What you need to know: Lubbock Monterey

Ryan senior running back Tyreke Davis (21) celebrates with junior quarterback Spencer Sanders (3) after he scores a touchdown at Northwest ISD Stadium, Friday, November 18, 2016, in Justin, Texas, Jeff Woo/DRC

Ryan senior running back Tyreke Davis (21) celebrates with junior quarterback Spencer Sanders (3) after he scores a touchdown at Northwest ISD Stadium, Friday, November 18, 2016, in Justin, Texas, Jeff Woo/DRC

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.

Weekend recap: And then there were two

Ryan senior running back Tyreke Davis (21) pushes through the Richland defense and scores a touchdown at Northwest ISD Stadium, Friday, November 18, 2016, in Justin, Texas, Jeff Woo/DRC

Ryan senior running back Tyreke Davis (21) pushes through the Richland defense and scores a touchdown at Northwest ISD Stadium, Friday, November 18, 2016, in Justin, Texas, Jeff Woo/DRC

And then there were two. It was a well-played and at the same time brutal second round of the playoffs for Denton-area teams. We went into the week with five teams, and only Ryan and Argyle survived to play another round.

Sit back and relax as my sidekick Adam Boedeker and I take a look back at what got us to this point.

Ryan vs Richland

SG: Ryan continues to be a statistical nightmare for opponents. Not only did Richland have to contend with the ever-present danger of Spencer Sanders being able to use his legs and rocket arm, but Tyreke Davis got into the action by spurring on a solid run game. Combine that with Sanders and the solid receiving night Tauskie Dove had, and Ryan rolled up over 500 total yards. I spoke to Davis after the game and he couldn’t have been more excited. The Raiders’ featured back from a year ago hasn’t been needed as much on that side of the ball and came into this game with just three rushing scores. He equaled that mark on a night where he piled up 170 rushing yards. Not too shabby. Next up is Lubbock Monterey at the old Shotwell Stadium in Abilene. This will be my first trip to Shotwell since 1997. P.S. The team I was there to cover that year won big. We’ll see what happens when the Raiders come to town.

AB: Ryan’s playoff road is going to get tougher with each passing week, and this game was a step in that direction. OK, I take that back, throw this next week’s game against Lubbock Monterey out of that equation, but after that it’s going to be harder each week. Richland showed some promise early in the game behind a surprisingly effective run game, but I imagine that had a lot to do with Ryan completely taking away Richland’s passing game — its bread and butter all season. I’ve been waiting for Ryan to demonstrate a running game to speak of other than Spencer Sanders, and they did it with an old familiar face in Tyreke Davis, whose 49-yard parting-of-the-Red-Sea scamper put Ryan on the board early in that game. He had a monster game on the ground and will need to have some more games like that down the road.

Guyer vs Cedar Hill

SG: Well, Adam, you called it. You said earlier this week that this matchup had the makings of an instant classic, and for the most part, it was. Guyer surprised many by jumping out to a huge lead … but as good as Guyer is, so is Cedar Hill. You had to know this would come down to the wire, and it did as Cedar Hill pulled off yet another second-half rally to bounce the Wildcats from the playoffs. It’s a shame Guyer’s season ends following a game in which it rushed for 239 yards and jumped out to a 21-7 lead at halftime. But the Wildcats were held to 30 yards over the final 24 minutes. That’s not going to win you very many games. The good news is coach John Walsh knows what he’s doing and he’ll have Guyer back and ready to go for next season. If nothing else, this loss will definitely light a fire.

AB: After the first quarter of this game, I thought Guyer was going to completely blow the doors off Cedar Hill in pretty stunning fashion, and I wasn’t the only one who thought that judging by reaction from Twitter’s #txhsfbmediamafia. At halftime, I still thought Guyer was going to win fairly easily despite neither team scoring in the second quarter. Then, the Wildcats were held to 30 yards of total offense — 30 yards! — in the second half. Credit the Longhorns’ defense for that, but there are some plays from that game that Guyer will be second-guessing itself on for a while, including a holding call that negated a Noah Cain touchdown run in the final minute of the first half that would’ve sent Guyer to halftime with a 28-7 lead. I can’t say enough about Guyer’s defense, which had played great all year with the exception of two games against arguably the two best teams in the state, Allen and DeSoto. Against a high-octane Cedar Hill offense, Guyer allowed two touchdowns and a field goal after the first minute of the game. That was good enough to win, it just didn’t work out for them.

Argyle vs Lubbock Estacado

SG: Everybody now … duh duh duh, another one bites the dust. Duh duh duh, another one bites the dust. And another one comes, and another one comes … OK, I’ll stop. But seriously, folks. Argyle had its way with Lubbock Estacado, 63-7. Scores like that shouldn’t really happen in the postseason, but occasionally they do when you run into a buzz saw such as the Eagles. It was a balanced attack, too, with 255 yards through the air and 217 on the ground. And from what I can tell, the Eagles were only penalized twice for 32 yards. Next up is longtime foe Abilene Wylie on Friday in Mineral Wells. This will likely be a tighter game as both teams know one another all too well.

