Bobcats start out like they finished 2017
Cy-Fair wasted no time in picking up where it left off last season when it won the Class 6A Division II state title, relying on a stingy defense and a potent offense to defeat The Woodlands 27-7 on Friday night at Pridgeon Stadium.
The Bobcats’ defense, with only three starters returning from 2017, proved too much for the Highlanders, who were forced to punt eight times.
All those punts provided plenty of opportunity for The Woodlands’ offense, which totaled 318 yards, including 227 on the ground.
“We played extremely hard,” said Cy-Fair coach Ed Pustejovsky, whose team was ranked No. 4 in the Chronicle’s Class 6A preseason poll. “We did some good things. Of course, we have some things we have to fix, but for the first game coming out against an opponent like The Woodlands, I think ours kids did a great job.”
The eighth-ranked Highlanders were hoping to start the season off with a strong showing under new coach Jim Rapp, but the Cy-Fair defense had other ideas.
“Awfully proud of our defense, got a bunch of young kids out there and the coaches did a great job with them,” Pustejovsky said. “They play with maximum effort and get to the football.”
Both teams punted on their first two two drives, and Bobcats wide receiver Christian Richmond gave his team the early lead when he scored on a 79-yard punt return.
The Cy-Fair defense then sacked The Woodlands quarterback Casey Sunseri on back-to-back plays to force a punt.
The Bobcats’ offense responded with Richmond catching back-to-back passes for 73 yards from quarterback Ryan Nelub.
“Christian’s very dynamic; we find ways to get him the ball,” said Pustejovsky of his wide receiver, who finished with 183 all-purpose yards.
A 32-yard field goal by Jake Ruiz put Cy-Fair up 10-0 with less than four minutes to go in the first half.
After yet another Highlanders punt, the Bobcats scored on running back Jaelon Woods’ 67-yard run to make it 17-0.
The Woodlands’ offense was held to 30 rushing yards in the first half.
“We didn’t execute very well offensively, “ Rapp said. “Cy-Fair does a great job. They made it really tough to put points on the board and to sustain drives. They do a wonderful job with that.”
The Bobcats’ defense forced a fumble to start the third quarter, giving Cy-Fair the ball in The Woodlands territory.
Ruiz took care of the rest with a 43-yard field goal that put Cy-Fair up 20-0 with just under eight minutes left in the third quarter.
Woods, who finished with 140 yards on 17 carries, then scored on a 4-yard run to make it 27-0.
Bryeton Gilford got the Highlanders on the scoreboard with less than four minutes left in the game when he scored on a 4-yard run.
“It’s always good to start with a win, but we need to build on that,” Pustejovsky said.