In last week’s season opener against Corsicana, the Ryan Raiders looked really, really good in a 38-7 drubbing of the Tigers.
Tonight, Ryan continues its three-game road trip to start the season with a match-up against Wichita Falls Rider. Last week the starters were getting rest in the third quarter. That’s not going to happen against Rider.
Ryan (1-0) at Wichita Falls Rider (1-0), 7 p.m., Memorial Stadium
Series record: Ryan leads 8-5
What happened last year: A late fumble by A.J. Anderson near the middle of the field came back to bite Ryan as Rider came back for the 21-15 victory at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex. That was the game that snapped Ryan’s 25-game regular season win streak. The game occurred before future Ohio State bound quarterback J.T. Barrett went down with a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament tear. Ryan quarterback Mitchell Bridges missed the game with a broken fibula.
What to look forward to this year: This is going to be Ryan’s biggest test in nondistrict play. They shouldn’t have too many problems with Wylie East (who lost to Red Oak last week) and McKinney.
Rider will provide Ryan with enough problems to last the next three weeks. Rider is coming off a run to the Class 4A Division II state semifinals and will test the Raiders in the secondary, a spot of concern for Ryan. Rider wide receiver Davon Allison tied a school record with 266 receiving yards in last week’s win against Abilene Cooper.
He now shares the record with ’04 grad David Nelson, who played the last three seasons with the Buffalo Bills and was recently cut by the Cleveland Browns. Rider’s other main wide receiver, T.J. Vasher, is the nephew of Nathan Vasher, who played eight seasons in the NFL after a great career at Texas.
With the addition of former Lake Dallas standout Ronnie Coleman this year (Coleman transferred over the summer and was ruled eligible by the UIL before last Friday’s game), Ryan’s defensive back corps becomes much stronger. Coleman will be a hybrid linebacker in Ryan’s 4-2-5 defense and he knows what he’s doing in the secondary.
Not only is this going to be a big test for the Ryan secondary, it’ll be a big test for Ryan in general. If Coleman and Co. can can pick up a road win tonight, there’s a very good chance the Raiders could be 4-0 before District 5-5A opens against Flower Mound Marcus.
Key players for Rider: QB Chase London, WR Davon Allison, WR T.J. Vasher, RB Carlos Fleeks
Key players for Ryan: DB Xavier Gray, DB Paul Hunter, DB Ronnie Coleman, RB Tyrone Williams