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.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Prep Football Previews: Ryle has solid senior class that came up together in feeder program

Article Courtesy of the Northern Kentucky Tribune

As Northern Kentucky looks forward to high school football season, The NKyTribune is profiling all NKy high school football teams, thanks to support from St. Elizabeth Healthcare Sports Medicine. This is one of a series. Look for great coverage of high school football at the NKyTribune all season.

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

Most of the seniors on the Ryle football roster have been playing together since the sixth grade when they joined the Union Raiders middle school team that made its debut that season. In a few more days, that first group to come up through the Ryle feeder program will be starting their final season together and they’re determined to break the varsity team’s three-year string of losing records.

Ryle seniors crop
Ryle football players Nick Townsend, left, Nick Yowan, center, and Tyler Selby are among the seniors who started playing together in the sixth grade. (Photo by Terry Boehmker)
“Ever since we were the Union Raiders we’ve been talking about this group coming up as seniors and doing something special,” said senior offensive guard Nick Yoman.

“They’ve always expected big things from us,” added senior linebacker Tyler Selby. “We’re hoping to live up to all those expectations this year.”

The Union Raiders was created to get football players at middle schools affiliated with Ryle on the same team. Before that, players are scattered on several different teams in the Boone County PeeWee Football League.

The Union Raiders got off to a good start. A photograph of the 2011 team that made an impressive run in a middle school tournament is still hanging on the wall of the coaches’ office at Ryle.

“We were unstoppable,” Yoman said. “We lost probably two or three games in two years and one of them was in the (tournament) championship.”

When Mike Engler became Ryle’s head coach last year, he was excited to learn that the high school team had a player development system in place that included a well-established middle school program.

“To be a successful high school program, you have to have a successful feeder program,” Engler said. “You can see the dividends of that paying off with these guys.”

Yowan and Selby are two of the 31 seniors on the Ryle roster this season. They’re both playing the same positions as they did when they started out with the Union Raiders six years ago. Since the middle school teams use the same offense and defensive sets as the Ryle varsity team, players get a firm grasp on their assignments and responsibilities.

ad“I’ve played the same position and done the exact same thing all along so nothing is unfamiliar to me,” Yowan said. “That’s what they said they were trying to do, get us all familiar with what we’re going to do in high school so that when we get here it’s not totally different.”

Nick Townsend played several positions coming up through the Ryle feeder system and will be a starting safety on the varsity team this season. He said the seniors have built a strong bond by being on the field together for so long.

“Almost everybody we started with is still here,” Townsend said. “We’ve been together a lot longer than we would have been had we just met when we were freshmen. We’ve been together since we were sixth-graders and that’s almost double the time. Everybody knows each other and what they can do.”

With their experienced senior class leading the way, the Ryle Raiders hope to get off to a better start than last year when they lost five of their first six games before making a late run and ending up with a 5-7 record. That won’t be easy to do because Covington Catholic, Lexington Catholic and Highlands are three of the first four opponents on Ryle’s schedule, but the seniors are looking forward to the challenge.

“We just need to work hard, do our jobs and know that the guy next to you is going to do his,” Selby said.

“Our freshman coach told us the other day he didn’t think there’s ever been a team here that’s worked harder than us,” Yowan said. “Hopefully, that reflects on this season and we do something really special.”


2014 SEASON: 5-7 record, lost in second round of Class 6A state playoffs.
THIS SEASON: Class 6A, District 5 with Conner, Cooper.
COACH: Mike Engler (5-7 in one season at Ryle).

Aug. 21 – at Covington Catholic, 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 28 – at Lexington Catholic, 8:45 p.m.
Sept. 4 – BOONE COUNTY, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 11 – at Highlands, 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 – CAMPBELL COUNTY, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 2 – CLARK COUNTY, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 9 – at Cooper, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 16 – CONNER, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 23 – at Simon Kenton, 7 p.m.
Oct. 30 – at Dixie Heights, 7 p.m.


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