AB: The Argyle playoff machine appears to be rolling full steam ahead now after a somewhat surprising first-round win given the fact it was relatively close for a while against a one-win team. This one was much different.  It was 49-0 at half before the Eagles eventually won 63-7. Next up? A much-anticipated clash with traditional rival Abilene Wylie — one that was supposed to take place in nondistrict but was canceled due to inclement weather. Wylie typically plays Argyle very close and tough, but Argyle finds a way to pull it out in the end. We’ll see if the Eagles can do it again.

Krum vs Sweetwater

SG: Ouch. I think it’s safe to say Sweetwater had revenge on its mind heading into Friday’s area-round game against the Bobcats. All of us in the office were expecting Krum to make a long run this year given all the talented senior leadership, and it’s honestly a shame the season had to end in this way. Sweetwater, after losing big to Krum last year, rebounded with a 40-14 win in the rematch. Krum fell behind 34-0 and that was by halftime. With all that being said, Krum coach Gary Robinson is a favorite of ours and we’re sure he will get his team back in the hunt next year. Krum is not that old of a program, and what most people may not realize is that the Bobcats have made the postseason every year they’ve been in existence. They won their first playoff game two years ago and nearly made it to the state tournament last year. Krum will be back, folks. And we can’t wait.

AB: This might be the most shocking result of the weekend for me. Krum came into this game looking every bit the part of a team that could make a really serious run into December behind its stellar rushing attack and suffocating defense along with tons of beef in the trenches. Instead, Sweetwater got sweet revenge with a 40-14 win over Krum after Krum’s 31-0 playoff victory over the Mustangs last year. Krum trailed 34-0 at halftime, as Sweetwater proved to be a really legitimate state contender in 4A Division II.

Aubrey vs Jasper

SG: Another team I expected would find a way to advance to the next round. Unfortunately for the Chaps, you don’t win many games when you turn the ball over and give up too many big plays. Jasper scored 21 points in the second quarter and intercepted Aubrey three times en route to what only amounted to a 14-point win. Take away one or two defensive mistakes, or a turnover, and things may have been different for Aubrey. It’s a frustrating way to end a season, but Aubrey coach Keith Ivy has a lot to be proud of. I’ve said it before, but this program was in rough shape just two seasons ago. Now they’ve made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons and were in contention for a district crown.

AB: Aubrey coach Keith Ivy had told me to beware of Jasper running back Decorrian Holmes, and the Chaparrals were able to keep him relatively quiet for much of Friday’s game against Jasper — a game the Chaps led 7-0 after the first quarter.  Aubrey eventually trailed 21-7 at halftime before tying the game at 21-21 in the third quarter behind another rushing effort from sophomore Gatlin Grisso. Then, Holmes exploded, returning a kickoff 80 yards and then rushing for a fourth-quarter touchdown to put the nail in Aubrey’s proverbial coffin.

 

 

 

What you need to know: Richland

Ryan head coach Dave Henigan celebrates his team's victory after the game at C.H. Collin Athletic Complex, Friday, September 16, 2016, in Denton, Texas, Jeff Woo/DRC

Ryan head coach Dave Henigan celebrates his team’s victory after the game at C.H. Collin Athletic Complex, Friday, September 16, 2016, in Denton, Texas, Jeff Woo/DRC

Ryan’s postseason road just got a bit more interesting as it readies to face Richland tomorrow in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs. The Raiders are easily one of the favorites to compete for a state title in Division I, and a favorite in this game, too. But Richland is no slouch.

Like Ryan, Richland (10-1) has been beating up on opponents, so this is a chance to see one of the better teams in the Dallas-Fort Worth area go toe-to-toe with state-ranked Ryan. What will happen? I don’t know. But it will be fun to watch.

Same drill, folks. I’ve got a game advance story coming out tomorrow. But in the meantime, here are some things you need to know.

The Game: No. 4 Ryan (11-0) vs Richland (10-1), Friday, 7 p.m. at Northwest ISD Stadium.

Series Record: Ryan is 4-0 all time against Richland. The last meeting between these two programs was in 2005.

What happened last week: Ryan beat Fort Worth Brewer 54-13. Richland started slow before beating previously-unbeaten Fort Worth South Hills, 42-35.

What to expect: A good game. Richland can put points on the scoreboard thanks to a solid quarterback in Trae Self and a dominant receiver in Landon Le. I expect this game to be a bit different early on as both teams try to figure each other out. Ryan quarterback Spencer Sanders hasn’t needed to use his legs much over the last month or so, but that may change Friday. If so, look out.

Final say: Ryan is built for a long playoff run, and though I think very highly of Richland, I would be surprised if the Rebels leave Northwest ISD Stadium with a win. But that’s why it’s called Texas High School Football, folks, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this one plays out.

