Happy Thanksgiving week, y’all! With tomorrow being Turkey Day, I’m getting this short blog out a day earlier than normal. I hope you don’t mind.
So let’s get right down to it. Ryan travels to Abilene this week to take on Lubbock Monterey at Shotwell Stadium in a Class 5A Division I Region I semifinal. It’s the first meeting between the two schools, and a Ryan win would give the program 13 wins in back-to-back seasons. Monterey would love to spoil that opportunity while picking up a huge win over the No. 4 team in the state.
I ventured out to Ryan twice this week watch a little bit of practice, and at least from what I saw, the Raiders are itching to get back out on the field. I also took the time to chat with Ryan coach Dave Henigan and Monterey coach Wayne Hutchinson. All of that, including more reactions from players, will be in my game advance story in Friday’s Denton Record-Chronicle.
In the meantime, here’s what you need to know:
The Game: No. 4 Ryan (12-0) vs Lubbock Monterey (10-2), Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Shotwell Stadium in Abilene.
Series Record: This is the first meeting between the two schools.
What happened last week: Ryan beat Richland 34-13. Lubbock Monterey beat El Paso Eastlake 59-26 in its area-round game.
What to expect: I haven’t seen Lubbock Monterey play, but I believe a lot will hinge on what quarterback Jaron Jones can or cannot do against Ryan’s defense. Jones is a dual-threat guy and Henigan has already told me he’s one of the more explosive QB’s Ryan will see this season. That’s quite a compliment since Ryan has seen quarterbacks like Trevor Hatton in Lancaster, Kaleb Fletcher at Mesquite Poteet and Jason Shelley at Frisco Lone Star, to name a few. Then there’s the overall explosiveness Ryan possesses on offense. Henigan insists Ryan will have its hands full, but I think the same can be said for Monterey.
Final say: Lubbock Monterey is no slouch, but Ryan simply has too many weapons. I think the Raiders pick up their 13th win of the year and advance.
Prediction: Ryan 40, Lubbock Monterey 14.