With less than six minutes left in the fourth quarter of Ryan’s nondistrict game against Wichita Falls Rider, the wind picked up its intensity as the goalposts swayed fervently, with the Raiders driving down the field with the lead.
And then, as Ryan running back A.J. Anderson fought for extra yards on a carry in the middle of the field, the ball hit the turf. A black-and-white Rider jersey fell on top of the ball, and in that instant, the momentum carried through the blustery wind to the east sidelines.
Rider capitalized on the turnover. Ohio State-bound quarterback J.T. Barrett strolled into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown in a 21-15 win over Ryan on Friday night at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex.
“I had the ball in one hand, and I should have had two hands on it,” Anderson said. “He just got a good play on me and took it away.”
Ryan’s 25-game regular-season winning streak — a streak dating back to a loss to Lake Dallas on Oct. 9, 2009 — was snapped by a team bearing the same nickname.
“I hurt for the kids. I thought we played a good game,” Ryan head coach Joey Florence said. “We made too many mistakes. We played well enough to win, but we just couldn’t get it done.”
In his first game as Ryan’s starting quarterback, Preston Compton completed 12 of 18 passes for 111 yards and two interceptions. In his first game as Ryan’s featured running back, Tyrone Williams had a tremendous performance, carrying the ball 21 times for 196 yards and a touchdown.
Following the game, on the edge of his sideline, Florence found himself addressing his team after a loss, an occasion that’s been reserved for the postseason over the last three years.
A few players shed a tear as Florence said he was proud of his kids for containing one of the top-rated teams in Class 4A. Along with Barrett, Rider offensive lineman Harrison Sorge is orally committed to UNT, and Rider (1-1) was ranked No. 8 in Class 4A by The Associated Press prior to a loss to Abilene Cooper last week.
It’s the first time in four years Rider has beaten its former Class 4A foe. In his third year as Rider head coach, Jim Garfield’s team had finally gotten the best of Ryan.
“We got a long way to go, and our team, they understand that,” Garfield said. “We didn’t have a very good outing against Abilene Cooper. We worried about the Rider Raiders this week, and the things we had to work on. I think that’s the reason we got the win.”
Barrett got some brief rest on the sidelines throughout the game while Chase London filled in for him. Garfield said he opted to rest Barrett a little bit after last week’s exhausting performance against Cooper. Barrett is the No. 7-rated dual quarterback in the class of 2013 by the recruiting website Rivals.com.
Ryan (1-1) had the lead on two occasions. Ryan opened the game with a powerful 28-yard run by Williams, but the point-after attempt squirted along the ground and kicker Marc Orozco fell on top of the ball.
On Ryan’s next touchdown in the third quarter, a 36-yard touchdown pass from Compton to Xavier Gray, Orozco missed the extra point.
Orozco kicked through the wind and gave Ryan the lead in the fourth quarter with a 26-yard field goal.
Florence said the turnovers hurt, and the untimely penalties proved to be costly. A week after Ryan pulled off a miraculous second-half comeback against Corsicana, Ryan was unable to pull off late heroics this time.
“There’s a lot of fight in these kids,” Florence said. “We’ll learn. We’ll get better.”
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
Wichita Falls Rider 21, Ryan 15
8 — 21
3 — 15
R — Tyrone Williams 28 run (kick failed), 3:58
WFR — Chase London 3 run (Brandon Williams kick), 2:09
R — Xavier Gray 36 pass from Compton (kick failed), 9:39
WFR — John Hatch 8 pass from J.T. Barrett (run failed), 2:44
R — Marc Orozco 26 kick, 10:15
WFR — Barrett 6 run (Williams pass from Barrett), 4:13
Rushing — WFR: Domanic Thrasher 10-60, J.T. Barrett 17-97, Josh Price 2-(-)6, Chase London 2-13, Carlos Fleeks 2-13, Team 2-(-)4. R: A.J. Anderson 8-40, Preston Compton 10-12, Tyrone Williams 21-196, Xavier Gray 4-36.
Passing — WFR: J.T. Barrett 4-7-0-84, Chase London 1-2-0-9 . R: Preston Compton 12-18-2-111, Xavier Gray 1-1-0-5.
Receiving — WFR: John Hatch 3-27, Brylan McCoy 1-34, Brandon Williams 1-32. R: Trent Willis 4-49, Xavier Gray 5-48, Jonathan Jackson 1-5, Robert Conner 1-3, Kevin Ray1-9, Daniel Telaneus 1-2.