Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Cedar Hill, DaMarkus Lodge come out firing to blow past Denton Ryan
DENTON — Cedar Hill coach Joey McGuire knew all about Denton Ryan’s knack for late-game heroics and dramatic comebacks.
Ryan twice came within one possession of the lead during the second half Monday at Apogee Stadium, but Cedar Hill’s quartet of running backs squashed any hope of a comeback.
Playing on a field surrounded by stacks of ice and snow, Cedar Hill rushed for 438 yards to claim a commanding 52-29 victory over Ryan in the Class 5A Division II Region I final.
“We call them the committee,” McGuire said of his running backs. “I thought all four of them were animals today.”
Aca’cedric Ware had 170 yards and a touchdown, and Larry Hill added 127 yards and four touchdowns. Denvre Daniels and Peter Lewis combined for 10 carries and 48 yards.
Wide receiver DaMarkus Lodge got in on the ground game, too, taking three carries for 66 yards and two touchdowns. Both of Lodge’s touchdowns came on direct snaps, and his carries Monday were his first of the season.
“We’ve been game planning that for a while now,” said Lodge, who has eight postseason touchdowns. “It was great. I loved every bit of it.”
Cedar Hill advances to face Lake Travis in the state semifinals at a time, date and place to be determined. It’s Cedar Hill’s second consecutive trip to the fifth round.
Cedar Hill took a 23-0 lead into halftime after a dominating defensive display. Ryan gained only 31 yards in the first half, punting the ball away to cap each of its six possessions.
Defensive end Xavier Washington was the biggest standout, totaling seven tackles, two tackles for loss, three sacks and a forced fumble.
“We knew it was going to be a physical game,” Washington said. “It was very important for us once we got ahead to put our foot on their throat.”
Ryan had come back from halftime deficits in each of its last two playoff wins. It threatened to do so again in the third quarter Monday.
Defensive back Paul Hunter recovered a fumble and returned it 22 yards for Ryan’s first score. On the first play of its next offensive series, Mitchell Bridges hit Trent Willis in stride for a 64-yard touchdown to make it a one-possession game, 23-15.
Cedar Hill, though, scored 21 straight points to open the fourth quarter and put the game away.
“We spotted them, I don’t know, 20-something points going into halftime,” Ryan coach Joey Florence said “The kids played really well in the second half. There wasn’t any quit in these kids, and that’s all I ever ask of them.”
Follow David Just on Twitter at @DavidJustDMN.