Denton ISD looking forward to two Semi-Final's Appearances
Denton Ryan fell just short in 2019 dropping 28-22 in the UIL 5A Division I Championship game to Shadow Creek. Since that loss, the Raiders have posted an undefeated season going 13-0 overall and 7-0 to finish first in district. Ryan is coming off of a high after defeating Highland Park last Friday by a score of 17-7. The win marked the first time Ryan has defeated their longtime playoffs rival in over a decade — the last time the Raiders defeated the Scots was in a 2004 non-district matchup with a 21-18 score.
"We knew it was a team that many people said we couldn't beat," said Denton Ryan's All-American, four-star wide receiver/defensive back Billy Bowman Jr. "We wanted to show people we could beat them. We're just focused on one goal — getting a ring this year."
Denton Ryan has a handful of players that fans should pay close attention to in the semifinal matchup against Mansfield Summit on Friday at AT&T Stadium.
Texas signee Ja'Tavion Sanders alongside Oklahoma signee Bowman has posted a combined remarkable 39 receptions for 652 yards and seven touchdowns in just the last three games — against College Station, Longview, and Highland Park. On the season, Sanders has tallied 55 catches for 1,073 yards and 15 touchdowns while Bowman has posted 68 catches for 1,010 yards and 13 touchdowns. Kalib Hicks, a sophomore running back for the Raiders, has averaged over 105 rushing yards per game with about 8 yards per carry in the playoffs. Quarterback Seth Henigan- a Memphis signee- has posted 3,351 passing yards and 36 touchdowns this season with a 68% pass completion rate. In the last seven-straight games, Henigan has thrown at least two touchdown passes. Not to mention a dominating defense who has allowed fewer than 10 points in a game in half of their games this season.
Denton Guyer played a rough game in the 2019 6A Division II UIL State Championship match against Austin Westlake. The Wildcats definitely have a chip on their shoulder after falling 24-0 to lose the title.
Since failing to score in the state title game, Guyer has posted an 11-2 overall season finishing second in district with a 5-1 district record. Their two losses came to Denton Ryan in a non-district matchup where Ryan narrowly defeated Guyer 23-20 and against Allen in a district game where Allen came out victorious with a score of 56-38. The Wildcats have far outscored their opponents this season by over 200 points (554-339) and they're coming off of an incredible 30-24 triple-overtime defeat over Prosper last Saturday.
Guyer's defense- led by Baylor signee defensive lineman Cooper Lanz- has proven to play a key role throughout this season. Last week, Lanz recorded two sacks, six tackles for a loss, and an incredible blocked field goal in the third overtime to help set up the win.
Texas A&M signee, quarterback Eli Stowers also posted a great play against Prosper where he ran for a five-yard touchdown in the third overtime to secure the Wildcats' spot in the semifinals. Despite only throwing six completed passes, two interceptions, and only one touchdown pass, Stowers is ready to continue his drive toward a state title appearance after being injured in the first drive of the state title game in 2019. "Obviously, it was a tough situation last year," Stowers said remembering his injury. "To be able to get this close to a state championship game is a blessing." Stowers has posted three game-winning touchdowns this season.
Another athlete to watch for on Guyer's end is junior Jace Wilson. If you don't recognize the name, you should. The wide receiver is the younger brother of Kansas basketball player, Jalen Wilson. Wilson has proven his role on the Guyer squad and posted a touchdown against Prosper last week.
Guyer looks ahead to winning their first state title since 2013 (when they were classified as a 4A team), but first, they will face Cedar Hill on Saturday at McKinney ISD Stadium.