The 5A-I Semi-Finals took place in Arlington, Texas Friday night featuring the Denton Ryan Raiders and Mansfield Summit Jaguars. The Denton Ryan Raiders came into this game trying to get to their second consecutive State Title game. Denton Ryan won the toss but deferred the ball so Mansfield Summit would start the game off with the ball.
The defense would really show up early with both teams punting on their first drive. The Jaguars would take over inside their own 20-yard line and that would prove costly. Michael Gee would make a tackle in the back field causing a fumble and Ty Marsh would scoop the ball for a score. With 7:12 left in the first quarter Denton Ryan leads 7-0.
The Jaguars would try and retaliate but the Raiders defense would still be in top notch shape. Anthony Hill Jr would come up with the sack after Denton Ryan sent a blitz. This would result in another punt for the Jaguars. Denton Ryan would make quick work after receiving the punt too. Kalib Hicks would break off a 37-yard run all the way to the Jaguars one-yard line. Anthony Hill Jr would then punch in the one-yard touchdown to go up 14-0 in the first quarter.
Mansfield Summit would take advantage of a Denton Ryan onside kick, and return the ball deep into Raider territory. After a time out Keon Hobbs would break off a 25-yard touchdown run. All of the sudden it is 14-7 with 2:59 in the 1st quarter.
On the next drive Seth Henigan would throw his only interception of the night. That pick would be taken all the way to the Raiders 40-yard line. Luckily for Henigan Billy Bowman would make a miraculous interception one play later.
Denton Ryan would barely be able to get out of their own end zone. Ja’Tavion Sanders would line up and punt the ball for the Raiders. The Jaguars would get a pass interference to set them up inside the 30-yard line. With nearly seven-minutes to go Ty Marsh would come up big once again for the Raiders. This time picking off the ball and returning it a few yards before stepping out of bounds.
Seth Henigan would show off his legs on the next scoring drive. Back to back rushes would set the Raiders up inside the 15-yard line. A few plays later Billy Bowman would get his first touchdown of the night on a slant route. The Raiders would take a 21-7 lead with 1:47 left in the first half.
David Hopkins wouldn’t let the Jaguars go down easy though. He would march the team down the field and keep the game close. Hopkins would scramble outside the pocket to score the ball before half, but have their extra point attempt blocked. We would go into halftime with a score of 21-13, Denton Ryan.
To open up the second half Seth Hengian would lead a great drive down the field. First connecting with Bowman on a nice catch and run. After that Jordyn Bailey would make a spectacular 45-yard touchdown catch in the corner of the endzone. The Raiders would take a 28-14 lead over Mansfield Summit with 10 minutes in the 3rd.
After an absolutely crazy grab by Billy Bowman, the Raiders would choke on the red zone. After failing to convert on fourth down, the Jaguars took over at their own 19-yard line. The very next play Hal Presley would catch a 69-yard touchdown pass from Hopkins. Now the Jaguars are surging and looking at a 28-20 game with 1:28 in the 3rd quarter.
The fourth quarter would be a feast for the Raiders though. First the Jaguars would force Denton Ryan to punt the ball, giving them another chance to get points. That is exactly what they would do as well, with a Hopkins two-yard rushing touchdown with 10:09 left in the game.
With the game at a 28-27 stand still, the crowd would get louder and louder. Right on queue the Raider defense would come up with a huge blocked punt, giving them the ball at their own 12-yard line. What would happen next though might have been the play of the night. Ja’Tavion Sanders would find a sweeping Seth Henigan who would come up with a big time touchdown grab.
Suddenly Denton Ryan would flip this game on its head. After the blocked punt, Marquice Hill would come up with a huge strip sack. The ball would fly in the air and D.J. Arkansas would catch it and run it all the way back for a Denton Ryan touchdown. In the matter of minutes we now had a 42-27 lead from Denton Ryan.
Even though the game was practically over, a few more touchdowns would be scored. Denton Ryan would defeat the Jaguars 49-34 to move on to the 5A-I State Finals. Next week the Raiders will face Cedar Park High School at AT&T Stadium for the 5A-I crown.