The Friendswood Mustangs will look to overcome a sizable numbers disadvantage and a currently undefeated team when they meet the Cypress-Fairbanks Bobcats in a Region III-6A, Division II regional semifinal game tonight at TDECU Stadium, 3875 Holman St., in Houston.
“They look like what a 6A football team should look,” Friendswood head coach Robert Koopmann said. “They very sound, they play great defense, and they control the ball on offense.”
That Cy-Fair game plan is similar to what Friendswood’s modus operandi has been this season, although the Mustangs might not exactly “look like what a 6A football team should look” come today.
Recent UIL realignment snapshot enrollments have Friendswood at Class 5A numbers (2,108). Meanwhile, Cy-Fair managed to sneak into Class 6A, Division II with a current enrollment of 3,532.
“They only put 11 of those 3,600 out there at a time, and we’re going to put 11 out there and compete,” Koopmann said.
Cy-Fair’s (11-0, 9-0 in District 17-6A) strength will be an imposing defense led by linebacker Patrick Atkinson and cornerback Erick Hallett. The Bobcats’ defense has allowed more than 20 points only twice this season.
“They’re good; I think they’re going to be, from top to bottom, the best team we’ve played all year,” senior linebacker Jake Yurachek said. “So, it’s good that we’re peaking right now. We know we’re going to have to keep them to a small amount of points, because of how good their defense is, but we have full faith in our offense to go put up some points on Friday.”
In a run-heavy offense, Cy-Fair will look to pound the rock to keep the chains moving behind workhorse running back Trenton Kennedy.
“It’s kind of an old-school football team,” Koopmann said.
In last week’s area round playoff game, Cy-Fair executed its game plan to perfection in a 17-0 win over Houston Strake Jesuit, dominating time of possession (29:51 to 18:09) in the shutout.
“That’s what they want to do — they want to be up 10 to nothing in the second quarter and make you feel like it’s a four-possession game,” Koopmann said. “We’re going to have to be good on offense to give our defense a chance this week.”
The Mustangs will also have to try to figure out what 11 other teams have yet to do so far this season: manufacture a win against the Bobcats.
“We preach about taking care of your own business, and that’s what we’re going to do,” Koopmann said. “We’re going to take these three days of practices to get better, and we’ll worry about them being 11 and 0 later.”
Friendswood (9-3, 5-2 in District 24-6A) will look to match Cy-Fair’s defense with an impressive unit of their own, led by the front seven.
Freshman quarterback Luke Grden has sparked the offense (led by running back Mason Barnes, lineman Max Yarbrough and receivers Ben Redding and Nick Swaney) ever since his first career start in the regular season finale against Alvin. In those three starts, the Mustangs are 3-0 and have scored a combined 102 points — including last week’s 27-26 area round win over Humble Summer Creek.
“It’s awesome, because when we went through a little bit of a dry spell in the middle of the season against Springs and against Lake, we felt like we had our backs against the wall every single time we went out there,” Yurachek said. “Seeing our offense really just excel to the point where they’re at right now with Luke Grden back there, we’ve never been better. His poise for a freshman quarterback is just unbelievable.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. today.