WICHITA FALLS — When a fight broke out after Denton’s 40-7 loss to Wichita Falls Rider on Friday night at Memorial Stadium, nobody was going after D.J. Arnold.
Nobody wanted anything to do with this Rider Raider.
Arnold intercepted a Cy Ward pass on the third play of the game, setting up Domanic Thrasher’s 3-yard touchdown run.
Then Arnold scored the next Rider touchdown on a 1-yard run late in the quarter.
And when Denton scored its only touchdown on a 3-yard pass from Ward to Adarian Harris in the third quarter, the speedy Arnold returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for the Raiders’ final TD.
The win raised the Raiders’ record to 7-2 and 5-1 in District 5-4A. Denton fell to 3-6 and 1-5.
The Raiders will play the winner of Friday’s game between Fort Worth Dunbar and Fort Worth Eastern Hills in the first round of the Class 4A Division II playoffs.
“He has been playing lights out ever since Mason Stone got hurt,” Rider coach Jim Garfield said of Arnold. “He has taken it to a whole different level on offense, defense and special teams. He is an awesome kid.”
Rider scored three touchdowns and recorded two safeties in the first 24 minutes to take a 26-0 halftime lead over the Broncos.
The safeties came on a blocked punt by Caleb Levell and a sack of Ward by Sam Scribner.
Carlos Leeks scored on a 10-yard run, and Thrasher scored his 12th touchdown of the season to give Rider a commanding 33-0 lead in the third quarter.
That was followed by the Ward-to-Harris pass for Denton’s only TD against a stingy Rider defense, which allowed minus-9 yards rushing.
Rider, down a couple of injured quarterbacks, started Davon Allison. He completed 2 of 4 passes and ran for 54 yards, second only to Thrasher’s 93.
“I was impressed with the way he handled the spread,” Garfield said. “He is growing up each week.”
The Rider coach said he didn’t know what started the post-game fight but said he “didn’t think the Rider Raiders had anything to do with it.”
Wichita Falls Rider 40, Denton 7
R — Domanic Thrasher 3 run (kick failed)
R — D.J. Arnold 1 run (Thrasher run)
R — Safety, punt blocked out of end zone
R — Safety, Cy Ward tackled in end zone
R — Carlos Fleeks 10 run (Davon Allison run)
R — Thrasher 3 run (Brandon Williams kick)
D — Adarian Harris 3 pass from Ward (Michael Husbands kick)
R — Arnold 98 kickoff return (Williams kick)
Rushing — D: Cy Ward 9-7; Tre’Von Jackson 4-4 Deavonte Doucet 1-9; Team 2-(-29); R: Domanic Thrasher 16-93; Carlos Fleeks 7-20; Davon Allison 13-54; Brylan McCoy 1-13; D.J. Arnold 3-25; Josh Price 1-(-1); John Hatch 1-6; Cristian Baron 2-0’ Johnny Diaz 1-11; Chedy Joseph 2-4
Passing — D: Ward 14-23-2 124, Luke Satterfield 2-5-0 9; R: Allison 2-4-0 24, Diaz 2-3 12
Receiving — D: Jackson 1-1; Deandre Coleman 4-38; Adarian Harris 4-37; Doucet 1-13; Key’andre Hearvey 5-34; Ryan Daniels 1-10; R: N/A