Under the direction of head coach Joey Florence, Ryan cemented itself as a perennial contender for the state title in Class 4A. Florence has won two state titles (2001, 2002) and has made five state title appearances, with the last one occurring in 2010.
But with Ryan graduating six FBS-bound athletes, including one of the top recruits in the nation in Mario Edwards, the Raiders are forced to deal with the reloading and moving up to Class 5A.
And yet despite both of those things, Ryan was picked by Dave Campbell’s 2012 Texas Football to win District 5-5A.
Projected order of finish:
- Flower Mound Marcus
- Flower Mound
DCTF may have been a bit generous here in their rankings. Florence is one of the best coaches in the state and he will definitely maximize the most out of his kids, but when you lose six FBS-caliber players, it makes going to 5A that much tougher.
Last season, Ryan went undefeated in the regular season and eventually lost to Waco Midway in the Class 4A Division I regional semifinals.
The magazine listed Bridges as a returning starter at quarterback, but he was used in short yardage situations last season. Bridges tore his shoulder labrum and injured his shoulder last season, and recovered in time to help the Raiders during the baseball postseason.
Bridges could find himself in a position battle with Xavier Gray for the quarterback role. Running back Reynal Caldwell stepped in well for Jerrick Harvey last season, and should factor in Ryan’s success this season.
Offensive tackle Matt Griffin, defensive tackle J.T. Williams, defensive end Sekou Clark, and Gray were listed as players to watch.
Knowing Florence, I’m sure the pre-season accolade is nice but it won’t mean a whole lot. The Raiders will definitely have to fight for its second straight district title in as many classifications.