Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Wylie East earns 'statement game' victory, knocks off Denton Ryan on the road
Signature win comes on the road behind strong second half
DENTON — As a third-year varsity program, Wylie East wanted a notable win on the road. Wylie East picked up a considerable one Friday with a 34-31 victory over perennial power Denton Ryan at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex.
“This is a statement game,” East coach Joe Lepsis said. “If we want to be a program going somewhere, you have to beat programs like Ryan. Year-in and year-out, Ryan is one of the state’s top programs. We have a lot of respect for their coaches and players. To beat them means something. I’m proud of our players.”
Ranked No. 10 in The News’ Class 4A poll, Wylie East (2-1) senior running back Jabari Anderson scored the winning touchdown on a 1-yard run with 5:38 remaining.
Anderson rushed 35 times for 210 yards and three touchdowns. Junior quarterback Garrett McCain passed for 201 yards and rushed for 108. To avoid giving Ryan a last possession, East converted a fourth-and-1 at midfield with 1:19 remaining as Anderson burst off tackle for four yards.
Trailing by three with three minutes left, Ryan (1-2) drove to East’s 40-yard line, but a series in which Ryan switched to a power I-formation ended short of a first on four downs.
“I have a lot of confidence in that set and thought we could break one,” Ryan coach Joey Florence said. “That’s my fault. We’re young all over the field. We’re getting better, and we’re fighting. It’s going to be a battle all year. My hat’s off to East; they’ve got a good team. But we’re going to win some of these.”
Ryan led 31-27 with 10 minutes remaining as junior receiver Trent Willis pulled in a 45-yard pass from junior quarterback Preston Compton. East took a 27-24 lead early in the fourth quarter when Quan Jones caught a 1-yard touchdown pass on a fade to the right corner of the end zone. East had pulled within 24-20 in the third quarter on a 28-yard field goal by senior Dylan Cook.
Ryan had taken a 24-17 halftime lead as junior Marc Orozco hit a 26-yard field as time expired. Ryan had swung momentum in its direction after East scored on its first three possessions.
Ryan took a 21-17 late in the second quarter when junior defensive end/linebacker Nolan Robinson returned a blocked punt 34 yards for a touchdown. Senior defensive back Reynal Caldwell, who earlier caused a fumble on a hard tackle, blocked the punt.
East showed its offensive strength in taking a 17-10 lead on Anderson’s 2-yard touchdown run.