What you need to know: Cedar Hill

Aca'cedric Ware and the Cedar Hill Longhorns play Ryan on Monday with a berth in the Class 5A Division II state semifinals on the line. (Garett Ray Fisbeck/The Dallas Morning News)

When Ryan steps back onto the field at Apogee Stadium on Monday, the Raiders will be nine days removed from the biggest comeback in school history. Ryan hopes there is still some magic left at Apogee for the Class 5A Division II Region I final against Cedar Hill.

No more ice problems. No more waiting around. Finally, we have football.

Here’s what you need to know about Cedar Hill.

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What you need to know: Fossil Ridge

Quarterback Jacob Gnacinski lead Keller Fossil Ridge against Ryan in Saturday's Class 5A Division II regional semifinal. (Vernon Bryant/The Dallas Morning News)

It’s not Thanksgiving in Texas without a great slate of high school football games. We’re not done with the regional semifinals yet. Ryan and Keller Fossil Ridge square off today with a trip to the state quarterfinals on the line, and we’ve got you covered before you head out to Apogee Stadium today.

Here’s what you need to know about today’s regional semifinal matchup.

Class 5A Division II Region II semifinal

Ryan (9-2) vs. Keller Fossil Ridge (9-3), Apogee Stadium, 1 p.m.

Series record: Fossil Ridge leads 3-1

How we got here: Ryan is coming off a huge win against Waco Midway last week. The Raiders erased a 13-point halftime deficit to pick up a 34-33 victory against Midway. In the locker room after the game, it was apparent that the win transcended regular playoff wins. It gives Ryan a lot of momentum going into today’s game.

“It’ll be one of my fondest memories because it was such a big stage and you’re down 13 points. I didn’t think we played bad,” Ryan head coach Joey Florence said.

Fossil Ridge, on the other hand, is coming off a convincing 39-7 win against San Angelo Central. Ryan Parker had seven catches for 92 yards and two touchdowns, and quarterback Jacob Gnacinski completed 16 of 32 passes for 220 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

What’s happened in the past: Ryan has lost three straight contests to Fossil Ridge. In 2006 and 2007, the Panthers knocked Ryan out of the playoffs in the bi-district round of the 5A Division II playoffs. It was one of the few times Ryan has failed to win a playoff game. I’m sure Florence and the Raiders are less concerned about the three-game losing streak and are more worried about advancing to next week’s contest.

What to expect this year: Don’t look at Fossil Ridge’s record and sleep on the Panthers. Fossil Ridge has key talent at key positions that could give Ryan fits this afternoon.

Defensively, Ryan will need to shutdown Parker (1,102 receiving yards, 15 TDs) and Gnacinski. Those two account for most of Fossil Ridge’s offense, and Gnacinski (58.5 completion percentage, 2,557 passing yards, 25 TDs, 14 INTs) will be the best dual-threat quarterback Ryan has seen all season. The Ryan secondary will be asked to have another big performance this week.

Offensively, the Raiders will have to contend with Fossil Ridge’s strong defensive line and a secondary that features defensive back Nick Foster, who orally committed to TCU.

This game could be decided by which team is better at the line of scrimmage.

Ryan’s defensive line will need to pressure Gnacinski and hasten his decision-making process. Ryan’s d-line is one of the reasons the Raiders have forced 15 turnovers in their last three games.

Ryan’s offensive line will need to open up holes for running backs Tyrone Williams and Maurice Gordon. Fossil Ridge limited SA Central to 50 yards on 25 carries last week.

Ryan player to watch: DB Paul Hunter

Fossil Ridge player to watch: WR Ryan Parker

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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What you need to know: Coppell

Ryan will try to be the first team to knock off Gavin McDaniel and the Coppell Cowboys when the two teams square off on Friday night. (The Dallas Morning News file photo)

Friday night’s District 5-5A game between Coppell and Ryan will be the Raiders’ toughest challenge this season.

Coppell comes into the game as one of the Dallas-Fort Worth area’s top teams. The Cowboys only loss this season has come against Allen, the No.1 team in 5A and the defending Class 5A Division I champions.

We’ve got two games left in the regular season, and this one will be one of the most interesting matchups for Ryan. Here’s what you need to know about Coppell.

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What you need to know: Lewisville

The Lewisville Fighting Farmers travel to C.H. Collins Athletic Complex to face Ryan in a District 5-5A matchup on Friday night. (file photo)

District 5-5A play only started last week, but after this weekend there will only be two weeks left in the season. That’s what happens when you’re in a six-team district, which makes magnifies each week’s game.

This week matches Lewisville, an improved but young squad, and Ryan. Let’s delve into Friday night’s matchup between the two schools.

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What you need to know: Hebron


Ryan and defensive end Alex Funches (left) faces Hebron and quarterback Carson Proffitt in a big District 5-5A contest. (David Minton/Denton Record-Chronicle)

We’re officially past the halfway point of the season and heading into the final four weeks of the regular season. It’s flown by pretty quickly, and so far, Ryan is still perfect.

A lot of people think the Ryan-Coppell game (if both teams are still undefeated) ends up being the biggest game of the season for the Raiders.


Tonight’s game is Ryan’s most important game of the regular season. I’ll get into that and more and everything else you need to know about Hebron.

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What you need to know: F.M. Marcus

Marcus' Alex Albright and the Marauders host Ryan in the District 5-5A opener on Friday night. (David Minton/Denton Record-Chronicle)

Some coach is about to win some game for some big career milestone, but since I think that’s been referenced in a couple of places, we won’t get into that here.

Instead we’ll talk about what that coach says is one of the most important games of the season – the District 5-5A opener for Ryan against Flower Mound Marcus. Every win’s a big win in a six-team district (I’ve been talking with Florence way too much).

Here’s what you need to know about the Marauders.

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