Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Football: WF Rider holds off Falcons
WICHITA FALLS - For the most part, Lake Dallas head coach Michael Young liked what he saw Friday night.
He saw his team's offensive line improving, his star quarterback making big plays and his defense creating crucial turnovers. All of those areas had been problematic for the Falcons this season, and all of them seemed to be greatly improved against Wichita Falls Rider.
The one thing he didn't see improvement in? The final score.
Despite outgaining its opponent and having a breakout game on offense, Lake Dallas still couldn't pull out its first District 4-4A win, and suffered a 23-15 loss to Rider at Memorial Stadium.
The Falcons (1-5, 0-2), who shared a district title with Ryan and Guyer last season, now find themselves in a two-game hole to start district play.
"I thought our effort was great," Young said. "We moved the ball really well, and we were excited about that. I'm happy with some of the things we did on offense tonight. Obviously, though, it would have been nice to get the win at the same time."
Nice, and much less stressful.
The Falcons are on the outside looking in on the 4-4A playoff picture, with losses to district leaders Ryan and Rider. With just four games remaining, Lake Dallas can't afford many more slip-ups if it hopes to stay in the race for the postseason.
Rider (3-3, 2-0), meanwhile, is in the thick of things.
After beating Little Elm 35-14 last week, the Raiders are looking to be firmly in position to nab one of the district's four playoffs spots.
They jumped on Lake Dallas quickly, driving down the field in less than three minutes to open the game and scoring on a 16-yard run by Deron Royster, followed by a successful two-point conversion.
Lake Dallas fired back on its next drive, using 64 yards passing by quarterback Dayln Williams to march to the Raider 4-yard line. Tre Dickerson then managed to punch it into the end zone after breaking a tackle at the line of scrimmage.
Things started to settle down after that, but Rider did manage to extend its lead before halftime on another touchdown run by Royster, from 6 yards out, followed by another conversion.
The Falcons struggled to pin down Rider's single-wing rushing attack, which ran up a total of 257 yards on 39 carries including 189 yards and three scores by Royster.
Those struggles were exacerbated by the loss of safety Ferrando Joseph, who went down on the second play of the game with an apparent ankle injury and was out the rest of the night.
"He's one of the better defensive players in the district, I think, and definitely one of ours," Young said. "Losing him really hurt us."
Royster, meanwhile, who ran for 180 yards and four touchdowns last week against the Lobos, has 369 yards and seven touchdowns in his last two games.
"They're just good at what they do," Young said. "[Royster] is a good runner. He broke a lot of tackles on us tonight, and that's really what hurt us."
On offense, meanwhile, Lake Dallas seemed to have a breakout night behind the play of Williams, who rushed for 113 yards on 16 carries while passing for 145 yards and a touchdown. Williams had much better protection from his offensive line compared with last week against Ryan, and he made a variety of plays with his feet.
The only problem? The Falcons weren't scoring points.
Lake Dallas left at least 13 points on the field for a variety of reasons, be it missed field goals due to lost field position from penalties or a fourth-down incompletion in the red zone early in the fourth quarter.
The Falcons had six penalties for 70 yards on the night and turned it over twice on interceptions.
That included one at the end of the game when, after the Falcons got one last chance following a fumble recovery by the defense with less than two minutes remaining, Williams was picked off by Rider defensive back Esse Gutierrez.
"It's funny how that works," Young said. "It just seems like some nights that happens, and I credit them - they made the plays. I thought we had a couple of good ones down there, especially on the fourth-down play. They made the plays, though, and we didn't."
MARSHALL MOORE can be reached at 940-566-6869. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
WF Rider 23, Lake Dallas 15
Lake Dallas 7 0 0 7 - 15
WF Rider 8 8 7 0 - 23
WFR -Deron Royster 16 run (Conversion successful), 9:05
LD -Tre Dickerson 4 run (Womack kick), 4:52
WFR -Royster 6 run (Conversion successful), 6:21
WFR -Royster 6 run (Brandon Williams kick), 4:24
LD -Tyler Vance 12 pass from Dayln Williams (Conversion successful), 3:40
First downs 16 15
Rushing yards 34-202 39-257
Passing yards 145 40
Total yards 347 297
Passing 11-25-2 5-9-0
Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-1
Punts-avg. 1-42.0 2-33.5
Penalties-yads 6-70 5-55
Rushing: LD - Dayln Williams 16-113, Dontonio Jordan 8-60, Tre Dickerson 5-18, Tyler Waller 4-10, Ryan Vaught 1-1. WFR - Deron Royster 25-189, J.T. Barrett 8-33, Tyler Cardwell 2-29, Malcom Carter 2-5, Tevin Aldridge 2-1.
Passing: LD - Dayln Williams 11-24-2-145, Marshall Dominey 0-1-0-0. WFR - Malcolm Carter 5-6-0-40. T.J. Barrett 0-3-0-0.
Receiving: LD - Dontonio Jordan 4-62, Tyler Vance 3-44, Tre Dickerson 2-33, Jerrett Cheadle 1-5, Michal Jurcak 1-1. WFR - Tevin Aldridge 2-15, T.J. Barrett 1-14, Tyler Cardwell 1-11, Graham McGregor 1-0.