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Football: Raiders' playoff road starts with home game against Brewer

Following a 56-7 rout of Wichita Falls Rider last week, Ryan coach Dave Henigan praised his team for notching a program-first third straight 10-0 regular season. Almost in the same breath, he reminded the Raiders there are still six more wins to get. 

Six more wins is what it will take for Ryan to win the Class 5A Division I state title. That road begins at 7 p.m. Thursday against Fort Worth Brewer at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex.

"It's win or go home now — it's that time of year," Henigan said. "We know what the end goal is, but the reality is you have to get better every day and take it one game at a time. You can't look forward or past people. That's a trap and we're not going to do that. 

"It's the third part of the season. Everyone is 0-0 and their goal is to win it all."

This is a rematch of last year's playoff opener, a game Ryan won 54-13. It's also the first time since 2015 that Ryan (10-0 and No. 3 in The Associated Press' 5A poll) has hosted a playoff game.

Brewer (6-4) is more experienced than last year with 14 starters back (six offense, eight defense). That includes quarterback Carson Ingram and running back Christian Calton. In a loss to Haslet Eaton last week, Ingram racked up 189 total yards and two rushing touchdowns. Calton rushed for 95 yards and a score, while Jahrad Taylor caught six passes for 109 yards.

"If they hold true to form, they play a lot of man coverage and blitz a lot on defense," Henigan said. "Offensively, they were more formation-oriented last year but have since switched to more of a spread offense. They've got a couple of good receivers, the running back is a good player and they've got a nose guard that's like 290 pounds.

"They've got some big kids, and they'll be ready to roll. They'll give us their best shot."

Ryan started slow in last year's matchup and led 7-0 two minutes into the second quarter. The Raiders went on to score 40 points in the next two quarters.

Practically that entire offense is back and has shown no signs of slowing down while finishing the regular season averaging 450 yards and 47.2 points per game. 

Ryan quarterback Spencer Sanders has thrown for 2,557 yards and 35 touchdowns while rushing for 740 yards and 10 scores. Gabriel Douglas, a Texas Tech commit, has exactly 1,000 receiving yards to go with 18 touchdowns. Douglas, Tauskie Dove and Jamarion Robertson have combined for 31 touchdowns. Emani Bailey has rushed for 811 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Defensively, the Raiders are giving up an average of 16.8 points and have recorded 18 red zone stops. Six of those stops have come over the last two weeks. Ryan has forced 22 turnovers this season, including seven over the last two games.

Henigan said it's important to carry all that success over into what could be a deep playoff run.

"It's like we say every week, it's about us and making sure we do all the things necessary to put ourselves in a position to win," Henigan said. "In order to win the next one, you've got to work hard today and go take care of your business."

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

What you need to know

Matchup: Ryan vs. Fort Worth Brewer
When: 7 p.m. Thursday 
Where: C.H. Collins Athletic Complex 
What happened last year: Ryan won 54-13
Predictions: 
Steve Gamel — Ryan 50, Brewer 13
Jimmy Isbell — Ryan 49, Brewer 10
Brady Keane — Ryan 52, Brewer 17
Clay Massey — Ryan 42, Brewer 17