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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Raiders get back to Commonwealth, win column vs. Pioneers

Written by
Richard Skinner
Enquirer contributor
After suffering back-to-back blowout losses to Ohio powers in which Ryle was still adjusting to a season-ending injury to star running back Travis Elliott, the Raiders showed on Friday night they're still going to be a force in Kentucky.
Ryle got two big-play touchdowns in the first six minutes of the game, and its defense held off Simon Kenton for a 21-6 victory at Chlorine Menefee Stadium in Independence.
Ryle (3-2, 1-0 Class 6A) improved to 3-0 against Kentucky teams this season and has outscored them 105-31.
The Raiders were outscored the last two weeks by Colerain and Columbus St. Francis DeSales 79-7. Elliott was injured in the first quarter of the loss to Colerain.
"When you lose what we think was the best player in the state there's going to be an adjustment period so it was great to go against those two teams to find out what our strengths and weaknesses are," said Ryle coach Bryson Warner. "We have a lot of guys that can still execute a lot of plays. We're a different team, but we can certainly still be good."
While the Raiders could only muster seven points in their last two games, it took them a little over a minute to get that against Simon Kenton (2-3, 0-1). Four plays in, junior quarterback Nathan Davis scored on a 54-yard keeper off right tackle.
Two possessions later, Davis completed his only pass of the first half when he connected with senior tight end Ryan Smith on a short slant pass. , Smith went the rest of the way untouched to complete a 59-yard touchdown. That increased the Ryle lead to 14-0 with 6:06 left in the first quarter.
"I think we always believed we could do stuff without Travis," said Davis, who rushed 22 times for 131 yards and two touchdowns and completed five of 12 passes for 103 yards and a touchdowns. "This isn't a one-dimensional team. Travis was a big asset, but we wanted to come out and prove ... there was a team surrounding him."
Davis said the last two weeks had as much to do with the competition Ryle faced as it did with losing Elliott.
"We have to play teams like that in order for us to get better," said Davis. "We showed what we could do against a team our level."
The Pioneers closed to 14-6 a little less than four minutes into the fourth quarter. Sophomore Mike Krallman blocked a punt and recovered at the Ryle 19, and Simon Kenton converted a fourth-and-8 when sophomore quarterback Brennan Kuntz passed 10 yards to junior Jared Bowling, setting up first-and-goal at the Ryle 7. Then junior tailback Nate Powell raced over left guard for the touchdown. The extra point failed making it 14-6 with 8:17 remaining in the game.
Simon Kenton tried to recover the onside kick to no avail, and Ryle drove 47 yards to score the clinching touchdown when Davis went in from a yard out with 3:45 left.
Ryle limited Simon Kenton to 245 yards total offense.
"I think tonight proved it's not going to be easy without Travis, but we can do it," said senior guard/linebacker Mac Vollett. "It got us for ready for district. It wasn't easy to lose those games, but it proved something that we could stick together and work it out."
Ryle 14 0 0 7 --21
Simon Kenton 0 0 0 6 -- 6

R-Davis 54 run (Mead kick)
R-Smith 59 pass from Davis (Mead kick)
SK-Powell 7 run (kick failed)
R-Davis 1 run (Mead kick)
Records: Ryle 3-2 (1-0 Class 6A), Simon Kenton 2-3 (0-1).


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