DENTON – Denton Ryan’s defense might have well resided in The Colony during Thursday’s District 5-5A Division I showdown.
The Cougars gained starting field position at the Raider 37-yard line with 1:39 remaining in the first quarter after an interception by senior defensive end Khylon Whitehurst. But The Colony was unable to capitalize and Ryan proceeded to take control when junior MarQuice Hill scooped up a loose ball on a botched snap by the Cougars and returned the fumble 62 yards for a score.
Things went downhill from there for The Colony. The Raiders stuffed the Cougars to the tune of 140 yards in a 42-3 win at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex. Ryan returned two fumbles for scores and forced six turnovers.
The Cougars rushed for 140 yards but the Raiders made The Colony earn every bit of that total. The Colony needed 44 attempts to achieve that total, and for the game, averaged 2.67 yards per carry.
“It was hard sledding all night,” said Rudy Rangel, The Colony head coach. “We knew that it was going to be hard all night. We were trying to find some creases. We got better at times, but that was a good defense.”
It was a defensive battle early on.
Ryan and The Colony exchanged defensive stands in the first quarter. The Raiders were held off the scoreboard on their first three offensive possessions.
A wild sequence of events occurred late in the quarter. The Raiders were flagged for a roughing-the-punter penalty. One play later, Ryan senior Michael Gee intercepted Cougars senior quarterback Dylan Corbin. The Colony got the ball back two plays later on an interception of Ryan quarterback Khalon Davis by Whitehurst.
Ryan was held to 121 yards of offense in the first half and 257 yards of offense for the game.
“Our defense played well all night long,” Rangel said. “They gave up the one drive late in the game. But they were on short fields and some things happened. However, our kids fought hard all night long.”
But six turnovers, a mental error on special teams and a short punt doomed The Colony, giving Ryan a couple of short fields to work with. And the Raiders capitalized.
Ryan defense generated the game’s first score.
Hill’s fumble recovery for a touchdown gave the Raiders a 7-0 lead with no time left in the first quarter.
Things went from bad to worse for the Cougars on the ensuing kickoff.
Alex Elam stepped out of bounds at the 2-yard line. Four plays later, The Colony was forced to punt from its own end zone and the ball only traveled 3 yards. Rangel walked onto the field looking for a roughing-the-punter penalty on Ryan as The Colony’s Edwin Lopez was contacted by a Raider defender. However, no flag was thrown and Ryan started at The Colony 8.
Junior Kalib Hicks ran 8 yards to his left, unabated into the end zone for a touchdown and a 14-0 Ryan lead with 9:29 remaining in the second quarter. He led all rushers in yardage with 80 on 16 carries.
Ryan’s defense continued to impose its will.
Anthony Hill Jr. recorded a strip sack of Corbin on third-and-eight on the ensuing Cougar drive and ran the ball back to The Colony 7. Four plays later, Hill Jr. finished what he started as he barreled 2 yards for a touchdown and a 21-0 lead for the defending state champion Raiders.
Hill Jr. scored his second defensive touchdown of the game on a 25-yard scoop and return less than two minutes into the third quarter for a 28-0 Raiders lead.
The Colony used two quarterbacks in the second half. Sophomore Devin Deluna threw for a 7-yard completion on his first pass – the first pass completed in the game by The Colony. Corbin also received snaps.
Cougar junior Edwin Lopez made a 33-yard field goal with 18 seconds left in the third quarter, averting the shutout. It came shortly after a fumble recovery by The Colony senior linebacker Josiah Cruz.
Caden Chaulk rushed for 35 yards on eight carries to pace the Cougar rushing attack. Ryan Hollis had 34 yards on four carries.
The Cougars will look to bounce back next Friday against Frisco Heritage. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Tommy Briggs Stadium.
“We were in the same place that we were last year,” Rangel said. “It’s never fun to lose like this, but my kids are resilient. They’re high-character kids. They’re going to come to work tomorrow morning ready to come to work and win a ballgame.”