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.
MESQUITE — A safe assumption heading into this season was that Ryan’s drop to Class 5A would make the Raiders a tough team to beat — and so far that is true. But they clearly are skating on thin ice. Ryan scored 17 second-half points and forced two turnovers in a 24-13 win against Mesquite Poteet at Mesquite Memorial Stadium to push its regular-season win streak to 12 games.
LANCASTER — Better late than never. That’s pretty much the feeling fans had watching Ryan’s offense sputter its way through the bulk of Friday’s season opener only to somehow stay within striking distance before churning out 28 straight points in the second half to pull out a 35-23 win against Lancaster at Beverly D. Humphrey Tiger Stadium.
After two weeks of practice, the Braswell Bengals will hit someone other than one another. The Bengals will host Fort Worth Western Hills at 10 a.m. Saturday in a scrimmage at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex. It will be an exciting moment for Braswell, whose coaching staff is trying to fit all the puzzle pieces together heading into the team’s inaugural season.
Ryan coach Dave Henigan may very well have an easy road ahead. With 15 starters back, the Raiders are experienced, star-studded and among the favorites to compete for a Class 5A state championship.
A growing movement to institute pitch count limits on high school baseball players took a huge step toward reality this week, but it has been met with mixed reviews from a handful of local coaches. The National Federation of State High School Associations announced Tuesday that each state’s governing organization for high school sports must establish its own set of pitch count guidelines.
Michael Pittman has been by the side of Ryan High School girls basketball coach Monesha Allen for 12 seasons, making him her longest-tenured assistant. That coaching relationship has come to a bittersweet end.
Like many swimmers growing up through the Denton ISD aquatics program, water polo started as an auxiliary sport played in the spring when swim season was over.
Ryan pole vaulter Avery Stuchell is headed back to Austin for the UIL Class 6A state track and field meet after her second place finish Friday in the 6A Region I meet at Maverick Stadium at UT-Arlington.
At one point in Wednesday’s pivotal crosstown showdown between Guyer and Ryan, it appeared Guyer left fielder Ryan McCans had a chance to be the hero who kept the Wildcats’ playoff hopes alive with one regular-season game remaining.