Atascocita reaches fourth State Quarterfinal, downs Ridge Point

Atascocita reaches fourth State Quarterfinal, downs Ridge Point (Copyright (c) 2021 VYPE - All rights reserved)

HOUSTON – With his helmet still on, swaying back and forth with his teammates while the Atascocita High school song bellowed loud from the stands of TDECU Stadium, Kam Dewberry held the newest gold football trophy in his left hand.

The senior offensive lineman then moved it to his other hand while pointing at it.

"We're not done yet," Dewberry said through his helmet. "We've got a long way to go."

Thanks to a 24-21 victory over Ridge Point on Friday Night at University of Houston's TDECU Stadium, the Atascocita Eagles are not done yet.

In fact, the program is into the State Quarterfinals for the fourth time in program history and the second time in the past three seasons.

"It's tough, everybody's good, so it comes down to those plays and we were able to make them tonight," Atascocita coach Craig Stump said.

Now, they will face North Shore (12-1) – who defeated Tompkins 26-20 earlier in the day – in this round for the third time.

The district-rivals faced off in 2016, with Atascocita winning 33-27 in overtime at NRG Stadium, and then in 2019 in a wild 76-49 game at C.E. King Stadium.

"We know each other," Stump said. "It's always a heavy-weight fight. We'll see what happens."

Atascocita is set to face North Shore on Friday, December 3 at 7 p.m. at Pasadena Memorial Stadium.

For a senior like Dewberry, getting back to the fourth round is great but the ultimate goal for the Eagles and their seniors lies up I-45 at AT&T Stadium in mid-December.

"Third round is the standard," Dewberry said. "Anything short of us playing in Cowboys Stadium is a disappointment. We're working on 1-0 each day to be able to get to where we want to go."

On the other side Ridge Point saw another incredible season come to an end, finishing 11-2 overall and in the third round. It marks the second-straight year the Panthers have gone this far.

"I told the young guys afterwards remember this," Ridge Point coach Rick LaFavers said. "It's not easy to get here. The seniors did a great job of committing in the offseason and the summer. Hopefully we can continue that tradition. It takes work and these young guys have seen the blueprint. We'll take it and run with it."

The Gamer

It was a heavy-weight defensive battle early and often at TDECU Stadium on Friday night.

Atascocita held a 10-0 halftime lead thanks to a 30-yard field goal and a one-yard touchdown run by Zion Brown but the second half would be a battle.

After a turnover on the second play of the third quarter, Ridge Point cashed in on it with a 12-yard pass from Bert Emanuel Jr. to Kerien Charlo, making it 10-7 with 10:44 left.

In the fourth quarter, Atascocita responded with a four-yard pass from Zion Brown to Chase Sowell, extending their lead to 17-7. Sowell finished with five grabs for 93 yards and the score.

Brown went 11 of 24 for 132 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT and had 13 carries for 63 yards and a score in the game.

With 8:33 left in the game, Emanuel struck again through the air with a 44-yard pitch and catch with Wilson Batiste, cutting the Eagles' lead down to 17-14. A late interception would give Atascocita the ball back, which Tyras Winfield – who finished with 25 carries for 109 yards and a score – would make them pay with a seven-yard score, pushing the lead back up to 10 with just 2:29 left.

Ridge Point would fight back with a 17-yard rushing score by Emanuel with 49 seconds left, to pull within three again – 24-21.

Emanuel finished the game 21 of 32 for 331 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for another 66 yards and a score on 19 carries. The senior finishes the year an incredible 157 of 258 for 2,641 yards, 31 touchdowns and zero interceptions with 1,024 yards and 15 scores on the ground.

"We talked at halftime, and we needed him to take over," LaFavers said. "We felt like the first half we weren't getting him in a rhythm. He did what he does. He put the team on his back and got us in position … Just tremendous leadership, I know he's hurting, and I hate that it had to end for him like that."

Ridge Point attempted an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff but Atascocita’s Keith Wheeler jumped on it, which allowed the Eagles to kneel-down for the victory.