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Madison Johnson had 13 kills, and setter Kaylee Herd had 28 assists to lead the Rudder volleyball team past Katy Paetow 25-16, 25-19, 25-11 on Tuesday in District 19-5A play. Asani McGee also had eight kills for Rudder (21-14). Rudder JV (9-9) won 24-26, 25-20, 25-23. Rudder’s freshmen (5-9) lost 28-26, 25-23, and Rudder freshman Green (11-6) won 25-8, 25-13....

9/18/2019

Rudder football coach Eric Ezar often says the Ranger offense can score points quickly, but what his team did Friday night took even him aback. Trailing 24-6 late in the third quarter, the Rangers scored three touchdowns in less than three minutes and went on to defeat Navasota 41-24 at Rattler Stadium on Friday night in nondistrict play. “I was a little amazed,” Ezar said. “We feel like we are very explosive on offense, and when it gets clicking, it gets clicking pretty fast and pretty good. Tonight it just took a while to click, but it did click, so we are very excited.” Rudder senior running back James Ayers scored on a 3-yard run with 1:59 remaining in the third quarter to begin the comeback. Sophomore quarterback EJ Ezar set up the TD with a 19-yard pass to Carlos Moreno and a 30-yarder to Jeremiah Johnson. Alvin Dunn ran in the two-point conversion to pull the Rangers (2-1) within 24-14. The Rudder defense, which held Navasota to 72 yards in the second half, forced the Rattlers to go three-and-out on the next possession, allowing Eric Ezar to turn to his bag of tricks. He called a flea-flicker, and EJ Ezar found a wide open Keithron Lee for a 76-yard TD pass with 1:00 left in the third quarter. “The defense played well, and we just had to turn it loose,” Eric Ezar said. “We always have a trick in our pocket.” Navasota (0-3) fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Josh Ramirez recovered the ball at the Rattler 24. Four plays later, and on the second snap of the fourth quarter, EJ Ezar went in from the 1-yard line. Ironically, the onslaught came after the Rangers were only able to get three points out of two fumbles deep in Rattler territory. The Rattlers fumbled at their 20 and 9 on their first two possessions of the second half. Desmond Murphy caused the first fumble, which was recovered by DeQuintus Wilson, and Dunn picked up the second one. A 24-yard field goal by Kristoffer Kindt was all the Rangers got out of it, and two minutes later, the Rattlers made the opening six minutes of the second half a push with a 29-yard field goal by Miguel Alvarado. “We talked to the kids at halftime about going one play at a time and turn the page,” Eric Ezar said. “We were arguing with each other a little bit and blaming each other, and that is not the way we do it. Our kids, I’m so proud of them for being resilient, resilient the first game (28-27 loss), resilient last week (43-42 victory) and very resilient this week.” The Rangers put the game away with two more fourth-quarter touchdowns by Lee. He went over from the 3 on a run and came down with a 29-yard pass before going out of the end zone on fourth-and-15. Lee had 17 total yards in the first half and 128 in the second half. Navasota took advantage of big plays and a couple of Ranger mistakes to take a 21-3 lead into halftime. The Rattlers scored on its opening possession. Zach Dyer found La’Darrin Thomas, who was playing in his first game of the season, for 26 yards on a fourth-and-4. Dyer did a good job of avoiding the rush to find a wide-open Thomas. Rudder moved from its own 27 to the Navasota 6 over 11 plays, but a high snap on third-and-goal from the 6 forced the Rangers to turn to Kindt, who kicked a 32-yard field goal. Navasota made the Rangers pay three plays later when Dyer found Tavaras Baker, who beat two Rangers to the ball for a 76-yard TD reception. Another big pass set up the third Navasota touchdown. Dyer hooked up for 45 yards with Thomas, and four plays later, Dyer went over from the 1 to give Navasota a 21-3 at the half. “We had freak things happen but we just kept battling,” Eric Ezar said. “Huge win for us and another step in changing the culture and believing if things go bad, you can keep pushing.”...

