Ryle was playing for overtime Friday night.
Simon Kenton didn't have any timeouts and there was just under a minute left on the clock. The Raiders let the final seconds of the play clock tick away before they snapped it to punt it back to the Pioneers. However, a low snap and a tough judgment call by an official, ruling Ryle punter Aaron O'Hara's knee down when he bent to catch the snap, gave Simon Kenton the ball back on the Raiders' 14 with 24 seconds to play.
Two plays later Simon Kenton sophomore quarterback Cam Racke hit senior receiver Logan Winkler for the 14-yard touchdown with 13 seconds left for the go-ahead score.
It was another tough loss in a season that has now seen the Raiders' suffer three of their five losses by single-digits.
"I hate it for the kids because they played so hard," first-year Ryle head coach Mike Engler said. "(Simon Kenton) deserved to win as much as we did. It was a great football game. I just hate it for our kids because that could have been the game that really put us over the top and built up their confidence."
After a slow start, Ryle may be more of a factor than anticipated in an already muddy 6A district race. Even despite Friday marking the team's second consecutive loss and dropping its record to 1-5, Engler thinks the noticeable improvement in his players from week zero to week five and competing with a team of Simon Kenton's caliber until the final seconds has helped the Raiders' confidence.
"Our effort was great," Engler said. "We've lost a couple in a row now, but I can't complain about our effort at all. We went in thinking we had a chance to win the football game, and we played like we had a chance to win the football game. Even in the loss these guys are gaining confidence and getting better. They could be a team to be reckoned with later on."
The Raiders' 50-22 win over Conner in week three seemed to be somewhat of a turning point in their season. There are multiple reasons for the improved level of play according to Engler, including players getting healthy, inexperienced guys getting familiar with the varsity game and the entire team and staff getting used to each other during an initial transition period. Also, the emergence of junior running backs Colin England and Mitchell Batemen have really given the Raiders' offense a boost in the running game.
"We've improved everywhere," Engler said. "The biggest thing is believing – they're believing in the system, they're starting to see the effects of hard work and taking coaching."
"Mitchell and Colin have been great. The thing that people don't realize is that both of those guys were injured in our first couple of games, and we also had a couple of linemen miss games too. Getting all those guys healthy has been a huge key to getting on track with that part of our game."