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Football: Broncos limping into must-win situation at Rider

Denton coach Billy Miller is shuffling his starting lineup heading into Thursday's must-win game at Wichita Falls Rider. It's not by choice.

The Broncos (3-5, 1-3 District 5-5A), who can't afford another loss or they'll be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, will likely be without sophomore quarterback Landry Kinne and wide receiver Isaiah Wofford. Miller said both suffered injuries in last week's 35-14 loss to Denison, but he would not go into details on the severity of the injuries.

Wofford was carted off the field Friday.

Running back Xylohn Posey was banged up going into last week's game, Miller said.

"We have several guys who are hurt, but we are going to find some way to make this work," Miller said. "We'll use duct tape and paper clips if we have to. I believe in our team."

If Kinne does not play, as expected, Brooks Bedinger would be the starting quarterback. Bedinger was in a battle with Kinne for the starting job before Kinne won the job right before the opener. 

Bedinger has attempted just one pass this season, but he's been instrumental on both sides of the ball, including as a linebacker. Bedinger has caught two passes for 16 yards and a touchdown. He's also rushed for 22 yards. 

It will be an all-hands-on-deck situation for the Broncos, who will have their hands full with a Rider team that entered the week as the No. 3 playoff seed behind unbeaten Ryan and Denison. Rider (3-4, 2-1) has beaten Sherman and Wichita Falls. Its lone loss was to Denison in overtime.

The Raiders are led by quarterback Jorge Vargas, who has thrown for 1,621 yards and 16 touchdowns. He's also rushed for two scores. Running back Brandon Bolton has 670 rushing yards and nine scores. Jake Edgemon has 771 receiving yards with 11 touchdowns.

Defensively, Rider has 12 sacks through seven games and has forced 13 turnovers.

At this point, Denton is looking to turn the tide on what has been a crazy year. Miller was named the head coach during the offseason and took over a program that was essentially starting over with several new faces. The Broncos won their first two games but have since dropped five of six.

Because of their youth, turnovers and penalties have been the Broncos' biggest issue. They had six turnovers in a loss to Sherman. They rebounded with a win over Wichita Falls but turned the ball over twice against Denison and had three touchdowns called back on penalties.

A win over Rider does not guarantee a playoff berth, as Miller said potential tiebreakers could come down to point differentials.

"It's been a crazy year," Miller said. "To start where we started, where we were in a bunch of games, to now where we are struggling and injured — I don't know if I've ever been in this type of situation. We have a good football team. We just have to find a way to make this work."

STEVE GAMEL can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @NewspaperSteve.

What You Need to Know
Matchup: Denton at Wichita Falls Rider
When: 7 p.m. Thursday
Where: Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls
What happened last year: Denton won 31-13
Predictions:
Steve Gamel — Denton 21, Rider 20
Jimmy Isbell — Rider 35, Denton 14
Brady Keane — Rider 38, Denton 27
Clay Massey — Denton 28, Rider 27