The last two weeks, Ryan’s defense has given the Raiders an opportunity to pull off one incredible comeback after another.
With Ryan’s only returning starter and a few other key contributors from last season still wearing their football pads, Ryan boys coach Bryce Overstreet said the team was working on keeping things simple early in the season.
At the moment, the Guyer football team is focused on defending its Class 4A Division I state championship, but after what they hope is a Dec. 20 title game at AT&T Stadium, the Wildcats will shift their attention.
Keller Fossil Ridge scored 31 points before Ryan could even pick up a first down in Saturday afternoon’s Class 5A Division II regional semifinal. What occurred after that point, which came late in the second quarter, seemed unfathomable. Ryan pulled off the largest comeback in school history to defeat Fossil Ridge 42-37 at Apogee Stadium.
The first overtime went scoreless, and the thrilling, second overtime saw each team post eight points to send it to a third extra session, where Ryan persevered with a 62-58 victory at home Monday afternoon against Denton.
Sharing athletes is nothing new to the Ryan basketball team. Playing without five varsity players who instead suited up for the football team in a playoff game Saturday morning in Arlington, the inexperienced Raiders fell behind early en route to a 52-47 loss to Decatur at Billy Ryan Gym.
GRAPEVINE — Ryan’s offense didn’t need to be great in Friday night’s playoff game. The way the Raiders played on defense and special teams, they needed just enough points to fend off Colleyville Heritage in Friday night’s Class 5A Division II Region I bi-district contest. The Raiders forced six turnovers to survive and pick up a 44-34 victory against the Panthers at Mustang-Panther Stadium.
Minutes before Ryan started its final regular-season game of the season, parents and players were scrambling on the turf at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex. On senior night, Michelle Bridges frantically asked coaches where her son was before senior quarterback Mitchell Bridges returned just in time to be escorted to the middle of the field with his parents. Ryan assistant coach John Fischer hastily threw his arm around an unaccompanied senior and walked him down the field on a night when Ryan’s seniors were honored in their final regular-season home game. Ryan’s seniors had plenty to celebrate about on Friday night.
The cross country course at Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock has become a pretty familiar site for Guyer’s Devin Norton.
COPPELL — When the Ryan backups stepped on the field late in contests earlier this season, it meant the Raiders were just waiting for time to expire before they collected a win. But by the time Ryan’s second-string players trudged onto the field, it was Coppell that had all but wrapped up the District 5-5A win on Friday night.
It takes a look back to 2010 to see the last time the Ryan defense dominated on the scoreboard like it did on Friday night against Lewisville. It’s been three years since the Raiders shut out an opponent, something they did in a 33-0 win over the Fighting Farmers.
CARROLLTON — As Hebron and Ryan trudged down the field at the end of the third quarter on Friday night, the two teams were tied going into the fourth quarter. But after a few minutes elapsed off the clock in the fourth quarter, the Hawks had all the points they needed to hand the Raiders their first loss of the season. Two big plays early in the fourth quarter lifted Hebron to a 31-17 victory against Ryan in a District 5-5A game at Hawk Stadium in Carrollton.
FLOWER MOUND — The cheers from the Ryan bleachers said all that needed to be said. As Ryan and Flower Mound Marcus walked off the field after the final whistle, those who traveled to Marauder Stadium chanted “Two hundred!” in adoration of the Raiders’ head coach. Ryan scored 13 unanswered points for a 13-10 win over Marcus and giving Joey Florence his 200th career victory as a head coach. It was the District 5-5A opener for both schools.
FORT WORTH — Ryan freshman Kate Soltero continued her strong season with a first-place finish at the Falcon Fast Invitational at Keller Timber Creek on Friday.
Ryan head coach Joey Florence had his headset off and stalked the sidelines as he watched his backups play Friday night at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex. After the Raiders held McKinney scoreless in the first half of their nondistrict game, the Lions reeled off 13 points in the second half and Florence had seen enough. On the next drive, Florence inserted his first team and they provided another touchdown for emphasis in a 49-20 victory.
When Ryan headed into the first of two bye weeks in the 2012 season, the team had lost two of its first three games. A year later, Ryan enters its first week of rest with a blemish-free record. And the differences in the win-loss columns are far from the only contrasts between last year’s team and 2013’s Raiders.
WYLIE — At the outset of Ryan’s nondistrict contest against the Wylie East Raiders on Friday night, things weren’t going smoothly for a Raiders team coming off back-to-back blowout wins. There were the two lost fumbles. There was the onside kick that went out of bounds and gave East a short field with which to work. There were the early penalties.
WICHITA FALLS — For the entire second half of Ryan’s game against Wichita Falls Rider on Thursday night, senior wide receiver Trent Willis stood on the sidelines and cheered on his team.
ARGYLE — After Liberty Christian dropped the second set of its nondistrict volleyball match against Ryan on Tuesday night, first-year Liberty coach Justin Else and his team walked across the sideline before they huddled prior to the third set.
CORSICANA — Three offensive plays into the season, Ryan senior running back Tyrone Williams was already seeking redemption. On the third offensive play, senior running back Tyrone Williams fumbled the ball on Friday night against Corsicana and the Tigers recovered on the Raiders’ side of the field.