Nine years ago, in a game no Ryan supporter will forget, the Raiders went on their quest to win a third straight Class 4A state championship.
The only team standing between the Raiders and another state championship was La Marque, a team sharing as much history as Ryan.
La Marque defeated Ryan 43-35 in triple overtime, a thrilling game capping La Marque’s perfect season. That game ended Ryan’s streak of four straight state championship appearances.
“It was just a great high school football game,” Ryan coach Joey
Florence told the DRC after the game. “We just happened to be on the short side of it.”
Nine years later, the two coaches who were a part of the historic contest will be going against each other again.
Bryan Erwin, who was the head coach at La Marque for five seasons, will be leading Marcus (1-4) tonight against Florence. It’s the first time since the 2003 game the two coaches will be pitted against one another.
Back when they played nine years ago, Erwin and Florence had not met each other. Now, with Erwin coaching at nearby Marcus for the last four years, Florence said the two have become friends. He went on to call Erwin “one of the best coaches around.”
Erwin and Florence both share similar career arcs, as Erwin led La Marque to four state championship appearances in five years. Florence led Ryan to four straight championships in his first four years at the school.
When Florence was asked if Erwin ever brings up the triple-overtime win, he said, “We played golf the other day and we didn’t even talk about it.”
Now, both coaches are fighting for playoff spots in a tough District 5-5A, and both coaches could desperately use a big win to start district play.
“I want to beat him like I wanted to beat him [nine] years ago, I guess,” Florence said with a slight chuckle as he finished the sentence.