by a 10-yard scoring run by Trey Williams.
Cedar Ridge’s Simi Bakare was the game’s most impressive player, rushing for 101 yards and two touchdowns on only 11 carries — all in the first half.
Westwood’s lone score of the half was a 36-yard field goal by Kaeden Roberts. The senior has connected on seven of his nine field-goal attempts this fall.
Friday’s game marked the eighth straight victory for the Raiders, whose only loss this season came to Waco Midway 34-19 in early September.