Prediction: Ryan 48, Richland 24

What you need to know: Fort Worth Brewer

Denton Ryan players run onto the field before a high school football game between Frisco Lone Star and Denton Ryan at C. H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton, Texas Friday September 16, 2016. (Andy Jacobsohn/The Dallas Morning News)

Denton Ryan players run onto the field before a high school football game between Frisco Lone Star and Denton Ryan at C. H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton, Texas Friday September 16, 2016. (Andy Jacobsohn/The Dallas Morning News)

It’s playoff time, folks. Ryan will open the Class 5A Division I Region I playoffs with a trip to Fort Worth Brewer tomorrow night. Why at Brewer? Well, it came down to coin flips and Ryan lost the coin flips. Plain and simple. Why on a Thursday night? Well, that’s the way it worked out. Plus, I have to believe that would work in Ryan’s favor to have an extra day of preparation for Round 2.

Same drill, folks. I’ve got a game advance story coming out tomorrow. But in the meantime, here are some things you need to know.

The Game: No. 4 Ryan (10-0) at Fort Worth Brewer (4-6), Thursday, 7 p.m. at Brewer Stadium in White Settlement.

Series Record: This is the first meeting between the two programs.

What happened last week: Ryan beat Wichita Falls Rider 38-14. Brewer handily beat Haslet Eaton 48-14.

What to expect: Ryan would never want to get caught looking too far ahead, but this should be an easy first-round matchup in comparison to what the Raiders have coming up in the next few weeks. My understanding is the Brewer defense does a ton of blitzing and man coverage, so expect lots of that early on. Ryan has had a tendency to jump out on opponents quick, and that should continue this week.

Final say: Ryan is built for a long playoff run, and unlike last year, everyone and their momma expects it. I think Ryan wins this one handily.

Prediction: Ryan 45, Fort Worth Brewer 13.

Ryan, Argyle stand firm in final AP poll

Denton Ryan defensive tackle Ernest Brown IV (99) follows Frisco Lone Star quarterback Jason Shelley (18) in the first half during a high school football game between Frisco Lone Star and Denton Ryan at C. H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton, Texas Friday September 16, 2016. (Andy Jacobsohn/The Dallas Morning News)

Denton Ryan defensive tackle Ernest Brown IV (99) follows Frisco Lone Star quarterback Jason Shelley (18) in the first half during a high school football game between Frisco Lone Star and Denton Ryan at C. H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton, Texas Friday September 16, 2016. (Andy Jacobsohn/The Dallas Morning News)

The final Associated Press state poll is out, and there are no changes for two of the top teams in the state. Ryan is still the No. 4 team in Class 5A while Argyle remained the No. 2 team in Class 4A. Both Krum and Denton remained in the “others receiving votes category.”

Here is the final poll, in all its glory.

Class 6A
School Record Total Points Prv
1. Allen (21) (10-0) 226 1
2. DeSoto (2) (10-0) 206 2
3. Lake Travis (9-1) 173 3
4. The Woodlands (10-0) 155 4
5. Cibolo Steele (9-1) 136 5
6. San Angelo Central (10-0) 100 7
(tie)Galena Park North Shore (9-1) 100 6
8. Southlake Carroll (9-1) 67 8
9. Round Rock Cedar Ridge (10-0) 54 9
10. Cedar Hill (8-2) 22 10

Others receiving votes: 11, Fort Bend Ridge Point 7. 12, Katy 6. 13, Austin Westlake 3. 14, Klein Collins 2. 14, Mansfield 2. 14, Smithson Valley 2. 14, Tyler 2.

Class 5A
School Record Total Points Prv
1. Aledo (12) (10-0) 215 1
2. Cedar Park (5) (10-0) 201 2
3. Manvel (3) (10-0) 188 3
4. Denton Ryan (3) (10-0) 175 4
5. Richmond Foster (10-0) 136 5
6. Lancaster (9-1) 99 6
7. College Station (10-0) 92 7
8. Texarkana Texas (10-0) 71 8
9. Frisco Lone Star (9-1) 48 9
10. CC Calallen (9-1) 24 NR

Others receiving votes: 11, Mansfield Legacy 5. 12, Grapevine 4. 13, Dallas Highland Park 3. 14, Denton 2. 15, Temple 1. 15, N. Richland Hills 1.

Class 4A
School Record Total Points Prv
1. West Orange-Stark (16) (10-0) 222 1
2. Argyle (3) (9-0) 191 2
3. Waco La Vega (3) (10-0) 188 3
4. Cuero (1) (10-0) 166 4
5. Geronimo Navarro (9-0) 130 5
6. China Spring (9-1) 112 6
7. Gilmer (9-1) 93 7
8. El Campo (10-0) 65 10
9. Abilene Wylie (7-1) 63 9
10. Henderson (9-1) 16 NR

Others receiving votes: 11, Van 8. 12, Celina 6. 13, Stafford 3. 14, Krum 2.

