AP NEWS

Football: Atascocita ready for defending champ Cy-Fair in regional semifinal

November 30, 2018

Atascocita extended its winning streak to 10 games after defeating Alief Hastings 63-35 in the Class 6A, Division I area round last week.

The win put the Eagles in the regional semifinal for the fourth-straight year.

However, it will take game changing plays for the Eagles to continue to advance, Atascocita coach Craig Stump said.

“We talk about how everybody is going to play hard, do their best, give it all they got or they wouldn’t be here right now,” Stump said. “Where does your edge come from? It comes from your preparation and knowing your opponent. Knowing what their players like in certain situations. It’s about those critical situations, being in the moment and understanding the big part of the football game. That’s what is different deep in the playoffs.”

Atascocita will take on Cy-Fair in a Class 6A, Division I regional semifinal playoff game at 2 p.m. Saturday at NRG Stadium.

The soaring Eagles’ (11-1) offense has averaged 52 points a game on offense, but have averaged 69 points in their last four games.

First-year starting quarterback Brice Matthews and the Eagles’ offense have found their stride at the right time of the season. The junior signal caller has thrown for 2,580 yards and 24 touchdowns with only three interceptions

“We’re coming together right now,” said Matthews. “I believe our offensive line is doing a good job of blocking, our receivers are making plays and our running backs have been running the ball good. Every week coach (Stump) tells us that we need to be focused and just execute the offense. We have been doing that lately in the playoffs.”

Sophomore running back Quincy Thompson had 11 carries for 115 yards and three touchdowns while receiver Dylan Robinson caught five receptions for 131 yards and one touchdown last week against the Bears.

Stump credits Atascocita’s discipline for how they have come together as a team during this season with a lot of underclassmen taking over key roles.

“It starts with our quarterback,” Stump said. “He hasn’t turned the ball over and our skill guys are doing a great job when they get the ball. Our receivers have done a good job of catching the ball, our running back have done a good job running and picking up the blitz and our offensive line has done a great job all year. Not turning the ball over and making plays when they’re available has been big for our offense.”

Cy-Fair (10-2), who is the defending Class 6A, Division II state champions, shutout Ridge Point 31-0 last week in the area round.

The Bobcats are led by running backs senior Jaelon Woods and sophomore L.J. Johnson.

Woods and Johnson have combined for 299 carries for 2,007 yards with 31 touchdowns on the ground for the Bobcats.

Cy-Fair scores 38 points a game this season.

Atascocita’s defense has allowed it opponents to score 18 points a game this season.

“They’re a well coached team and they want to control the clock,” Stump said. “They have an athletic offensive line and they want to establish what they do best. Our defense has to be disciplined and keep an eye on the football because they will try to sneak a throw into the flats or maybe throw to the tight end. On defense they pretty much play a basic defense and don’t take many chances.”

Atascocita finished out a week of practice and are looking forward to the challenge the Bobcats will bring.

“Special teams and turnovers are going to be important in a game like this,” Stump said. “We just have to have a good week of practice and preparation. Everyone has good players and I think we understand who we are. We’re going to make some plays and they’re going to make some plays. The farther you go into the playoffs the more you go back to the basics. It’s not about the 90-yard run or the big touchdown play. It’s about getting that block on a 3rd and 1 to extend a drive. Getting back to the basics in the playoffs is important.”

marcus.gutierrez@chron.com

AP RADIO
Update hourly