9/14/2019

Nickolaus Victoria ran for two touchdowns, and Quin’Terrious Taylor and Creed Pierce each ran for one to help lead the Bryan freshman Silver football team past Rudder 24-0 on Wednesday. Bryan’s Dallas Ragsdale and Christian Dunlap each had an interception to help lead the defense. Bryan will play at Tomball Memorial next Thursday....

9/12/2019

As one of Rudder’s top returning wide receivers, Keithron Lee knew he would have to connect with EJ Ezar, the quarterback who was new to the school after his father, Eric Ezar, took the Rangers’ head coaching job. It wasn’t hard. Lee and the younger Ezar quickly bonded and spent the summer working on timing and their connection on the field. The work over the summer and after practices has shown through two games as Rudder (1-1) has established a consistent passing attack. “This whole summer we were putting in work trying to get timing down,” sophomore EJ Ezar said. “It’s very important to have a connection between us. I feel like he’s my brother.” Having a receiver like Lee to throw to gives Ezar confidence on the field, and the duo has a connection off the field, too. Lee joked that EJ Ezar was shy at first but now is popular among classmates. They also share third-period algebra, where Lee says Ezar helps him. As a father, Eric Ezar said coming to a new school is tough — EJ Ezar started at Rudder in April — and he is happy to see his son assimilate. “Just to have the kids accept him was really big,” Eric Ezar said. “I think with 7-on-7 and the summer practices, he was able to forge [relationships] and make new friends, and that’s just a skill in life you have to get used to, because eventually you’re going to go off to college and meet new people.” While the Lee-EJ Ezar connection potentially is game-changing, the elder Ezar likes all of the playmakers in his offense — players who helped Rudder beat Elgin 43-42 last week. “We feel like Keithron is a really special receiver,” Eric Ezar said. “However, we’ve got Marcus Diles. We’ve got Malcolm Manley. We have a ton of receivers who we really think can do a good job. We’ve got RJ Rubio and Alvin Dunn, so we feel like if you try to take away one, somebody else is going to hurt you. To me it’s a whole team effort.” That multiple offense rife with misdirection plays will look to continue clicking against Navasota (0-2), which is coming off a 29-0 loss to Sealy last week, in a 7:30 p.m. Friday matchup at Rattler Stadium. The Rangers beat the Rattlers 27-7 last season in a game that featured 11 fumbles. Defensively, Rudder will try to contain Navasota quarterback Zack Dyer and wide receiver La’Darrin Thomas, who missed last week’s game with an injury. Up front, the Rattlers feature 6-foot, 325-pound Jordan Jefferson, a Texas A&M recruit. “[Dyer is] going to make his throws, but we’re going to hope that he makes some mistakes, and we’ve just got to be able to pounce on them,” Ezar said. “He’s a great quarterback, so we’ve just got to hope to be able to contain him.”...

9/11/2019

Asani McGee had 18 kills and four blocks, and Gracie Menchaca had 18 digs and five aces to lead the Rudder volleyball team past Shepherd 21-25, 25-10, 25-19, 25-14 on Tuesday in nondistrict play. Symia Alexander also had nine kills for Rudder (20-13), while Madison Johnson had eight kills and two blocks; Taylor Baker six kills, 14 digs, three aces; and Kaylee Herd 44 assists. The Rudder JV (6-7) won 25-23, 25-23, and Rudder freshman Green (9-6) won 25-12, 25-11....

