Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Denton Ryan holds off Flower Mound to nab 13th-straight playoff appearance
FLOWER MOUND — In a season as tumultuous as this one, it was only fitting that the final victory of the Ryan Raiders’ season was sealed on the last play of its District 5-5A game against Flower Mound.
As a final last-ditch heave by Flower Mound’s Matt Hirst fell hopelessly into the grass, Ryan could finally exhale after holding their breath for the nine-game season.
Ryan (5-4, 3-2) picked up the 24-17 victory against Flower Mound (3-7, 1-4 District 5-5A) on Friday night, advancing the team to the playoffs for the 13th straight year.
Ryan will play either Colleyville Heritage or Hurst Bell in the Class 5A Division II playoffs next Saturday at Arlington’s Cowboys Stadium.
“All the obstacles we had to go through, it made us better by the end of the year,” Ryan junior quarterback Mitchell Bridges said. Bridges went 10-of-14 passing for 154 yards and a touchdown. He also tallied 40 yards rushing for one score in his first game back since suffering a knee injury against Lewisville two weeks ago.
Tyrone Williams had 13 carries for 114 yards to lead Ryan’s rushing attack in the win. Flower Mound receiver Cole McKeel had eight catches for 56 yards and a touchdown in the loss.
“I am proud of our tradition at Ryan High School,” Ryan head coach Joey Florence said.
Bridges came up with a key third-down play on Ryan’s game-winning drive.
On 3rd and 14, the wounded quarterback dodged oncoming attackers, maintained his ground and found senior wide receiver Kevin Ray open in the middle of the field for an 18-yard completion and the first down.
“It felt like a good five minutes,” Bridges said of the completion. “It felt like I was back there forever.”