AREA TEAMS INCLUDED: Jefferson, McCollum.
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McCollum took some time to find its bearings with a new coaching staff, but the Cowboys made a statement Oct. 9 that they’ve arrived.
The Cowboys (3-3, 3-1) forged a three-way tie for second place in District 28-5A with a 48-28 win over Jefferson (2-5, 2-3) at Alamo Stadium. McCollum was tied with Highlands (4-2, 3-1) and idle Harlandale (3-3, 3-1).
“We’ve got to keep them humble,” first-year McCollum coach Greg Felux said. “To be 3-1 in district is something that hasn’t happened here in a while. We’ll coach them about that in practice.”
The loss dropped Jefferson to fifth place.
The Mustangs were within 21-14 at halftime, courtesy of a 24-yard pass from General Gonzalez to Eric Flores and an 11-yard scoring run from Jesse Flores (245 yards, 29 attempts).
McCollum senior back Mike Ramirez ( yards, attempts) accounted for each of McCollum’s 21 first-half points.
He carried twice for 30 yards after a Sean Salinas fumble recovery put McCollum in striking range. With 10:41 left in the first quarter, Ramirez ran nine yards for a 7-0 lead.
Jefferson drove 71 yards for the tying score, which came on a 20-yard pass from General Gonzalez to Eric Flores. But the Cowboys regained the lead three plays later, when Ramirez turned a screen from Jordan Ortega (8 of 11, 123 yards) into a 54-yard touchdown.
Ramirez broke a tackle at the Jefferson 45.
“Mike is a tremendous athlete,” Felux said. “He’s done a great job, because he’s the guy everybody looks for. We had a great performance from the offensive line tonight, making sure they were opening holes for him.”
The Mustangs once again tied the score. It was 14-14 after Jefferson covered 65 yards in two plays, including Jesse Flores’ 11-yard touchdown run.
With just 48 seconds left in the half, Ramirez swept to the right side and dashed 50 yards down the sideline to give McCollum a 21-14 halftime advantage.
Ortega (121 yards, 14 attempts) followed a block from Joseph Ybarra to break a 43-yard run up the middle that gave McCollum a two-touchdown lead in the third quarter.
“Jordan has been an exceptionally good quarterback,” Felux said. “He’s been a key addition this year as a runner. He’s able to make plays with his legs. We’ll take what the defense gives us.”
Ramirez scored two of his five touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
On the first play of the final quarter, Ramirez manufactured a 48-yard scoring run out of a broken play. Jefferson turned to Flores, and the senior only needed four carries to travel 69 yards and slash McCollum’s lead to 35-21.
“Jefferson is a tough team,” Felux said. “We would have liked not to have given up that late touchdown, but we had some young kids whom we wanted to get some extra experience.”
Following a 19-yard scramble from Ortega, Ramirez took over to accumulate 39 yards on four carries, including a clinching six-yard touchdown with 6:54 remaining.
“I like competing,” Ramirez said. “Seeing (Flores’) numbers, I needed to come out here and eat, like he does.”
Coming off a bye week, McCollum recorded its highest scoring output since Oct. 12, 2012. The Cowboys scored 52 that night in a win over Uvalde.
“I think it helped us as a team,” Felux said. “We were able to get a few guys healthy. The kids responded exceptionally well.”