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.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

No hangover for Ryle in first-round rout

Raiders quickly turned attention from Highlands to playoffs

Long before Ryle scored the last of its six unanswered first-half touchdowns on Friday night, any doubt of the outcome of the Raiders’ 54-13 victory over Madison Central in the opening round of the class 6A playoffs had vanished. Considering Ryle’s recent penchant for nail-biting finishes, coach Bryson Warner’s nerves could certainly use the break.
The Raiders (10-1) broke their regular season wins record and topped the final Enquirer Northern Kentucky coaches’ poll for the first time this year. They achieved both in dramatic fashion. Four of Ryle’s last six games entering the postseason were decided by a touchdown or less. That includes the Raiders’ 28-26 win over Highlands last week that ended the Bluebirds’ 37-game winning streak.
But any thoughts of Ryle becoming distracted by post-Highlands euphoria were quickly dispelled as the Raiders scored on their first five possessions to take a 33-0 lead early in the second quarter.
“Everybody’s undefeated (when) the playoffs (start). You can never overlook anybody,” Warner said. “We’ve got tremendous leadership with our seniors. Their focus was totally in the right direction. The celebration (after defeating Highlands) was over when they came in here (last) Monday.”
Junior running back Travis Elliott racked up 130 yards and three touchdowns on seven first-half carries - the longest a 63-yard touchdown with less than a minute left in the second quarter to give Ryle a 40-0 lead at the break.
Elliott didn’t play in the second half and most of Ryle’s starters were on the sidelines for good early in the third quarter. But not before stuffing their stat lines.

Senior defensive back Luke Boggs picked off a pass and returned a first-half punt for a 54-yard touchdown. Senior Deion Mullens bolted for a 53-yard score out of the backfield and recorded a sack on defense. Ryan Smith and Kohry Thibodeau both caught their first touchdown passes of the season.

Smith, used largely as a defensive back, entered the game with one catch all year. Yet quarterback Conner Hempel targeted him three times on Ryle’s opening drive, including a 17-yard touchdown pass for the first of the Raiders’ many scores.

By the midway point of the fourth quarter the Raider freshman were on the field, contributing to Ryle’s gaudy scoring total with a 32-yard touchdown run by Thomas Baumann.

“It was a great opportunity to get some of our guys in the game that work so hard but who don’t (normally) get the chance to play on Friday nights,” Warner said.

Ryle advances to host the winner of Campbell County (5-5) and George Rogers Clark (5-5). The Raiders beat the Camels 35-30 on Oct. 1.


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