Trey Flint’s heroics were not enough to overcome unbeaten Denton Ryan (6-0, 3-0 in District 4-5A) as the Raiders held on to win, 45-30, Friday night at Dragon Stadium.
Flint, Colleyville Heritage’s fiesty, all-purpose senior quarterback, was 17-30-1 passing for 268 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran 26 times for 90 yards and a touchdown to keep drives alive and convert first downs.
In the first half, gambling Heritage converted two fourth downs, fourth-and-two and fourth-and-three en route to a 13-play, 75-yard drive that pulled Heritage (3-3,2-1) to within one, 7-6 in the first quarter.
In fact, Heritage converted six of seven fourth down attempts in the game.
Ryan, though, added two more touchdown scores, including a 94-yard pass from Seth Henigan Delshun Neal, who caught it near midfield and ran the rest of the way for a 21-6 lead.
It looked like it might be a rout, but Heritage kept coming back even though it never led as the two schools alternated the next four touchdowns. Not only did the Panthers risk fourth downs, they also tried onside kicks three times, none of which were successful.
The only score in the third quarter was a gift by Heritage after a hike from center sailed over the Heritage punter’s head. He got it away but for only a net gain of four yards that enabled Ryan to set up shop at the Hertitage 33. It led to a Ryan touchdown and a 35-23 lead midway in the third quarter.
Heritage was without the services of running back Alex Parker who was out with an injury. One of hi replacements, Cooper Roe, had 60 yards on 15 carries.
Game was over when: T.J. Walker scooped up a fumble and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown and a 42-23 lead with 9:20 left in the game. The ball was jarred loose by a Ryan teammate who knocked it out of Flint’s arm from his blind side as the quarterback cocked his arm back to pass.
Play of the game: Heritage never gave up and a 40-yard diving sideline reception by Jacob Fex to the 3-yard line led to a touchdown to make it 42-30 with 5:42 left.
Offensive player of the game: Besides Flint, Ryan running back Emani Bailey rushed 12 times for 125 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensive player of the game: Hogan Wasson of Heritage provided some excitement just before intermission when the freshman’s interception threatened to tie up the game. His pick near midfield set the Panthers up at the Denton 22 with 35 seconds left and his team down, 28-20, with a pair of timeouts. However, the Ryan defense held and Chase Allen’s 43-yard field goal was good as time expired to pull the Panthers within five, 28-23.
Unsung hero of the game: Kam Brown showed why he is a Texas A&M signee as he made a fingertip catch in stride in the end zone despite tight double coverage from Flint for Heritage’s first touchdown, a 27-yarder, to make it, 7-6, Ryan.
What’s next? Denton Ryan is again on the road against Carrollton Creekview at Standridge Stadium in Carrollton at 7 p.m. on Thursday. Standridge Stadium will also be the setting the following night at the same starting time between Colleyville Heritage and Carrollton Turner.