Class 3A
School Record Total Points Prv
1. Brock (20) (10-0) 227 1
2. Newton (3) (10-0) 207 2
3. Malakoff (10-0) 184 3
4. Sunnyvale (10-0) 161 4
5. Hallettsville (10-0) 117 5
6. Rockdale (9-1) 105 6
7. Cisco (8-1) 81 7
8. Canadian (8-2) 61 8
9. East Bernard (9-1) 40 9
10. Elysian Fields 10-0) 22 NR

Others receiving votes: 11, Franklin 15. 12, Cameron Yoe 13. 13, Mineola 9. 14, Crockett 7. 15, Gunter 5. 16, Sonora 4. 16, George West 4. 18, White Oak 2. 19, Teague 1.

Class 2A
School Record Total Points Prv
1. Bremond (15) (10-0) 199 1
2. Refugio (5) (9-1) 181 3
3. Iraan (1) (10-0) 179 2
4. Mart (10-0) 152 4
5. Tenaha (10-0) 141 5
6. Stratford (9-1) 90 6
7. Albany (9-1) 88 7
8. Muenster (9-1) 61 9
9. Crawford (9-1) 51 NR
10. Price Carlisle (9-1) 18 8

Others receiving votes: 11, Mason 17. 12, Brackettville 10. 13, Groveton 7. 14, Malakoff 6. 15, Burton 3. 15, Wellington 3. 17, Shiner 2. 18, Munday 1. 18, Bosqueville 1.

 

Weekend recap: We’re on to the postseason

Denton Ryan players run onto the field before a high school football game between Frisco Lone Star and Denton Ryan at C. H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton, Texas Friday September 16, 2016. (Andy Jacobsohn/The Dallas Morning News)

Denton Ryan players run onto the field before a high school football game between Frisco Lone Star and Denton Ryan at C. H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton, Texas Friday September 16, 2016. (Andy Jacobsohn/The Dallas Morning News)

Playoffs baby! I’m sure we can all agree it’s been a rather quick regular season, and an exciting one at that. But now it’s time to move on to the Main Event – the 2016 postseason.

So sit back and enjoy as my sidekick Adam Boedeker and I take a look back at what got us to this point.

Ryan at Wichita Falls Rider

SG: I think everyone expected Ryan to be exactly where it is right now heading into the playoffs – unbeaten and the top seed in Division I. Now the only question left is can the Raiders live up to all the hype and take their hot winning streak all the way through the state championship game? Thursday’s first round game at Fort Worth Brewer looks to be a cake walk, but after that the playoff road gets tough as they’ll likely face Richland followed in order (my opinion) by Amarillo, Colleyville Heritage and either Highland Park or Mansfield Lake Ridge before they can play in the title game. That’s just my opinion on the playoff road, so take it with a grain of salt. Regardless, the Raiders have to get there first.

AB: For six weeks now, Ryan has gone without a real test, and judging by score alone this was its biggest one. I’m sure there were other factors involved in that score, and whether anyone would admit it, I’m betting some of it had to do with looking ahead to the postseason. It’s OK and it’s understandable. Ryan simply hasn’t been tested in a while, and the Raiders won’t be any time real soon either. The machine is going to keep rolling along for a few more weeks before things get real in Round 4. At some point, Ryan is going to be tested, and you hope it won’t stun them when they are.

Guyer vs Plano West

SG: Guyer won Friday – easily I might add — but I can’t take my mind off the news that running back Myron Mason dislocated his elbow in a freak pregame mishap and will be out of action several weeks at best. That’s a huge blow to a Wildcat offense that, really, has been able to bull its way over opponents with a powerful run game. It will be interesting to see what Guyer does going forward, but head coach John Walsh still has plenty of bullets in the arsenal with Christian Moore, quarterback Luke Stillwell and, of course, Noah Cain. Guyer opens the playoffs against Trophy Club Nelson.

AB: Like most games this season, Guyer’s defense was dominant in the Wildcats’ regular-season ending win over Plano West. Through 10 regular-season games, they allowed 20.5 points per game, but if you take out two losses to the top two teams in the state Class 6A poll (Allen and DeSoto), that number drops to a staggering 11.2 points per game. The worst part of this game for Guyer was what happened before it when a freak accident saw star running back Myron Mason suffer a break and dislocation in his elbow. Christian Moore filled in admirably with over 100 total yards and a touchdown, and Noah Cain did his usual Noah Cain things. It’ll be interesting to see how Guyer’s offense looks with a full week of practice with Moore in Mason’s spot. I don’t expect much drop-off, if any at all, as Moore is basically a $1 million insurance policy most teams don’t have.