9/11/2019

All week, Rudder’s focus was on playing for safety Gage Schwartz and quarterback Brant Roberts, two football players injured in a car accident Sunday. With Schwartz looking on, the Rangers didn’t disappoint, coming back to beat Elgin 43-42 in a nondistrict game Friday at Merrill Green Stadium. Schwartz gave Rudder’s pregame speech and watched his team from the sidelines as the Rangers (1-1) erased a 29-14 second-half deficit. “It’s a blessing I’m still alive,” Schwartz said. “It’s great to be here. I wanted to support my team, and they won. “They worked their tails off all week is what I heard. They’ve just been really supportive.” Rudder head coach Eric Ezar thinks Schwartz’s presence at the game helped motivate the Rangers. “They kind of looked back at halftime, and I was like, ‘Come on guys, we dedicated this game to Gage and Brant, we’ve got to do it,’” Ezar said. “We had Brant on FaceTime, so he got to talk to the guys before. So yes, a definite inspiration.” Sophomore quarterback EJ Ezar worked his way through defenders for a 33-yard touchdown run before connecting with Milton Mooring on the two-point conversion to tie the game 36-36. Junior wide receiver Keithron Lee bounced left and scampered 33 yards for the go-ahead TD. Elgin quarterback Daniel Gonzales scored from 2 yards out with 1:49 left, but De’Andre Heard broke up a pass on the two-point conversion attempt to preserve the one-point lead. “I just wanted our kids to have a chance to learn how to win,” Eric Ezar said. “They just didn’t quit, which is something I’m just so proud of. They needed that. They really needed that big win just to show that, hey, it’s worth all the hard work. You’ve just got to put it in.” TOP ARTICLES 1/5 READ MORE Seeking solutions to the crisis in health care Lee was the catalyst for Rudder, starting the rally with an improbable 44-yard touchdown catch through the hands of an Elgin defender on fourth-and-12 to cut the Rangers’ deficit to 29-20. He then punched in a 2-yard TD ahead of a two-point conversion to make it a one-point game late in the third quarter. Gonzales broke off a 14-yard touchdown run, but a 20-yard flea-flicker from junior wide receiver Marcus Diles to senior receiver Malcolm Manley helped set up Ezar’s game-tying touchdown with eight minutes left. Ezar completed 9 of 15 passes for 153 yards with two TDs and an interception, adding 56 rushing yards and a TD. Lee had six carries for 99 rushing yards and caught six passes for 91 yards, including four total touchdowns. Senior running back James Ayers piled up most of his yards in the second half, finishing with 74 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. “We feel like we have a high-powered offense, it just hadn’t all clicked,” Eric Ezar said. “Tonight it started clicking because we feel like we can throw the ball, we can run the ball. There’s a lot of things we can do. We have a lot of weapons, and James really stepped it up tonight, for sure.” The Rangers had a tough time stopping Elgin running back Peter McFarlin, who rushed for 242 yards, 153 of which came before halftime. Gonzales added 16 carries for 98 yards. McFarlin made himself known from the get-go, rushing for 14 yards on Elgin’s first play from scrimmage and helping the Wildcats take advantage of a short field on their first drive, which was capped by a 5-yard touchdown run by Gonzales. Rudder punched back on its next drive to even the score as Lee held on to a 24-yard TD pass from Ezar. Elgin had an answer to that, retaking the lead as time expired in the first quarter on a 34-yard TD run by McFarlin. Rudder took advantage of a short field of its own, capping a six-play, 26-yard drive with a 2-yard TD run by Ayers with just under 5 minutes until halftime. Elgin again answered with just seconds on the clock, taking a 21-14 lead on a 3-yard run by McFarlin with 9 seconds before halftime. The Wildcats added to their lead on the first drive of the second half. The Rangers seemed to have Elgin bottled up, but Gonzales rolled left and broke up the left sideline for a 27-yard TD run on fourth down. The Rudder defense’s conditioning paid off, though, as the Rangers clamped down and wore out the Elgin attack, allowing Rudder back in. “They didn’t put their heads down,” Schwartz said. “They kept fighting. The old Rudder, every time we were down, we’d just put our heads down. Not this team.” Schwartz thinks the win over Elgin is just the beginning. Rudder will return to action in its first road game of the season, traveling to Navasota for a 7:30 p.m. Friday kickoff. “We’re the new Rudder,” he said. “Not too many losses are going to come this year.”...

9/7/2019

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