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HS Football Game of the Week: Leander @ Cedar Park

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Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2012 12:14 am

Headlines:

•Leander held on to the No. 2 spot in this week’s AP poll of 4A teams after a 20-0 win at Pflugerville.

•Bouncing back from an 0-2 start, Cedar Park has won two straight including an impressive 12-9 victory over Westwood last week.


In a week where all seven teams in District 25-4A won their final non-district games, one of the pre-season’s most anticipated district matchups got an extra boost of anticipation as Leander shut down 15th ranked Pflugerville 20-0, while Cedar Park defeated longtime 5A rival Westwood in a 12-9 defensive battle.

Proving what many area coaches said back in the spring — that District 25-4A may just be the toughest 4A district in the state — the seven teams are a combined 21-7 through four games. 

Cedar Park and Leander are a combined 6-2, with four wins over 5A teams between them. 

Last weekend’s matchup of undefeated Leander and Pflugerville was expected to be a competitive hard fought game. But, it was never really close. Despite only being up by seven at the half, Leander’s defense shut down Pflugerville’s offense in the second half.

The Lions held the Panthers to just 182 offensive yards, with quarterback Blain Kruemcke completing only 3 of 15 pass attempts for a total of 35 yards. 

Leander coach Clint Harper said Hayden Newsom had an outstanding game, blocking a field goal attempt and applying constant pressure on Kruemcke and the Panther running game, racking up 10 solo tackles and three sacks in the process. 

But, Harper said the true standout from last week’s game was senior Taylor Sugar, who posted 13 total tackles, grabbed two interceptions and caught a 61 yard pass to set up Leander’s touchdown to start the second half. 

“Taylor is just a special kid,” said Harper. 

Looking at tomorrow’s matchup against Cedar Park, Harper said he isn’t thinking at all about the Timberwolves’ two losses. 

“They’re a talented team and I knew it would just be a matter of time before they got on track.”

Cedar Park, which opened the season with back to back losses, went on the road and claimed victory at Harker Heights two weeks ago before knocking off Westwood last week. 

Quarterback Nate Grimm completed four of five pass attempts and ran in from 13 yards out for Cedar Park’s only score of the second half. 

After their opener at Westlake, Grimm has completed 14 of 18 pass attempts without an interception. 

Running backs Thomas Middleton and Nathan Harwell both returned from injuries in recent weeks, but Middleton left the Westwood game limping visibly and later tweeted that he would miss the rest of the season. 

With the district schedule just opening, the win-loss record for teams essentially resets to zero, and the outcome of Friday's game is likely to have huge playoff implications for both teams.


MORE FRIDAY NIGHT ACTION

Cedar Park (3-2, 1-0) @ Marble Falls (3-1, 0-0)

Mustang Stadium, 7:30 p.m.

2101 Mustang Drive, Marble Falls

In a game that could easily have been selected as our Game of the Week, the Timberwolves travel to Marble Falls to take on the Mustangs as new Marble Falls head coach Todd Dodge opens the district component of his first season back in high school football after winning four state championships at the 5A level over the last decade.

Cedar Park is coming off two emotional wins over two longtime rivals. However, both of those wins were defensive battles won in the trenches. Already struggling with injuries across the board, Head Coach Joe Willis has been forced to shuffle players into new positions all season. However, Willis has said he is proud of how the players have responded to the changes, and the T’Wolves are looking impressive after holding the Leander offense to just one touchdown last week.

Marble Falls had the benefit of a bye week to rest and recuperate after a high-scoring shootout that saw over 1300 passing yards and 117 total points scored as the Mustangs defeated Boerne Champion 62-55.

In that game, Marble Falls quarterback Mike Richardson fully stepped into the role as the on-field leader of Coach Todd Dodge’s fast tempo, no-huddle spread offense, completing nearly 80 percent of his passes for a total of 725 yards. Richardson’s night was just 39 yards short of the national record.

Both teams are sure to be tested in what could be one of the most intriguing matchups of the season. 

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