Denton vs Braswell

SG: This game went about as well as anyone would have expected. Denton’s lone loss in district came at the hands of Ryan, which means it will face Justin Northwest in the first round. The good news is Denton will get Northwest at home, but this is a really tough first round matchup. Northwest is a really good team this year and is certainly tested coming out of a district that includes Aledo. Denton is no slouch, but it will be interesting to see what happens. As for Braswell, the pains of this season are finally over and the Bengals’ coaching staff can start molding this team during a true offseason. Big things are ahead for the Bengals.

AB: Denton finished up its fine-tuning for the postseason with a unique game against Braswell, where several of the Bengals’ players were formerly part of Denton’s program before Braswell opened in August. The Bengals saw their season come to an end with an 0-10 record but gradually saw improvements across the board heading into their first true offseason. Denton, on the other hand, is 9-1 and in a rare first-round playoff matchup up 9-1 teams as the Broncos prepare to take on Justin Northwest. It’s sure to be one of the best first-round games in 5A.

Lake Dallas vs Prosper

SG: I have a ton of respect for Lake Dallas and its coach, Michael Young. But most people may have thought this was a loss for the Falcons coming into the game. In fact, with a playoff berth completely out of the equation, even I figured with Prosper’s unbeaten district record that it was a foregone conclusion the Falcons would lose. That didn’t happen, though, and it’s a sign of some great things to come for a program that for all intents and purposes was extremely young following last year’s magical ride to the state semifinals. Young’s squad should not be counted out going forward.

AB: This year didn’t go as the Falcons and head coach Michael Young planned. Lake Dallas battled the injury bug all year and were simply outmanned at some spots on the field, and last week, the Falcons were officially eliminated from postseason contention. That meant they were playing for one thing on Friday, and they sure did get a lot it — pride. The Falcons beat the previously unbeaten-in-district-play Prosper Eagles with a last-minute touchdown run from senior Brendan Contreras. The game also saw the return to action for senior quarterback Spencer Frederickson, who spent most of the season on the sideline due to injury.

Argyle vs Burkburnett

SG: We keep talking about Argyle each week because, well, the Eagles are the No. 2 team in Class 4A. Plus, they just have so many weapons that, just like Ryan, we expect another long playoff run. So can you really blame us? Argyle will face a one-win team in Snyder in the first round, and after that will do a ton of travelling as it attempts to make it back to its fourth-straight state title game. Right now, I think they have all the ingredients – namely a solid dual-threat QB and a running back in Don Williams who has become a lights-out option on offense.

AB: A big second quarter was kickstarted by a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown by Slater Wright, and Argyle ended up rolling to another home win against an overmatched Burkburnett team. Don Williams rushed for four touchdowns and Dane Ledford threw for 273 yards and two scores, and now comes the postseason. The Eagles open things up against a Snyder team with one — yes, ONE — win, like on the season. That’s really happening.

Liberty Christian at Fort Worth Nolan

SG: Liberty is on a roll right now after booting a field goal in the waning seconds to knock off Nolan Catholic. That’s four-straight wins for the Warriors, who enter the postseason against a familiar district foe in Bishop Dunne. Liberty beat Dunne two weeks ago, but if that’s going to happen again, the Warriors may have to do it without starting quarterback Jon Copeland. Copeland was hit hard late in Friday’s win and, according to head coach Barton Hundley, is day to day.

AB: The Warriors are going into the postseason on a high note after pulling out a dramatic win over rival Fort Worth Nolan on Friday. And it was all thanks to the foot of Cameron Baller, who on Friday night was, well, a baller. His 26-yard field goal as time expired in the fourth quarter broke a scoreless fourth-quarter tie and gave Liberty Christian a win heading into the playoffs. Now, they’ll await the status of star quarterback Jon Copeland, who accounted for almost 300 yards and threw three touchdown passes before leaving with an undisclosed injury.

 

What you need to know: Wichita Falls Rider

Denton Ryan players run onto the field before a high school football game between Frisco Lone Star and Denton Ryan at C. H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton, Texas Friday September 16, 2016. (Andy Jacobsohn/The Dallas Morning News)

Denton Ryan players run onto the field before a high school football game between Frisco Lone Star and Denton Ryan at C. H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton, Texas Friday September 16, 2016. (Andy Jacobsohn/The Dallas Morning News)

Ryan’s playoff fate is set. The Raiders will face either Fort Worth Brewer or Haslet Eaton in the first round next week. BUT … Friday’s regular season finale at Wichita Falls Rider carries with it a ton of significance.

For starters, it’s chance for Ryan to go 10-0 for a second-straight regular season. That’s not easy to do. Also, Ryan can claim the outright District 5-5A title with a win. Currently, the Raiders are one game ahead of Denton in the standings.

Same drill, folks. I’ve got a game advance story coming out tomorrow. But in the meantime, here are some things you need to know.

The Game: No. 4 Ryan (9-0, 5-0) vs Wichita Falls Rider (4-5, 3-2), Friday, 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls.

