WICHITA FALLS — Thursday night's game didn't look like the Wichita Falls Rider-Denton rivalry of recent seasons. It more closely resembled the type of games the two teams played a decade ago.
Rider took the drama out of the rivalry matchup early and never allowed it to creep back in during a 47-7 shellacking of Denton at Memorial Stadium.
It's the most lopsided game between the teams since Rider defeated the Broncos 40-7 in 2012. The last four meetings had been decided by an average of eight points and none were in hand entering the fourth quarter.
Rider's win snapped a two-game winning streak for the Broncos in the series that was preceded by Rider winning 11 straight.
"When I first got to Rider, we were up and Denton was down a little," Rider coach Marc Bindel said. "Really the last four or five years, it's been good battles. Unfortunately, they had some injuries, which we did too, but they had some injuries in some really key spots that changed the way they can play."
Denton played Rider without starting quarterback Landry Kinne and top receiver Isaiah Wofford. The impact of those injuries was clear as the Broncos only threw for 1 yard with backup Brooks Bedinger unable to find a rhythm on a windy night. The junior attempted six passes, completing one of them.
With the Broncos being one-dimensional, Rider got perhaps the best performance of the season out of its defense. Denton finished with 193 rushing yards on 52 carries, averaging 3.7 yards per attempt.
Rider's defensive line set the tone with Caleb Hughes and Julio Rabago each recording tackles for losses early in the game.
Denton went three-and-out on its first two possessions and turned it over on downs after a bad snap on a punt for its third possession. The Broncos didn't record a first down until there was less than two minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Denton didn't find the end zone until there was 7:59 left in the game with the Raiders already up 40-0. Bedinger capped a 13-yard drive against Rider's backups with a 1-yard TD plunge.
"Coming off that bye week and have two weeks to prepare for these guys and they were on a short week, we knew what these guys were going to try to do," Hughes said. "What it really was is we took care of our assignments. We went back to basics this week in practice, and we did what we practiced."
Danari Curry put the Raiders up 7-0 on their first possession, breaking a tackle after catching an out pass from Jorge Vargas and racing 40 yards for the score. Brandon Bolton added a 5-yard TD run, giving Rider a 14-0 advantage heading into the second quarter.
The rout was truly on when the Raiders scored twice in a 1:50 span midway through the second quarter.
The first score came on a 40-yard bomb from Vargas to Jake Edgemon perfectly placed between two defenders with 7:48 left in the half.
The Raiders pooched the ensuing kickoff into the wind and recovered it at the Denton 44. Five plays later, Bolton broke off a 17-yard run for a 27-0 lead with 5:58 remaining.
Bolton scored his third TD late in the quarter when he snuck out of the backfield on a wheel route and Vargas found him wide open for 39 yards. Rider went to the locker room up 33-0.
A third-quarter 34-yard TD run by sophomore Samuel Manuel and a fourth-quarter 4-yard run by junior Riki Borders capped the Rider scoring.
The Raiders finished with 395 total yards, including 230 rushing. Manuel led the team with 134 rushing yards on 10 carries. Bolton finished with 65 on seven attempts. Vargas completed nine of 12 passes for 160 yards. Edgemon led with 48 receiving yards on two catches.
With a third district win, Bindel is ready to start talking about making the playoffs.
"We've got three wins and now we need one more," Bindel said. "We've got to go get a win against Braswell next week and then we get into the playoffs. I feel like this team is starting to accomplish the goals it laid out for itself at the beginning of the season."