Cougar football advances to second round of playoffs

Shaun Lal, Sports Editor

During halftime of their first ever varsity matchup at Tully Stadium, Bellaire led Cinco Ranch by four points.

And then Jamel James happened.

Led by junior James’ rushing attack, Cinco Ranch defeated Bellaire 59-28 on Saturday, Nov. 12 in the first round bi-district playoff game.

After a relatively low-production season, James had a career night with 252 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns.

The Cougars set the bar on the opening kickoff, an onside kick recovered by senior linebacker Patrick Tinsley.

Bellaire scored the first touchdown, though, on a simple seven-yard touchdown rush by senior quarterback Denzel Johnson.

Cinco Ranch answered back with 4 minutes 32 seconds left in the first half with a four-yard touchdown catch by senior wide receiver James Rhoden, set up by a 48-yard scramble from junior QB Cole Thomas. The half ended 21-17, Bellaire.

James opened the second half with a 51-yard scamper, setting up a one-yard touchdown run by junior RB Adam Johnson. The Cougars then forced a fumble, and James quickly ran 28 yards, untouched, for a touchdown, extending the Cinco Ranch lead to 31-21.

Bellaire junior WR Devin Lauderdale tightened the gap with a wide open 54-yard touchdown catch, but James responded with another rushing touchdown, again untouched, this time for 47 yards through the middle of the line.

Senior tight end Jack Canfield caught two touchdowns, and senior captain Eyad Elqutub ran in a 10-yard touchdown to bring the final score to 59-28.

Cinco Ranch (9-2) will take on undefeated Cy-Falls (11-0) in the area playoffs on Saturday, Nov. 19 at 1:00 Rhodes Stadium. Cinco Ranch has not advanced past the area round since 2009, when they lost in the state semifinals to Austin Westlake 42-27.