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.
But for the third straight week, there was no late-minute tension on the Ryan sideline.
Behind its defense and its running game, the Raiders cruised for a third consecutive week and defeated Wylie East 37-10 at Wylie Stadium.
Ryan’s defense was in control in the second half and did not allow a point in the game’s final two quarters. The Raiders only surrendered 82 yards in the second half, enabling them to improve to 3-0 on the year.
“We put them in a bad spot with those turnovers early in the game and kept them out on the field, and I thought they answered the challenge,” Ryan head coach Joey Florence said.
Florence picked up his 198th career victory in Friday night’s victory over Wylie East (1-2), a team that beat Ryan last season.
Ryan’s rushing attack ensured that another loss to Wylie East was out of the question.
Ryan senior running back Tyrone Williams carried the ball 15 times for 160 yards and a touchdown. Junior running back Maurice Gordon picked up 131 yards on 12 carries for two touchdowns, including a 75-yard touchdown run on Ryan’s first play of the fourth quarter to seal the victory.
“Me and Tyrone, we just followed behind the offensive line,” Gordon said. “We thought the linebackers were over-pursuing, so we took the cutback lanes.”
Ryan exerted its ground prowess when it needed to in the second half. The Raiders marched down the field on a 10-play, 79-yard drive capped by a 5-yard run by senior quarterback Mitchell Bridges that put Ryan ahead 28-10.
But early on, the running game was part of the problem for the Raiders. Along with Williams’ fumble, Paul Hunter fumbled a punt return and Wylie East recovered the ball deep in Ryan’s territory. The Raiders held and Wylie East settled for a 29-yard field goal by Braden Shewmake with 7:51 left in the first half. That was the last time Wylie East scored.
Bridges then hit Trent Willis on a quick and well-placed pass for a 3-yard touchdown reception nine seconds before half, giving Ryan a 21-10 lead going into the break.
“I thought that was unbelievable, the throw and catch by Mitchell and Trent,” Florence said. “That was a big-time play right before the half, and I thought that was the difference in the game.”
Ryan closed the game with 23 unanswered points, capped by a 54-yard field goal by senior Marc Orozco.
The defense, coupled with the rushing attack, atoned for the early gaffes that kept Wylie East hanging around. Florence said the errors will be something the team will need to clean up as it enters a bye week before facing its first Class 5A opponent, McKinney, on Sept. 27.
“We’re a veteran ballclub,” Florence said. “We made a lot of penalties, a lot of blocks in the back, fumbled a couple of times. That’s stuff you don’t expect. We have to do better than that. We’re going to go back to work on that. We’re going to get that fixed.”
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.
Ryan 37, Wylie East 10
WE — Jason Rone 24 run (Braden Shewmake kick)
DR — Tyrone Williams 69 run (Marc Orozco kick)
DR — Maurice Gordon 20 run (Marc Orozco kick)
WE — Braden Shewmake 29 FG
DR — Trent Willis 3 pass from Mitchell Bridges (Marc Orozco kick)
DR — Mitchell Bridges 5 run (Marc Orozco kick)
DR — Maurice Gordon 75 run (kick failed)
DR — Marc Orozco 54 FG
Rushing — DR: Tyrone Williams 15-160, Maurice Gordon 12-131, Mitchell Bridges 8-48, Cameron Williams 5-9, Shomari Cann 4-4, Xavier Gray 3--2, WE: Garrett McCain 10-45, Kevon Mack 16-35, Jason Rone 7-33, Aubrey White 1-11, Mark Robinson 3-6.
Passing — DR: Mitchell Bridges 10-16-0-115, WE: Garrett McCain 11-22-0-71.
Receiving — DR: Trent Willis 4-44, Xavier Gray 4-39, Matthew Wagganer 2-32, WE: Braden Shewmake 2-24, Kevon Mack 2-12, Aubrey White 2-12, Jared Wyatt 1-10, Mitchell Clark 2-6, Tyler Hughey 1-5, Jason Rone 1-2.