HOUSTON – The George Ranch football team continues to fight to turn its season around, and by relying on its running game and defense, it now finds itself in first place in district play.

The Longhorns got a big time-consuming drive in the fourth quarter and the defense got a big turnover late in the game to seal a 21-13 win over Alief Taylor to move to 3-0 in District 23-6A play and continue their resurgence after an 0-3 start.

“In pre-district, we were in close games and games that we were right there,” George Ranch head coach Nick Cavallo said. “Everything that we have trained for has us ready for district, and it’s good to see that.”

Leading by only a point with 9:27 left in the game, George Ranch went on a 12-play, 80-yard drive that slowed the game down and put the Longhorns in control. Hymond Drinkard scored from a yard out after an 11-yard run to put George Ranch up eight with 3:23 left.

Then it was the defense’s turn, as a sack by defensive lineman Chris Lee helped the Longhorns force the Lions to go three-and-out. Then after George Ranch missed a 37-yard field goal, the defense stepped up again with an interception by senior safety Quentin Montgomery that sealed the win.

George Ranch (3-3, 3-0) took the lead early in the second quarter as quarterback Sam Miller found running back Davion Jenkins open for a 16-yard touchdown catch that put the ’Horns up 7-0. Both defenses played tough for most of the first half, and George Ranch went into the locker room with its touchdown lead.

But Taylor (2-4, 1-2) came out ready after halftime. An interception by safety Jaden Newsome set the Lions up in Longhorn territory, and five plays later, quarterback Esteban Torres scored from two yards out to tie the game at seven.

The Longhorns responded with a big kick return by Faybian Marks, which set them inside the Taylor 30-yard line. Jenkins then scored five plays later from 13 yards out to put the Longhorns back ahead.

“We came out slow, but we picked it up,” Jenkins said. “The coaches got us together and talked about it, and we came out and started running the ball more.”

The Lions then went on a long drive of their own, getting to the Longhorn 7. Running back Jau’ron Walker scored on a fumblerooski-type play to make it 14-13 with a minute left in the third quarter. The extra point was missed.

Drinkard and Jenkins combined for 118 rushing yards on 21 carries, while Jenkins had four receptions for 28 yards. Miller was 10-for-18 with 85 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

“(Hymond and Davion) have been big for us,” Cavallo said. “Kenneth White also had a big run as well, so once we have all three of them going, we got inside and outside, with Hymond being a bit of both.”

The George Ranch defense held the Lions to 241 total yards and force two turnovers. Taylor’s 13 points in the third quarter were the first points the Longhorn defense had given up in a 10-quarter period.

The Longhorns look to take a big step in setting themselves up for a district title run next Friday against Pearland Dawson.

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