Football: Ryan secondary tested in scrimmage

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The weather Saturday morning couldn’t have been more ideal for Ryan’s first scrimmage of the season, against the Fort Worth Southwest Raiders.

On a cloudless and unusually cool August morning, the Ryan Raiders started their inaugural scrimmage of the 2013 season a little shaky, but Ryan closed strong on its practice field.

As with all scrimmages, the score was irrelevant. The only thing that mattered was what the coaches thought of their respective teams.

Ryan coach Joey Florence liked what he saw while observing the scrimmage from the field.

“There were a lot of positives — more positives than negatives — but we still have a long way to go,” Florence said.

Saturday’s scrimmage at Ryan was the first of two scrimamges before the regular season begins Aug. 30 at Corsicana. Ryan will have plenty to work on before that first game.

Southwest’s starters opened the scrimmage strong and tested Ryan’s young secondary. Sophomore quarterback Devin Williams threw a 70-yard touchdown pass on the sixth play of the scrimmage. Williams threw another touchdown to close out the Southwest starters’ first possession.

Florence said his secondary’s youth was evident.

“I think that showed a little bit in the secondary,” Florence said. “But I believe in those guys. They just have to get some games behind them.”

The Ryan coach said Williams and Southwest’s offense were great weapons to practice against as Ryan prepares to face Corsicana and dual-threat quarterback Devontay Bell.

As for Ryan’s offense, it moved the ball well toward the end of practice behind senior quarterback Mitchell Bridges.

Ryan junior running back Maurice Gordon broke a 70-yard touchdown run down the left sideline. Running back Tyrone Williams followed with a 50-yard touchdown run up the middle.

“I thought our backs all ran well,” Florence said. “We rolled a lot of guys in there today, and they ran well.”

Senior wide receiver Trent Willis had the catch of the scrimmage when Bridges lofted a deep ball toward him and he turned and caught the ball over a defender’s back for a 42-yard gain.

Willis said the offense executed well on the day and progressed as the morning went on.

“Everybody got their jitters out of their system,” Willis said.

The same could be said for Ryan’s defense, which did a much better job of handling Class 4A Southwest in the 12-minute final quarter.

“We finished the scrimmage strong,” Ryan senior Alex Funches said. “At first, having the first scrimmage, you’ve got to adjust everything. A lot of people’s emotions are going on; everybody’s trying to get used to everything. But after everything got rolling, it got better and better.”

BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.


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