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Football: Florence eyeing ways to improve

Profile image for By Ben Baby / Staff Writer
By Ben Baby / Staff Writer

Ryan head coach Joey Florence said he doesn’t know if his team should have won last week’s contest against Wichita Falls Rider, but Ryan probably could have won it.

He acknowledged his team played well at times, but at times the Raiders’ offense didn’t execute in the red zone.

Florence was quick to point out the team Ryan’s facing tonight for homecoming, Wylie East, boasts an offense that can certainly execute. While Ryan’s defense made a huge improvement from its first game against Corsicana in last week’s loss, Ryan (1-1) will face a potent offense tonight at 7:30 at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex.

“They’re talented and very well-coached,” Florence said of Wylie East. “It’s going to be challenging for our defense. I still think we got a young defense, not making any excuses. We’ll have our hands full [tonight.] It’ll be another fun night to watch us go out and battle again. I’m kind of enjoying it.”

Wylie East (1-1) is coming off a humbling 30-10 loss to Frisco Liberty last week, but Florence isn’t underestimating Ryan’s homecoming opponent. East boasts 12 returning starters from the team that suffered a one-point loss to Frisco in the bi-district round of the Class 4A Division II playoffs.

East boasts the receiving tandem of Marcell Ateman and Vequan Jones. Ateman is ranked by recruiting website as the 39th best wide receiver prospect in the nation. Ateman has orally committed to Oklahoma State, while Jones has orally committed to Baylor.

The last two weeks, Ryan has split two entertaining contests, with both games coming down to the closing stages of the fourth quarter. Ryan’s loss last week snapped a streak of 25 consecutive regular-season wins, dating to October 2009.

Florence said his team is ready to eliminate the taste of losing from its palette.

“I told the kids there’s only one way to get that bad feeling out of your way,” Florence said. “There’s nothing you can say or do all week. You just have to go win on Friday night to get that good feeling again.”


Compton starting for second straight week.

Junior quarterback Preston Compton will start for Ryan for the second straight week. Mitchell Bridges remains out with a fractured fibula and is still week-to-week.

Last week against Rider, Compton went 12-of-18 for 111 yards and two interceptions. Florence said he thought Compton played well against Rider. Ryan’s head coach also said the offense needs to improve after scoring only 15 points last week.

“We’ve got to play better offensively,” Florence said. “We stuttered some; we didn’t score when we should have. We have to improve there.”


Several players moving on both sides of ball

With so many young players on this year’s squad, Ryan’s coaching staff is still trying to determine who fits in what position.

Senior Reynal Caldwell will play primarily as a defensive back, but Florence said he will still see some playing time at wide receiver. Sophomore Dakota Laws will take over as the team’s starting right tackle, adding to the changes in Ryan’s ever-shifting lineup.

“A football team’s like a puzzle,” Florence said. “You have to move those pieces around. I don’t care what classification you’re in.”

BEN BABY can be reached 940-566-6869. His e-mail address is .