Top 5 games of 2013: No. 1 — Ryan vs. Keller Fossil Ridge, football

Trent Willis and the Ryan Raiders pulled off a 31-point comeback against Keller Fossil Ridge in the year's top game. (David Minton/Denton Record-Chronicle)

It may be the last day of 2013, but Ryan’s Class 5A Division II semifinal against Keller Fossil Ridge will be remembered by many long after another year ticks off the calendar.

If you were at this game – and didn’t leave after halftime – then you witnessed the best game in 2013.

For the last four days, I’ve counted down the top five contests of 2013. We’ve had great state championship games, thrilling playoff contests and crosstown rivalries, but nothing could top Ryan and Fossil Ridge’s unforgettable game.

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What you need to know: Heritage

Running back Demarco Corbin and Colleyville Heritage square off against Ryan in the 5A Division Region I bi-district round. (Kelly Chinn/Special Contributor)

Thanksgiving isn’t for another two weeks and Christmas is 40 days away, but the most wonderful time of the year begins this weekend.

That’s right. It’s the start of the Texas high school football playoffs, where players, coaches and teams establish their legacies.

Ryan has made the playoffs for the 14th straight season and opens the postseason tomorrow night against Colleyville Heritage (full disclosure: Heritage is my alma mater).

Let’s take a look at tonight’s bi-district matchup.

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What you need to know: Flower Mound

Ryan tries to end the regular season on a positive note when it faces Flower Mound on Friday night. (Maegan Puetz/Special Contributor)

Ah, we’re almost there.

It’s Week 10, and Ryan’s already headed to the playoffs, regardless of what happens against Flower Mound on Friday night.

Ryan isn’t resting just yet. The Raiders will look to avoid back-to-back losses when it hosts the Jaguars in the final game of the regular season.

Like I said, we’re almost there. Here’s what you need to know about Flower Mound.

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Weekend Recap: Guyer, Denton, Argyle cruise

Guyer notched a 66-3 victory against rivals Lake Dallas last weekend in one of the weekend's lopsided victories. (David Minton/Denton Record-Chronicle)

The closer the calendar shifts to November, the clearer district races are starting to look. Across the area, things are starting to shape up how we thought they would when the season started.

For another week, Guyer and Argyle played up to their lofty state rankings, while Ryan lost its first game of the season and Sanger’s winning streak was halted in a big District 9-3A contest. It’s Monday, so that means Adam Boedeker and I break down last weekend’s action.

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What you need to know: Wylie East

Ryan senior Xavier Gray and the rest of the Raiders will look to avenge a 2012 loss to Wylie East. (David Minton/DRC)

Remember last week when I said the starters weren’t going to be resting in the third quarter against Wichita Falls Rider?

Yeah, that turned out to be completely wrong.

The Ryan Raiders have steamrolled Corsicana and Rider in the season’s first two games. The only thing stopping Ryan from its first three-game winning streak since 2011 are the Wylie East Raiders.

Ryan enters Friday night’s matchup looking to avenge last season’s three-point loss to Wylie East last season.

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What you need to know: W.F. Rider

Ryan and RB Tyrone Williams travel to face Wichita Falls Rider tonight in what might be Ryan's toughest test in nondistrict play. (David Minton/DRC)

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.

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What you need to know: Ryan vs. Corsicana (UPDATED WITH VIDEO)

Ryan senior quarterback Mitchell Bridges leads the Raiders into Corsicana to start the season tomorrow night. (David Minton/Denton Record-Chronicle)

Ah, yes. The first week of the season. After weeks of practice in the blistering Texas heat, the first week of the season (which for some reason is called Zero Week) is finally here.

Ryan faces Corsicana on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at Tiger Stadium. Here’s a quick synopsis on tomorrow night’s game.

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Ryan’s starting quarterback tomorrow is… Kevin Ray

Ryan junior quarterback Mitchell Bridges will be out with a right knee injury, and senior Kevin Ray will fill in for the Raiders when it faces Coppell on Friday at 7 p.m. at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex. (David Minton/DRC)

To make matters much more difficult for the Raiders today against Coppell, Ryan will be starting fourth-string quarterback Kevin Ray against one of the best defenses in the state.

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Ryan’s Bridges fractures fibula, out indefinitely

Ryan will have a new starting quarterback going into tomorrow’s game against Wichita Falls Rider.

Preston Compton will take over for Mitchell Bridges. Bridges started his first game last Friday against Corsicana and fractured his fibula in the second quarter of the game.

He didn’t realize it was fractured until Monday. He said he’ll be week-to-week with the injury, and he’ll play depending on how much pain he feels up to that week. Bridges said on Thursday he will not be having surgery on the ankle.

Last year, Bridges played with a torn shoulder labrum for most of the season, so he’s no stranger to playing through pain. Last week against Corsicana, Bridges completed 16 of 20 passes for 179 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Bridges also had 25 carries for 98 yards and two touchdowns.

Compton played one series last week, and went 2-for-2 with no yards. Ryan’s offense was held to a three-and-out on the possession. Florence said he would have put Compton in for a series in the second half, but since Bridges was playing so well, he opted against it.

Compton is a move-in from Southlake Carroll, and he made some strong throws against Grapevine in Ryan’s last preseason scrimmage. Compton has a solid arm and can run the ball fairly effectively.

If you’re wondering what he plays like, it looks as if somebody’s been putting together a highlight reel from his JV days. So if that’s something you might be interested in (yes, that’s an Entourage reference), here’s the video.

 

Monday’s Notes: 2 Chainz and Joey Florence

Sorry we’ve been away for so long. For the last two weeks, the entire sports staff has been consumed by our 2012 Football magazine, which has darn good coverage on all 12 of our area high schools and on North Texas. It’s coming out on Thursday, so be looking out for that.

Last Friday, Ryan scrimmaged Grapevine in its final tune-up before this Friday’s game against Corsicana. The Raiders “won” 21-3, but nobody really cares about the final score in a scrimmage. Still, there a few things worth mentioning coming out of the scrimmage.

1. Preston Compton made a case for playing time

Ryan junior back-up quarterback Preston Compton moved to Denton from Southlake over the summer, and he looked pretty good against Grapevine. Compton had a gorgeous 70-yard pass down the field to a receiver who had burned Grapevine’s secondary and was tackled at the goal line. Compton made strong throws, ran a little bit, and showed he’ll definitely have something to offer this season. Ryan head coach Joey Florence said Compton will play some this season, but the head coach also said with resolute confidence that Mitchell Bridges is going to be Ryan’s starter.

2. Ryan must force more turnovers

If there’s one thing Florence wasn’t necessarily pleased with on Friday, it was the turnover margin. In other words, the ratio of turnovers Ryan forced compared to how many turnovers Ryan committed. Ryan had three turnovers against Grapevine while failing to force any of its own. A team that can force turnovers and not commit any will have a much easier time making it through four quarters. But that goes without saying.

3. 2 Chainz, meet Joey Florence

For those of you who understandably don’t listen to rap music, there’s a man by the name of 2 Chainz who has become the talk of the genre. Mostly, it’s because he says some of the most incompetent things known to man most of the time. Well, he’s made his namesake by saying his name in an obnoxious yet infectious way. He bellows in a deep and drawn out manner, and it’s something kids love to mimic.

After the scrimmage on Friday and with his team kneeling around him, Florence addressed his kids and gave what might be one of the best quotes of the season.

“Y’all been talking about this 2 CHAINZ stuff. Well I got TWO RINGS and I want a third one.”

Class 5A and hip-hop DJs, beware. Joey Florence and the Ryan Raiders are headed your way.