Series Record: Ryan is 9-4 all time against Wichita Falls Rider. This is the first meeting between the two programs since 2013.

What happened last week: Ryan beat Denison, 41-14. Rider beat Braswell, 57-27.

What to expect: Rider is one of those programs that, at least traditionally, has given the Raiders fits — the all-time series is at 9-4. Ryan players and coaches stressed that they won’t be overlooking Rider this week, but it’s safe to say this is a down year for Rider despite its playoff fate still hanging in the balance. Meanwhile, Ryan is one of the best in the state. Rider should come out swinging, but expect Ryan to try to score quick and put the game on ice.

Final say: This is by far a meaningless game for Ryan, especially with the chance to match a rare mark while capturing the district title outright. Ryan hasn’t allowed more than 14 points in any district game thus far, and I don’t see that happening this week as well. Ryan’s offense will score quick en route to another big win.

Prediction: Ryan 50, Wichita Falls Rider 14.

AP Poll: No change for area teams

Ryan defenders Delano Robinson (10), Randy Gray (1) and Ra’Heem Shaw (25) gang tackle DeCurious Smith (7) during their game against Denison at C.H. Collins Thursday October 27, 2016, in Denton, Tx. Al Key/For the DRC

Ryan defenders Delano Robinson (10), Randy Gray (1) and Ra’Heem Shaw (25) gang tackle DeCurious Smith (7) during their game against Denison at C.H. Collins Thursday October 27, 2016, in Denton, Tx. Al Key/For the DRC

The latest Associated Press state poll is out. Ryan is still No. 4 in Class 5A and Argyle is sitting pretty at No. 2 in Class 4A. The only change of note is that Denton is sitting at No. 15 in 5A while Krum made it into the “others receiving votes” category in Class 4A. I’m thinking Krum should have been on here earlier than now. The Bobcats are pretty good y’all.

Class 6A
School Total Points Prv
1. Allen (23) (9-0) 246 1
2. DeSoto (2) (9-0) 225 2
3. Lake Travis (8-1) 188 3
4. The Woodlands (9-0) 167 4
5. Cibolo Steele (8-1) 147 5
6. Galena Park North Shore (8-1) 106 6
7. San Angelo Central (9-0) 102 7
8. Southlake Carroll (8-1) 75 9
9. Round Rock Cedar Ridge (9-0) 52 10
10. Cedar Hill (7-2) 21 NR

Others receiving votes: 11, Katy 8. 12, Austin Westlake 7. 13, Klein Collins 6. 13, Fort Bend Ridge Point 6. 15, Converse Judson 4. 15, Tyler 4. 17, Smithson Valley 3. 17, Alief Taylor 3. 17, San Benito 3. 20, Mansfield 2.

Class 5A
School Total Points Prv
1. Aledo (12) (9-0) 233 1
2. Cedar Park (6) (9-0) 216 2
3. Manvel (4) (9-0) 207 3
4. Denton Ryan (3) (9-0) 189 4
5. Richmond Foster (9-0) 149 5
6. Lancaster (8-1) 107 6
7. College Station (10-0) 98 7
8. Texarkana Texas (9-0) 72 8
9. Frisco Lone Star (8-1) 46 9
10. Dallas Highland Park (8-1) 34 10

Others receiving votes: 11, Port Arthur Memorial 8. 12, CC Calallen 7. 13, N. Richland Hills 4. 14, Mansfield Legacy 3. 15, Denton 2.

Class 4A
School Total Points Prv
1. West Orange-Stark (18) (9-0) 242 1
2. Argyle (3) (8-0) 214 2
3. Waco La Vega (3) (9-0) 201 3
4. Cuero (1) (9-0) 176 4
5. Geronimo Navarro (9-0) 133 5
6. China Spring (8-1) 111 6
7. Gilmer (8-1) 91 7
8. Van (9-0) 72 9
9. Abilene Wylie (6-1) 65 8
10. El Campo (9-0) 53 10

Others receiving votes: 11, Celina 8. 12, Henderson 7. 13, Krum 1. 13, Gladewater 1.

Class 3A
School Total Points Prv
1. Brock (20) (9-0) 245 1
2. Newton (5) (9-0) 227 2
3. Malakoff (9-0) 199 3
4. Sunnyvale (9-0) 176 4
5. Hallettsville (9-0) 128 7
6. Rockdale (8-1) 104 10
7. Cisco (7-1) 97 8
8. Canadian (7-2) 68 9
9. East Bernard (8-1) 22 NR
(tie)Franklin (7-2) 22 6
(tie)White Oak (8-1) 22 NR

Others receiving votes: 12, Elysian Fields 14. 12, Cameron Yoe 14. 14, Mineola 9. 15, Crockett 8. 16, Gunter 5. 16, Pottsboro 5. 18, Sonora 4. 19, George West 2. 19, Eastland 2. 21, Odem 1. 21, Teague 1.

