If Cy Ranch wants a shot at bringing home at least a portion of the District 14-6A Championship this season, then Saturday is a huge game for the Mustangs.
Cy Ranch (5-2, 4-1) takes on Cy Woods (6-2, 6-0), who is in the drivers seat for a district crown with just a few games to go. Kickoff is slated for Saturday at 1 p.m.
Coming into this week, Cy Ranch is coming off a bye, while Cy Woods is coming off a 31-15 victory over Cypress Springs last week.
Match-up By the Numbers
In district play, both Cy Woods and Cy Ranch have fared well. Cy Woods has outscored opponents 193-120, while Cy Ranch has outdone foes 186-113 in district games. Their offensive units are rather close, the Mustangs averaging 366 yards per game, while the Wildcats have put up 342 yards per game. Flip the leaders for defensive rankings as Cy Woods leads in this match-up giving up 307.9 yards per game while Cy Ranch is giving up 314.3 per game.
Players to Watch
Cy Woods – Senior quarterback Jackson Jones has gone 65 of 127 for 1,162 yards and nine touchdowns this season. Jones has thrown four interceptions, which is second-most in the district. If he can protect the football against a savvy Cy Ranch secondary, which leads the district in picks with seven, that will be key.
Cy Ranch – Willie Eldridge has had a nice year at running back for the Mustangs. Eldridge has rushed 98 times for 591 yards and six touchdowns. Eldridge could be the gamechanger, considering the Cy Woods defense has given up the third-most rushing yards to opponents in district play. Last season in Cy Ranch's 45-21 victory, Eldridge went off for 146 yards and two touchdowns on just nine carries against the Wildcats.
VYPE Prediction: Cy Ranch ends Cy Woods' perfect district record in a tight one. Mustangs win 28-21.
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Cy Ranch is going to look a lot different this season.
The Mustangs head into the 2019-2020 campaign having to replace a lot of talent from a 2019 senior class that included Delor Johnson (19.7 points, 7.1 rebounds per game) and Branden Holt, who averaged 13.5 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.
So, who steps up?
Start with Franklin Sampson, who is the highest scoring returner from last year, averaging 2.8 points per game as a sophomore.
Despite losing a talented senior class, Sampson believes they have a lot of young talent that is going to carry them far.
"It's put a chip on our shoulder," Sampson said about people counting them out. "We're going to go harder, work harder and we're going to win."
Cy Ranch finished last year 23-8 overall and 14-2 in District 14-6A to claim the top spot. The Mustangs fell in the first round to Vandergrift, 46-44, which ended their year.
So, the pressure's on right? Defending district champions, target on the back but none of that phases these young Mustangs.
"No pressure, we go out there and play our game and do the best we can," sophomore MuoDubem Muoneke said.
Muoneke comes from a basketball family.
His father Nnadubem Gabe Muoneke starred at the University of Texas from 1996-2000 as a four-year starter at power forward. Muoneke finished his playing career ranked sixth in rebounding (702), ninth in blocks (62) and 12th in scoring (1,456) in Longhorns history.
"My dad's my greatest criticizer by also my greatest supporter," Dubem said. "He's always been my mentor. It's great."
In 2016, Muoneke was honored as one of three Outstanding Young Engineering Graduates by The University of Texas' Cockrell School of Engineering.
As far as his father's biggest piece of advice, Debum said it had nothing to do with a physical ability on the court.
"You can't shake your confidence, confidence is very important," he said. "You have to always keep your confidence and play hard."
Confidence is what first-year varsity player Ryan Morse will have to gain quickly.
Morse, who believes he can step up into some of the roles the seniors left, knows he will have to step up his game from JV a year ago to running with the big boys this season.
"It's going to be new," Morse said. "It's going to be harder competition. It's not like JV last year, so I know I'm going to have to put in more work to be a good varsity player."
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