An offensive explosion in the fourth quarter lifted Rouse over Leander ISD rival Vista Ridge 34-13 Friday night at Bible Stadium.
Trailing 6-3 entering the final frame, the Raiders dominated on offense, compiling 31 fourth-quarter points to put the lead out of reach. Running back Tavian Tate scored three touchdowns in the final 12 minutes, coupled with an Ethan Moore rushing score to give Rouse a commanding late-game lead.
"It just slowly came together for us," Rouse head coach Josh Mann said. "We kept working the run game and it finally exploded like we needed to. I'm proud of their composure."
Tate ran for 123 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries. Tate led the charge for a highly-effectively Rouse rushing game that took complete control of the game.
Rouse opened the scoring on an 80-yard drive that stalled at the Vista Ridge seven-yard line, as kicker Brayden Skinner nailed a 24-yard field goal.
However, it was an advantage that lasted for less than two minutes, as Thai Mayberry's speed soon put the Rangers on the board when he sprinted from the Rouse 25-yard line in the second quarter.
The run was set up by a 49-yard connection between quarterback Drew Cantu and wide receiver Bryce Jones, who took a fly route down the middle of the field and found himself wide open for the pass.
Rouse set fire to the Bible Stadium turf in the fourth quarter.
The Raiders started their high-octane final period with a long, 83-yard drive that featured two 4th down conversions.
"We've been working those (fourth down) sets so we had confidence in those scenarios," Mann said. "We were in field goal range on the second one, but I felt like we needed the momentum and that's why we went with it.
"I'm still nervous, to be honest with you."
With nine tackles for loss, two sacks, just five seven downs allowed, and only three points surrendered in the first three quarters, the Rangers dictated much of the action in the initial 36 minutes.
However, a second-quarter fumble from Mayberry and an interception in the final seconds of the first half by quarterback Cantu negated any major scoring opportunity.
The Rangers committed 10 penalties for 100 yards on the night.
Cantu connected with wide receiver Alex Fogg for a 16-yard touchdown over the air with less than three minutes left in the game. The Vista Ridge starter finished the night completing 12 of 22 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown.
Mayberry ran for 122 yards on 13 carries, including six rushes of more than 10 yards.
Vista Ridge next travels to face Killeen on Sept. 6 at 7 p.m., while Rouse travels to take on Anderson High on Sept. 7 at 7:30 p.m.
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