STORY BY: JORDAN MESEROLE
With the knowledge that anything can happen in high school football, the Rudder Rangers will attempt to keep their outside chances of making the playoffs alive Friday night when they travel to face Manor.
With only four games remaining in the season, Rudder (1-4-1, 0-2) must win out to even have the possibility to begin thinking about playing deep into November.
They will begin that first step by facing a Manor (3-4, 2-1) team that has gained strength as the season has worn on, winning three of its last four games.
Rudder is coming off a bye week, where hopefully the rest helped heal some of the Rangers’ injuries that have plagued the team all season long. The Rangers will be led on offense by junior running back Tre Guyton, who has rushed for 100 yards in all but one game this season. Senior quarterback Jamarcus Davenport – who should be back to full strength after missing one game this season – will look to keep up his average of one passing touchdown per game and improve on a sub-par 66-yard passing performance in his last start.
The Mustangs are coming off a 29-12 win over Bastrop last week, where Manor put up 429 yards of offense, including 301 passing yards by senior quarterback Jacorey McQueen. McQueen has been almost unstoppable this season, passing for 1,685 yards and 16 touchdowns, while rushing for another 604 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns.
The Manor defense – led by senior linebacker Jordan Jorgensen who has 53 tackles on the season – held Bastrop to only one touchdown despite giving up 301 total yards of offense.
Rudder’s defensive front, led by senior linebackers A’shanian Smith and Kody Burton, who have 45 and 42 tackles respectively on the season, will take on the task of slowing down the Mustang’s McQueen. While Rudder hasn’t been strong against the run this season, defensive backs Brendan Steptoe and Will Martin have protected against the pass well, with Steptoe grabbing three interceptions and Martin another two picks.
Regardless of big performers, the entire Rudder team will need to step up and grab a victory Friday night in Manor. Otherwise, the hopes of a miracle playoff run will be all but over.