Class 2A
School Total Points Prv
1. Bremond (18) (9-0) 239 1
2. Iraan (2) (9-0) 205 2
3. Refugio (5) (8-1) 201 3
4. Mart (9-0) 181 4
5. Tenaha (9-0) 158 5
6. Stratford (8-1) 96 6
7. Albany (8-1) 90 7
8. Price Carlisle (9-0) 78 8
9. Muenster (8-1) 58 9
10. Shiner (7-2) 20 NR

Others receiving votes: 11, Crawford 17. 12, Lovelady 15. 13, Mason 13. 14, Burton 3. 15, Wellington 1.

Weekend recap: Playoffs on the horizon

Ryan quarterback Spencer Sanders (3) goes airborne to hurdle Denison defender Ty McFail (28) for the Raiders third score during their game at C.H. Collins Thursday October 27, 2016, in Denton, Tx. Al Key/For the DRC

Ryan quarterback Spencer Sanders (3) goes airborne to hurdle Denison defender Ty McFail (28) for the Raiders third score during their game at C.H. Collins Thursday October 27, 2016, in Denton, Tx. Al Key/For the DRC

Welp, we are finally into the final week of the regular season. There have been surprises along the way, but for the most part Denton-area teams are playing about the way we expected before the season started. It certainly is a fun job we have covering this area, and now most of them can start looking toward the playoffs … after this last week, of course.

So sit back and enjoy as my sidekick Adam Boedeker and I take a look back at the week that was.

Denison at Ryan

SG: Of all the one-sided games I’ve seen lately from Ryan, this one was the most intriguing. I know Denison lost, and it also lost to Denton by one point, but I saw enough to say Denison is a quality team. Unfortunately for them, the Yellow Jackets’ best still amounted to a 27-point loss to the Raiders. Ryan – which has a chance to go 10-0 next week at Wichita Falls Rider — needed to overcome some late-season adversity, so as frustrating as all the penalties were (180 yards), this was a nice little test as the Raiders gear up for the postseason. And it looks like they’ll either face Northwest Eaton or Fort Worth Brewer in the first round.

AB: Got my first taste of Ryan on Thursday night when I stopped by to watch the first half (and let’s be real, eat dinner in the press box), and I walked away impressed (and full). Ryan’s defense is so, so fast and so, so physical and made the second- or third-best team in their district look pretty pedestrian. And yeah, that Raiders’ defense gets a lot of the headlines but the offense with Spencer Sanders at the helm is super explosive. The junior threw for five touchdowns and rushed for another with an athletic punctuation at the end in the form of a highlight-reel hurdle of a poor Denison defender. Nineteen penalties for 180 yards was a bit of a surprise to see from such a good team, including several as the result of after-the-play shenanigans, but those coaches are top-notch and will get that fixed before games start counting for Ryan again.

Guyer at McKinney Boyd

SG: Like John Walsh said, any time you can shutout a team in Class 6A, that’s good football. Guyer has now won two in a row since its ugly loss to Allen and returned the favor to Boyd by outgaining them 446-111. The Wildcats dodged a bullet a few weeks ago when starting quarterback Luke Stillwell got hurt, but in playing roughly 40 percent of the snaps after missing a week, it seems like he is ready to go. Guyer will finish the regular season at home against Plano West and then will prepare for the playoffs against either Euless Trinity or Trophy Club Nelson. I’m voting for a match up with Trinity, but either one would be a great matchup.

AB: Guyer got out to a pretty quick 14-0 first-quarter lead before some hiccups in the second quarter kept McKinney Boyd within striking distance at halftime — a surprise in itself. In the third quarter, Guyer quickly reminded everyone who the far superior team was in this matchup. The Wildcats got a safety and a big defensive touchdown on a 40-yard interception return TD from Christian Moore, as well as a solid return to action for junior quarterback Luke Stillwell, who played about 40 percent of the snaps at quarterback and will return to full duty next week. The end result? The first shutout in quite some time for Guyer, and if I’m not crazy, the first in program history (though I probably am crazy). Boyd was incredibly vanilla offensively, but a shutout in 6A is a good defensive performance especially considering the playmaking running back Boyd had in Kaeden Markham.

Wichita Falls Rider at Braswell

SG: Braswell may not be winning ball games, but it is becoming increasingly productive on offense. The Bengals have scored 47 points over the last two weeks after scoring a combined 38 points in their first seven games. What’s more, they racked up nearly 300 yards of offense against Rider. I know it may not seem like much for a 0-9 team, but Cody Moore is an offensive-minded coach and he knows how to put his teams in a position to win. It’s been a rough first year for sure, but those wins will start flowing in at some point for Braswell.

