Xavier Gray and the rest of the Raiders will look to hand Rider back-to-back losses to start its season. The two teams will renew their rivalry tonight at 7:30 p.m. at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex. (David Minton/ Denton Record-Chronicle)
With kickoff a few hours away, here are four questions heading into tonight’s game between Ryan and Wichita Falls Rider.
1. How will Preston Compton fare?
Compton will step into the starting quarterback role after Mitchell Bridges fractured his fibula in last week’s win over Corsicana. Compton played in one series last week, and it was an uneventful three plays and a punt.
Compton had a gorgeous deep ball in Ryan’s scrimmage against Grapevine, and he showed some promise. It will be interesting to see how the team will react with Compton under center, and how the offense adapts to its new quarterback.
2. Will Rider’s defense stop the run?
Last week, Rider’s defense was slashed for five touchdowns by Abilene Cooper running back Kerry Sims. I don’t know if Ryan running back A.J. Anderson can duplicate Sims’ success, but a successful rushing attack would aid Compton in his first start. To be fair, Rider may have not been as prepared as it normally would have been because it’s hard to prepare for a team during Zero Week, because there’s not much opposing film to analyze. Anderson, along with Compton and Reynal Caldwell, will be needed to establish the ground game tonight.
3. Is J.T. Barrett the real deal?
I’m semi-asking this to myself, because I’ve never seen him play. And I can’t wait to see if Barrett lives up to the hype that has him as the Class of 2013’s seventh-ranked dual-threat quarterback in the nation by Rivals.com. Barrett had an interception in last year’s game that helped Ryan set up its 20-17 victory, but he was facing one of the top defenses in the state. This year’s defense isn’t as strong, so it’ll be interesting to see if he can carve up Ryan’s secondary.
4. Will Ryan stretch its regular-season winning streak to 26 games?
Last year Ryan got the better of Rider, but this time around, Rider looks like it has the better team on paper. With eight returning starters on offense, this could end up being a shootout tonight. Rider looks like the stronger team and should come into tonight’s contest as the favorite. A win by Ryan extends the team’s regular season winning-streak to 26 games. Ryan hasn’t lost in the regular season since a loss to Lake Dallas on Oct. 9, 2009. To be fair, I don’t think anybody at Ryan cares about this streak, but it’d be interesting to see if Ryan can keep on winning.
If tonight’s game is as entertaining as last week’s game between Corsicana and Ryan, we’re all in for an exciting night of football.