Ridge Point’s historic run ends in state semifinals

By Michael Sudhalter
msudhalter@fortbendstar.com

Ridge Point High teammates Shyler Staton (No. 32) and Omari Houston look to slow down undefeated Cedar Park in the Class 5A Division II State Semifinals last Saturday at NRG Stadium in Houston.  Both Staton and Houston earned first-team All-5A-23 honors.   (Photo by Michael Sudhalter)

Ridge Point High teammates Shyler Staton (No. 32) and Omari Houston look to slow down undefeated Cedar Park in the Class 5A Division II State Semifinals last Saturday at NRG Stadium in Houston. Both Staton and Houston earned first-team All-5A-23 honors. (Photo by Michael Sudhalter)

More than a month ago, the Ridge Point High football team found its season in jeopardy during a chilly night in Freeport.

But the Panthers managed to defeat Port Lavaca Calhoun, 42-35, that night before reeling off three more postseason victories.

Ridge Point (11-4) reached the UIL Class 5A Division II State Semifinals in just its fourth varsity season, but the Panthers came up short, 38-17, against top-ranked Cedar Park (15-0) last Saturday at NRG Stadium in Houston.

“I’m extremely happy with the season,” Ridge Point head coach Brett Sniffin said. “I’m disappointed we didn’t achieve the ultimate goal, but it was a tremendous season. Each of the playoff games was a challenge in itself. We didn’t have enough points to win the last one.”

Ridge Point scored first but trailed 25-7 at halftime.

Notably a second half team, the Panthers rallied to cut the Timberwolves’ lead to 25-17, but that’s as close as they would get to a comeback.

Cedar Park will play Frisco Lone Star (14-1) for the 5A-II State Championship on Saturday at NRG.

Sniffin, the 5A-23 Coach of the Year who was a finalist for Touchdown Club of Houston Coach of the Year for the second straight year, brought back a team with six starters.

But several players stepped up for the Panthers to win a second consecutive 5A-23 title, including junior running back B.J. Rainford, who shared 5A-23 MVP honors with Marshall quarterback Jeremy Smith, who will play wide receiver at Arizona State next season.

Rainford finished 1,992 rushing yards and 32 overall touchdowns. Due to his remarkable performance in the postseason, college recruiters are expected to express interest in him.

Three RP offensive linemen will play at the college level – Travis Bruffy (Texas Tech) and Jack Greene (Rice) at the FBS level and Marcus Montemayor for Alcorn State, an FCS team that’s currently the two-time defending SWAC Champions.

Wide receiver Terry Petry has committed to Houston, kicker/punter Grant Carlson is headed to Boston College, and defensive back Shyler Staton is a Division I prospect.

Next season, the Panthers will return 12 starters – five on offense and seven on defense – but they’ll face a new challenge.

Ridge Point will be jumping to 6A after spending the past two seasons in 5A, and the first two years (2012 and 2013) in 4A. The official announcement will be made by the UIL next month, but Sniffin said it’s a foregone conclusion due to increased enrollment at the Sienna Plantation school.

“We’ll just have to continue getting better as a team,” Sniffin said. “We’ll think about going 6A as the offseason goes on.”

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