In a battle between District 5-5A foes and crosstown rivals Denton and Ryan, defense was the main focus for each coach. Ryan coach Monesha Allen and Denton coach Erin Taylor are known for their defense pedigrees, and in the teams’ district opener Friday, Ryan’s defense flourished while Denton’s was lackluster.
When Ryan and Highland Park last played each other in a state semifinal, it was 2003 and the Raiders won 45-21 to advance to their fourth straight state championship game. To get back to the title game — their sixth trip since 2000 — Ryan again must go through the Scots.
Ryan and Liberty Christian didn’t make things easy on each other Tuesday, or themselves. At least that’s how things felt as the Raiders jumped out to a seemingly insurmountable 13-point lead midway through the third quarter only to blow that lead to the suddenly hot-shooting Warriors, who then promptly gave up a buzzer-beating 3-pointer before losing 60-57 in overtime at Billy Ryan Gym.
ARLINGTON — Ryan quarterback Spencer Sanders loves having a great defense on his side, so much that if he had it his way, that unit would spend the majority of every game just standing on the sideline....
ARLINGTON — Four carries into his day, Ryan senior Tyreke Davis had an eerily familiar feeling. After a 25-yard scamper, he felt a tweak in his right knee — the knee he injured in Ryan’s third-round playoff win last year that allowed him just one carry in the Raiders’ loss to Allen the following week.
SAINT JO — The Calvary boys took home a tournament title Saturday after defeating Ryan 61-41 in the final of the Saint Jo tournament.
Ryan has been here before — lots of times. Just last year, the Raiders entered the fourth round of the playoffs unbeaten and on a roll in the state’s largest classification. But that run was halted in a hurry in a tough loss to Allen, then a three-time defending state champion.
Denton-area volleyball players were represented well on their respective all-district teams. The select players are chosen by district coaches, who consider their performance during district play.
ABILENE — Credit the Ryan Raiders with this from Friday night: They’re tough to beat, even when trying to beat themselves. Despite more than doubling Lubbock Monterey’s offensive production, Ryan found itself clinging to a three-point lead in the fourth quarter thanks largely to 140 yards in penalties and a late burst from Monterey.
When Ryan was presented with its area-round trophy after last week’s win over Richland, the comment was made that while it wasn’t the trophy the Raiders were ultimately after, it did represent being one step closer to the one they want.
Earnest Brown IV isn’t on the court yet. Neither is Spencer Sanders or several other key roster additions Ryan coach Bryce Overstreet expects to have available around the time district play begins in January.
JUSTIN — At this point in his high school career, Tyreke Davis is used to playing on both sides of the ball. But the Raiders haven’t needed to rely on him nearly as much on offense this season. That is, until Friday. Davis rang up a season-high 170 rushing yards and three touchdowns as Ryan piled up 277 yards on the ground in a 34-13 win against Richland in a Class 5A Division I area-round game at Northwest ISD Stadium.
FORT WORTH — By its standards, Ryan didn’t get off to the start it would have wanted in Thursday’s playoff opener at Fort Worth Brewer. The offense sputtered at times, and penalties were a glaring issue.But when you’re Ryan, those miscues tend to get overshadowed in a hurry.
WICHITA FALLS — Ryan coach Dave Henigan has been saying all year winning a district title and finishing the regular season unbeaten wasn’t his team’s end goal. But it sure does look nice heading into the postseason. Ryan, the No. 4 team in The Associated Press’ Class 5A poll, nabbed its second straight unbeaten run through the regular season with a 38-14 win Friday against Wichita Falls Rider at Memorial Stadium.
Five Denton-area volleyball teams, three from District 9-4A, remain alive in the UIL state playoffs as teams head into the second round of games. Four area representatives will be in action tonight, while the Ryan Lady Raiders play their area-round game Friday.
Eight Denton-area teams have their focus squarely set on a championship run when the UIL state volleyball playoffs begin this week.
