Rouse rolls past Bastrop, right into Class 5A, Division I playoffs


If there was any doubt that things were going Rouse’s way in the Raiders’ regular-season finale Friday night, a second-quarter touchdown pass thrown by Ethan Moore erased all questions.

On third-and-goal from the Bastrop 10, Moore tried to dump off a screen to Trevor Provencher. The Bears tipped the pass, but the ball fell into the hands of 6-foot-3, 285-pound senior offensive lineman Owen Kelly, who promptly rumbled five yards into the end zone for, unsurprisingly, his first career touchdown.

“Yeah, he’s our new weapon,” cracked Rouse coach Josh Mann.

It was that kind of night for the Raiders, who clinched a spot in the Class 5A, Division I playoffs with their 49-28 road victory. Rouse qualified for the postseason for the first time since making three consecutive trips from 2012-14, and they could spring an upset or two this fall.

Four of the Raiders’ five losses this season have come against playoff qualifiers, including a non-district setback to Manor, a Class 6A squad. Rouse also has a non-district victory over Westwood, another Class 6A playoff qualifier.

Rouse, which finished 4-4 in 19-5A, now has won two games in a row for the first time this season, and Mann thinks that bodes well for the postseason.

“We’re riding the momentum,” he said. “We’ve been in playoff mode for the last two weeks, and we’re playing with a sense of urgency. It’s a whole new season now.”

Moore threw for four touchdowns and 155 yards and added another two touchdowns and 95 yards on the ground. Four of his touchdowns came as Rouse built a 28-14 halftime lead. Echoing his coach, Moore said the Raiders’ victory Friday could serve as a springboard into the postseason.

“We had to make a statement going into the playoffs,” he said. “We’re a little banged up so I just had to step up tonight.”

Bastrop (2-8, 2-6) delivered a gritty showing despite losing starting quarterback Dreyson Watters on the first series. Watters gave the Bears a 7-0 lead with a 16-yard touchdown run, but he injured his shoulder while barreling into the end zone and spent the rest of the game with an arm in a sling and an ice pack on his shoulder.

The Bears pulled out all the stops in pursuit of an upset, including a double pass on the game’s opening play, a fake punt and an onside kick. However, they couldn’t overcome three turnovers as well as a physical Rouse squad that ran for 285 yards.

While Rouse will prepare for a first-round playoff game, Bastrop coach Todd Patmon will look ahead to next season, when the Bears will no longer face larger Class 5A schools such as Rouse, Cedar Park, Georgetown and Hutto.

Bastrop High submitted an enrollment of 1,348 students to the University Interscholastic League last month, and UIL officials will use that figure to place Bastrop into a new district during the latest biennial realignment and reclassification, which is announced in February. Beginning with the 2018-19 school year, the UIL will split Class 5A football into two divisions based on schools’ enrollments. Since Bastrop is one of the smallest Class 5A schools in the state, the Bears will compete in 5A, Division II.

Next season, a young Bastrop team expects to welcome back 17 starters, including running back Jhe’Quay Chretin, who had 175 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns against Rouse. Still, Patmon said his team likely will face a challenging schedule regardless of where it lands as a result of realignment.

“Central Texas football had improved so much over the last 10 years,” he said. “There are no off weeks, and there are no soft games. No matter where we go, we’ll have to prepare to win each week.”



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