AB: Baby steps are a key to any program’s development, and the Bengals are making those with each passing week. I told myself I would quit trying to pump out all happy and shiny positive vibes when talking about Braswell every week, but they’re actually showing a lot of good things. Against a traditionally strong (albeit down this year) Rider program, Braswell scored in each quarter and had 22 first downs while Ki’Andre Jackson neared the 100-yard mark on the ground and Palmer Campbell threw for 158 yards with no picks. The Bengals won’t win a game this year, which is pretty much what we all expected given their unusual circumstances for starting a program, but they’re coming away with smaller victories each week and laying a solid foundation.

Argyle at Wichita Falls Hirschi

SG: Argyle appears to be racking up a ton of penalty yards, and that’s a problem that should not go uncorrected. However, the Eagles continue to be too much for any opponent to handle and that proves just how good Argyle is and how likely they are to compete for a state crown. Hirschi was held to under 100 passing yards and still lost by 33 points despite Argyle having to kick four field goals. Dane Ledford is a freaking man among boys right now.

AB: It took Argyle a while, but the Eagles eventually found their second gear and pulled away from a surprisingly competitive Hirschi team after letting the Huskies hang around. Four of Argyle’s first five scores came on Dylan Sadler field goals and the game was close until the Eagles outscored Hirschi 20-0 in the fourth quarter to pull away. Argyle grinded its way to a win with 290 yards on the ground while Dane Ledford threw for juts 113 yards, but that’s kind of what this Argyle team has become and the Eagles have won with that style before.

Melissa at Aubrey

SG: Let me just say this … Aubrey will battle Celina for a district title later this week. Let that soak in. It wasn’t that long ago that Aubrey was a struggling program that could barely win one game a season. They’ve clearly used last year’s playoff run as a launching pad for this year’s unbeaten run in district. The Chaps are clearly playoff bound, and a win over Celina would be a game changer. We see you, Aubrey. And everyone else better pay attention, too.

AB: The Chaparrals appear to be one of those teams getting hot at the right time and that continued on Friday night as they came out of the gates and took a 21-0 lead after the first quarter against a good Melissa squad. Of course, Aubrey let Melissa score 21 of its own in the second quarter but the Chaps pulled away behind their stellar running game racked up 336 yards behind two 100-yard rushers in Gatlin Grisso and Pablo Vera. Next up? A battle for the district title with powerhouse Celina.

Bishop Dunne at Liberty Christian

SG: I’m just all about throwing out compliments today, so here’s another one. I think Liberty Christian is easily THE most improved team in the Denton area since district play started. This is a team that returned just two starters from last year and started 0-4. If you really want to get technical, the Warriors were 1-5 at one point this season. But they’re playoff bound thanks to their recent 3-0 run that includes wins over Trinity Christian-Addison, Bishop Lynch and Bishop Dunne. Oh, and Jon Copeland. Dude may not have Division I height, but he’s a baller.

AB: This game featured a nice effort from Liberty quarterback Jon Copeland, a big night for receiver Cole Croce and a few key defensive stands from the Warriors’ defense to hold on it the Warriors’ third straight win to improve to 4-2 in district play. A tough nondistrict schedule and arguably the toughest TAPPS district in the state might just have this youthful team ready for a deep postseason run.

 

What you need to know: Denison

Denton Ryan quarterback Spencer Sanders (3) throws the ball in the first quarter during a high school football game between Frisco Lone Star and Denton Ryan at C. H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton, Texas Friday September 16, 2016. (Andy Jacobsohn/The Dallas Morning News)

Denton Ryan quarterback Spencer Sanders (3) throws the ball in the first quarter during a high school football game between Frisco Lone Star and Denton Ryan at C. H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton, Texas Friday September 16, 2016. (Andy Jacobsohn/The Dallas Morning News)

Ryan has a quick turnaround from last week as it readies to take on Denison in a Thursday game with district title implications.

For Ryan, a win claims a share of the District 5-5A crown and sets up a chance for the outright title next week at Wichita Falls Rider. A loss creates a nifty little mess atop the standings as both Denison and Denton come into the week trailing the Raiders by one game in the standings.

Same drill, folks. I’ve got a game advance story coming out tomorrow. But in the meantime, here are some things you need to know.

The Game: No. 4 Ryan (8-0, 4-0) vs Denison (4-4, 3-1), Friday, 7 p.m. at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex.

Series Record: Ryan is 3-1 all time against Denison. This is the first meeting between the two programs since 2007.

What happened last week: Ryan dismantled Wichita Falls, 56-14. Denison blew past Braswell, 49-20.

What to expect: Denison obviously helps its playoff chances immensely with a win. so expect this team to come ready to knock Ryan from its perch. With that being said, Ryan’s defense has played near flawless, and the offense has scored over 50 points in each of the last two games. Expect the fast start to continue against a Denison defense that gives up plenty of points.

Final say: If the Raiders win this one, they have a chance to go for 10-0 next week at Wichita Falls Rider. For the seniors, this is their last regular season home game. I think that’s more than enough ammunition to keep Ryan focused moving into the final two weeks of the regular season.

Prediction: Ryan 50, Denison 14.