In football, all young men have a chance of success. In football, the more talented player is not always the best player. In football, with the correct attitude and work ethic, any young man can compete. In football, leaders are born and confidence is built. In football, attitudes can be adjusted and low self-esteem can be lifted. In football, all young men get a chance at success.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ryle Defeats Simon Kenton

By Ryan Ernst • • October 8, 2010
Northern Kentucky finally has an answer to the question concerning the area’s top Class 6A football team.

It just took a while.
Ryle and Simon Kenton, pegged as the district favorites since the preseason and ranked second and third respectively in the area coaches’ poll most of the season, played deep into the night Friday at Ryle. Finally, the Raiders emerged with a 38-35 overtime victory.
In the end, Ryle sophomore kicker Garrett Mead made a 20-yard field goal to secure the victory.
The kick put the Raiders alone in first place in Northern Kentucky’s 6A district standings and sent a sea of Ryle students onto the field for an impromptu post-game pep rally.
“What an unbelievable matchup, a great district and great competition,” said Ryle coach Bryson Warner. “We were fortunate to come out on top.”
After a scoreless first quarter, the two teams traded scores for most of the game. Simon Kenton jumped out to a 10-0 lead on a Zach Carroll interception return for a touchdown and a Cody Herald field goal.
Both teams’ quarterbacks exchanged big plays. Ryle senior Conner Hempel ran for the Raiders’ first three touchdowns. His counterpart, Simon Kenton senior Chad Lawrence, kept the Pioneers in the game with his scrambling, improvisational big-play ability. He hit Cody Welte for a 30-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-11, then converted a fake extra point for two points.
Early in the fourth quarter, with the game tied at 21, he drove the Pioneers to the 5-yard line, where Danny Wetter scored on a pitch.
Then, Ryle running back Travis Elliott made his first play of the game. The junior standout, whom the Pioneers held in check for most of the game, took an off-tackle handoff for an 81-yard touchdown, breaking several tackles along the way.
“He’s resilient,” Warner said of Elliott, who finished with 163 yards rushing. “He always has a chance to break one, because his legs never stop moving.”
Lawrence struck again midway through the fourth quarter, scrambling and then hitting Matt Reilly for an 11-yard touchdown on third-and-9.
Ryle answered with a 12-play, 79-yard game-tying drive. Hempel was 4-for-5 on the drive, including a 13-yard completion to Jeff Huntley on fourth-and-11 with 2:19 to play.
“We had to throw it to spread them out a little bit,” said Hempel, who finished with 127 yards passing and 119 yards rushing. “Once we did and we were successful, we were able to mix in the run a little bit and we had a drive going.”
Elliott capped the drive with an 8-yard touchdown run with 1:09 remaining. Warner feared his team had left too much time on the clock.
“With Chad Lawrence at the helm, that was definitely too much time,” said Warner. “I haven’t seen another young man like him. He just makes incredible plays.”
Lawrence finished with 152 yards rushing and 229 yards passing, but the Raiders held him in check down the stretch. After forcing a three-and-out on Simon Kenton’s final possession of regulation, the Raiders picked off a Lawrence fourth-down pass in overtime.
After three running plays, Ryle gave Mead an opportunity. He made good, putting the Raiders in position to win their first district title since 2006.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Hempel. “We had to pull through and we got it done. … I can almost guarantee you we’ll see them again in the playoffs. They’re a heck of a football team.”


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