Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: Denton Ryan edges Mesquite in wet 2-OT thriller
Raiders persevere, slosh their way past stout Skeeters
DENTON — The rains that fell Friday night left most of the fans soaked at the C.H. Collins Athletic Complex. But those fans also had to be mostly satisfied after Denton Ryan’s 28-22 victory over Mesquite in two overtimes.
For Ryan, the No. 2 team in the Class 4A state rankings, it was a chance to show it could win a white-knuckle finish. Ryan (4-0) won it on a 2-yard run by Mitchell Bridges in the second overtime. That came after Mesquite’s Jose Salas missed a 43-yard field goal attempt in the first possession of the second overtime. Salas’ kick hit the crossbar and nearly bounced over.
For Mesquite (2-2), a former powerhouse that finished 1-9 the last two seasons, it was a chance to show it can compete again. And there’s no doubt the Skeeters can compete. As a steady rain fell Friday, it looked like the success Mesquite has been thirsting for is just around the corner.
Mesquite rallied for a 16-8 lead late in the third quarter with the help of running back Junior Sessions, who rushed 23 times for 131 yards and a touchdown. The Skeeters’ offense moved the ball in the second half and its defense showed it could hold up against Ryan’s power running game.
But Ryan is more than just dominating defense. The offense struggled at times, but it showed it could finish off a win set up by its defense. And after Mesquite took its 16-8 lead, the offense put together a 69-yard drive to tie the game early in the fourth quarter.
Ryan took a 19-16 lead on a 39-yard field goal by Mark Orozco with 2:12 left in the game. Mesquite, which had gone three-and-out on its previous two possessions, drove from its 29 to set up Salas’ game-tying 37-yard field goal on the final play of regulation.
Neither defense allowed a first down in the first overtime, putting the pressure back on the kickers. Orozco came through first with a 38-yarder and Salas then hit from 34 yards.
In the first half, Ryan’s Jordan Richmond had a 52-yard run and Sessions broke free for a 49-yard gain. Ryan took an 8-3 lead at the break because of how those runs ended.
Richmond’s run, on a fourth-and-1 in which he burst through a big hole in the middle of the line, finished in the end zone. But Sessions got pulled down at the 2. Ryan’s defense then stuffed Mesquite on three straight runs and the Skeeters settled for a field goal.
The sloppy conditions made for a sloppy game, which was also delayed for more than an hour because of lightning. But for the fans who braved the weather and stayed late, the finish was something to soak up.