MISSOURI CITY (Covering Fort Bend) – After 18 District 20-6A wins without a loss by the Ridge Point Panthers, their Fort Bend ISD rivals have to wonder if someone up above doesn’t want it to happen. The 18th win came Friday night at Hall Stadium by a score of 49-42 over Travis, the team that has consistently provided the most serious in-district challenges since the Panthers moved into Class 6A for the 2016 season.
Ridge Point’s homecoming night featured a 42-minute lightning delay and an 11-minute interruption to allow standing water from the torrential rain to flow off the field turf at Hall Stadium. Both happened in the 4th quarter and diluted the Tigers’ momentum.
The week before, the Bush Broncos were 2-0 going into their Saturday night showdown with Ridge Point. They denied the Panthers any offensive touchdowns, and trailing 26-23 with less than two minutes left, recovered an onside kick. Unfortunately, one of the Broncos touched the ball before it had traveled 10 yards, and it nullified the recovery. Ridge Point ran out the clock and their record in Class 6A remained perfect.
Ridge Point (6-1, 4-0) hasn’t lost a district game of any kind since Oct. 15, 2015, when then-23-5A rival Elkins beat them.
In the Travis-Ridge Point game, a wild 1st quarter in which the Tigers’ Parker Washington threw a touchdown pass, caught one and rushed for another score ended with Travis leading 22-14. In the 2nd, Ridge Point struck back with touchdown runs by Mason McBride and John Norman to move ahead 29-22 with 4:00 left before halftime. Tigers’ quarterback Eric Rodriguez threw his second TD pass of the game, a 26-yard strike to Washington, then ran into the end zone out of the “swingin’ gate” formation for a two-point conversion that knotted the score 29-all with less than a minute left.
Ridge Point’s quarterback, Will Pendergrass, led the Panthers back down the field in mere seconds. Adonai Mitchell’s second touchdown run of the night gave the Panthers another advantage 17 seconds before the halftime intermission, putting smiles on the alumni’s faces before the rain-soaked homecoming ceremony.
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Travis forced two turnovers in the 3rd quarter, both by defensive back Cameron Oliver – his district-leading 5th interception of the season and a fumble recovery, which the Tigers cashed in on with a tying touchdown, Rodriguez’s 1-yard run with 8:04 left. Then came the 42-minute delay.
The rain kept falling, and even after the game resumed, there was no more scoring until McBride dived into the end zone from four yards out in the first minute of the 4th quarter. The Panthers added another McBride score to go up 49-36 with less than nine minutes remaining. Travis looked beaten.
Then, things appeared to go from bad to worse for the Tigers: Panthers’ nose tackle Taylor Nimmo hit Rodriguez hard on a run up the middle, injuring the quarterback’s right leg, after which he didn’t return to the game. Then Ridge Point defensive end Bryson Stewart sacked backup quarterback Colin Mushinski at his own 4-yard line.
But two plays later, lightning struck – figuratively – as on 4th-down-and-13, Mushinski heaved a sopping-wet football to Washington along the left sideline. He splashed the rest of the way for his third touchdown catch of the night, a 78-yarder. The 2-point conversion attempt missed and Travis trailed 49-42 with 6:30 to play.
Immediately after that came the 11-minute delay, then Travis kicked off to Ridge Point. The Tigers got the ball back with 1:45 remaining, but Pendergrass had booted a 63-yard “quick-kick” punt down to the 9-yard line. Mushinski threw incomplete on 4th down, and Ridge Point walked to the field house in their squishy cleats with a still-perfect District 20-6A record.
The Panthers will face Elkins Friday in Week 9, and Travis (5-2, 3-1) has a Saturday date with Clements.