The Texas 5A-I UIL Regional playoffs were underway in Mesquite, Texas as the Denton Ryan Raiders took on the Longview Lobos. It was a perfect 70 degrees for the match-up, but the 16-MPH wind gusts would make things interesting. The winner of this match-up would move on to face Highland Park High School in the Quarterfinals of the 5A-I bracket.
Denton Ryan High School started the game off the receiving the opening kickoff of the game. Future Oklahoma Sooner, Billy Bowman, got in on the action early with a big reception down the sideline. Coach Dave Henigan would put the ball into his star athlete, Ja’Tavion Sanders’ hands as he lined up in the wildcat formation. After being tackled on the first attempt, the Raiders ran it back and had Sanders punch in the first touchdown of the game. With a little under nine minutes in the first quarter, the Raiders took an early 7-0 lead.
Longview’s offensive line and Denton Ryan’s defensive line was a match-up many were looking forward to, and it lived up to the hype. On Longviews first drive not only did we see big runs, we also saw some big tackles for losses as well. Jalen Hale would reel in a huge reception to bring the Lobos inside Denton Ryan territory. Jordan Allen would cap off the drive with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Hale with 5:31 left in the first quarter.
Denton Ryan would just barely convert on 4th down in the late first quarter to keep their drive alive. The first quarter would end mid-drive for Denton Ryan, and the game would be tied 7-7 heading into the second quarter.
The Raiders would be forced to punt pretty early in the second quarter after the Longview’s defense would continue to look impressive on the day. The Lobos would get the ball, and drive into the Raiders territory once again, but stall near mid-field. Lobos head coach John King elected to go for it on fourth-down, but failed to convert the attempt.
Seth Henigan would complete on a 25-yard touchdown strike to Keagan Cunningham. Hennigan was rocked as he completed his high arching pass to his receiver. The Raiders would completely mess up their extra point attempt, bringing the game to a score of 13-7. Both teams would get another chance to put up points, but the score would remain 13-7 heading into halftime.
After a slightly longer than expected halftime, the Lobos would receive the second half kickoff. They would be unable to put points on the board after taking a sack, and be forced to punt the ball back to Billy Bowman.
Coach Hengian would put together a solid mix of run & pass as they looked to add to their lead. Seth Henigan would complete another pass to Keagan Cunningham, who would take it all the way to the one-yard line before catching the touchdown on the very next play.
The Raiders would be able to pin the Lobos inside their own six-yard line due to a miscommunication on the kickoff. Longview High School wouldn’t be able to do anything against the Raiders tough defense, being forced to punt once again. Being pushed so far back into their own territory, the Lobos would give the ball back to Denton Ryan with great field position.
The Lobos would be unable to do anything against this Raider defense, and the game would end 27-9. Five-star defensive tackle, Bear Alexander, was in the backfield all day long for Denton Ryan. Ja’Tavion Sanders finished the day with two total touchdowns, and Keagan Cunngham led the Raiders in receiving.
As mentioned earlier, the winner of this game faces Highland Park High School in the quarterfinals next week. Highland Park is 11-0 on the season and is coming off a 30-20 victory over Lone Star High School.