Rams ready to continue hot start against Cougars in 17-6A matchup
Cy Ridge’s had numerous playoff runs over the past years under 17th-year head coach Gary Thiebaud. They’ve also bounced back after down seasons.
The Rams finished 1-8 overall last year after going 11-3 and reaching the regional finals in 2016.
The goal was no different going into the 2018 season.
So far Thiebaud has them hitting on all cylinders, with only one loss through five weeks, as they prepare to face a tough Cy Creek squad, whom they divide middle schools with.
Thiebaud is pleased with were they’re currently at, but wants his team to get better for the playoffs and play for a District 17-6A championship.
“Right now I think we’re having a good year,” Thiebaud said. “It’s kind of the year we expected. We got a more experienced team than we had last year, still young but more experienced. They’re really starting to gel and play well together. Obviously I’d like to be undefeated, but we have really good opponents that we play. We just got to keep moving forward.”
In week 7, Cy Ridge (4-1, 2-1) takes on Cy Creek (2-4, 2-2) after a bye-week.
“We got to make sure we don’t turn the ball,” Cy Creek head coach Greg McCaig said.
Thiebaud admits the game against the Cougars will be a big one in a tight district race for both teams.
“Our focus and our thoughts right now is to just get better at what we’re doing and then we’ll get into Cy Creek,” Thiebaud said.
Thiebaud knows that Cy Creek is an explosive team under McCaig. They’re led by running back Eddie Jimerson, quarterback Julian Brown, wide receiver Jaden Gray, Dawson Unruh, linebacker Josh White, defensive back/linebacker Keith Thomas and safety Jarrie Spikes.
“They put a lot of points on the board in a hurry,” Thiebaud said. “Their skilled kids are ranked in the district stats in different categories, whether it be at quarterback, receiver, or running back.”
The Cougars are coming off a 77-0 win over Spring Woods, beat Stratford 45-38 in overtime in week 5, lost to Jersey Village 28-21 and lost to Cy Falls 17-10 to open district play.
“They execute extremely well on offense,” Thiebaud said. “Defense is very physical, got a really good middle linebacker, they run to the ball well, they’re going to hit you. They got a good kicker and punter so they’re a complete team.”
The game is set for next Saturday, 6 p.m., at Pridgeon Stadium.
The Rams beat Spring Woods 57-0 in week 5, beat Stratford 24-21 and lost to Jersey Village 25-21 to open district play.
“We got to try and make them play one dimensional,” McCaig said.
The Rams have also been putting a lot of points on the board offensively, getting the ball in many different hands and being productive.
“We’ve had to rely on some people to come in and help us out and they’re doing a good job with that, that initially weren’t starting,” Thiebaud said.
On offense, there’s running back Leslie Wellington, wide receiver and tight end Tyler Cockle, running back Cameron Crowe and wide receiver Roderick Jelks.
There’s also quarterback Noah Smith, running back LJ Patterson and Tristian Fletcher.
The Rams have also been playing well defensively and on special teams.
“I feel like all three areas we’re competitive in and have a chance to win on all three of those areas,” Thiebaud said. “And as a result we’re sitting here at 4-1 right now.”
On defense, there’s middle linebacker Dias Redmond, defensive tackle Ian Moore, defensive end Vernon Broughton, linebacker Michael Rich, free safety Jevaun Dabon, cornerback Kade Bares, Alex Meeks and strong safety Branden Nguyen.
“Those guys are all making a lot of contributions,” Thiebaud said.
The bye-week couldn’t have come at a better time for the Rams.
“We’ve pulled back a little bit; we’re working on a lot of just basic fundamental things, trying to clean up some of the mistakes we’ve made,” Thiebaud said. “It’s good to give the kids a break as well.”
For Thiebaud, the early non-district games are all about coaches trying to get their rosters set and getting young kids some experience. District play is a whole other ball game.
“That’s what matters is district games,” Thiebaud said. “They’ve (Cy Creek) been in some really physical, close tight ball games and they’ve weathered those.
“They’re a typical Cy Creek team again, well-coached and play hard. They got a really good program over there.”