Ryan has claimed at least a share of the District 5-5A title. But it has no plans on sharing anything after next week. With Thursday’s 41-14 win against Denison at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex, the Raiders won their fifth-straight game by three touchdowns or more and, despite still having only a one-game lead in the standings over Denton, appear primed to finish the regular season as the district’s lone unbeaten team.
Ryan is the only unbeaten team in District 5-5A with two games remaining in the regular season. But the Raiders don’t have the district title sewn up yet.
Ryan coach Nicholas Gay was confident the Lady Raiders were one of the better teams in District 5-5A when league play began nearly two months ago.
WICHITA FALLS — It seems like forever and a day since Ryan was last tested by another team. On Friday, not only did Wichita Falls fail to push the fourth-ranked Raiders to the brink, it got run out of its stadium. Ryan scored 56-straight points, forced four turnovers and added a pooch-kick recovery for good measure while rolling to a 56-14 District 5-5A win against the Coyotes at Memorial Stadium.
There’s a strong belief that Ryan wide receiver Gabriel Douglas’ verbal commitment to Texas Tech on Wednesday will open the floodgates to more Football Bowl Subdivision offers for one of the more highly touted high school receivers in the nation. Douglas, a junior, is ready for them all. But he said he is sold on the Red Raiders.
DENISON — The Ryan Lady Raiders wrapped up the first round of District 5-5A action Tuesday night with a 25-20, 25-15, 25-17 sweep of the Denison Lady Yellowjackets to maintain their unblemished league record.
Braswell coach Cody Moore doesn’t have to be told his team is outmatched. He’s leading a first-year program that has struggled to be competitive in the first month of the season against one of the top teams in the state tonight when the Bengals face No. 3 Ryan at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex.
It was billed as a showdown. The result was a beatdown. That’s the best way to describe Friday’s one-sided District 5-5A opener between Ryan and Denton. It’s been a crosstown rivalry that, even though it hadn’t been played since 2011, has been dominated by the Raiders. In the latest installment, Ryan showed just how big of a gap there is between two of the top six teams in the state.
Through the first four games of the Denton Broncos’ season, their defense has had just as much a hand in their victories as their offense. In three halves this season, their defense has held the opposing team to seven points or less while racking up 10 takeaways. In their District 5-5A opener, though, the Broncos’ defense had its hands full.
There was a time when Ryan and Denton were the only high schools in town. They would square off every season on the field and everyone in the community came to watch. To this day, there are fans who refer to it as the Denton school district’s original rivalry.
SHERMAN — The Ryan Lady Raiders kept their District 5-5A record perfect Tuesday night with a four-set victory against the Sherman Lady Bearcats 25-17, 17-25, 25-16, 25-17.
Ryan setter Brynn Warnack has a reputation among teammates for being a bit of an old fogey. Many of them joke Warnack, a senior and Lubbock Christian commit, can’t hear well unless they make eye contact with her first. They say she’s also notorious for being in bed by 8 p.m. most nights — even if it means leaving early from a team gathering.
It’s not like Ryan’s offense played poorly in its first three games. But after relying so heavily on second-half heroics, even the Raiders were itching to start fast for a change — and perhaps build some cushion in the process. Ryan, ranked No. 3 in The Associated Press’ Class 5A poll, got the fast start it was looking for Friday and, with a suffocating defense in tow, decimated No. 5 Frisco Lone Star for a 51-34 win at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex. Lone Star hung around for the most part but turned the ball over four times.
Ryan coach Dave Henigan and Frisco Lone Star’s Jeff Rayburn were in the same boat on realignment day in February. Both coaches had just led their teams to deep playoff runs, and were favorites to again compete for state titles. But as they worked the room that day trying to round out their nondistrict schedules, that success was working against them.
WYLIE — Perhaps Ryan simply feels more comfortable playing from behind. That certainly appears to be this team’s modus operandi. The Raiders, ranked third in the state, have trailed at halftime in all three of their games this season. But rather than panic, they continue to find a way to win.