Seniors lead squad into playoffs


Senior wide receiver James Rhoden stiff arms the Taylor secondary and bursts down the sidelines at Rhodes Stadium on Oct. 22.

Camryn Fuller, staff writer and Shaun Lal, Sports Editor

From the 99 boys sharing one sideline, 75 are now preparing to part as men. The seniors on the varsity football team have dedicated their time, energy, and health to the back-breaking pressures of the game they love, but as their final season approaches its closing whistle, the seniors look up to the scoreboard of their high school careers.

Their journey began even before they reached high school, in youth football leagues and on their respective junior high teams. However, when they reached the big high school stage under the Friday night lights, the boys immediately felt the pressure.

“I almost threw up,” senior captain wide receiver Alex Ludowig said. “I heard the starting lineups, and I heard my name and I just went and almost puked.”

In order to survive Cinco Ranch football, the current seniors were forced to prove their talent and abilities, but their drive was natural.

“They were an eager group with a lot of confidence,” head coach Don Clayton said. “They wanted to knock the socks off of every opponent.  You could tell that they wanted to be competitive, and that they wanted to be the best.”

The competitiveness and teamwork that these seniors showcased placed many of them on the varsity team when they were just sophomores, some of them playing a starting role. Immediately, a strong camaraderie developed within the squad—a bond that has withstood through their high school careers. 

“I know I’m going to be playing next year [at Air Force], but it’s not going to be the same,” Ludowig said. “I’ve been playing with some of these kids for 10 years, so it gets sad to leave them.”

However, the last whistle hasn’t blown yet. The Cougars are preparing for the first round of playoffs Nov. 12 against Bellaire at Tully Stadium. The squad feels confident in their 8-2 regular-season record and seeding in the division I playoff bracket. Although they lost the season-opener to Klein Forest 32-7 and the season-finale to Katy, they won six of their last nine games by two touchdowns or more.  Now, they look ahead to the playoff opener Saturday.

 “It’s emotional because they will soon lose a big part of what they do and in some cases, what they’ve become,” Clayton said. “As coaches, we hope that they have grown into fine, responsible young men who will continue their trek towards manhood in a better position and much more prepared than when they entered the ninth grade.”