High School Football

Denton Ryan shuts out Birdville, sets up another semifinal match with Highland Park

The Birdville defense stuff Denton Ryan wide receiver Billy Bowman Jr (2) during the first half, Saturday night, December 8, 2018 in the 5A Division I quarterfinal playoff game played at the Ford Center in Frisco, TX.
The Birdville defense stuff Denton Ryan wide receiver Billy Bowman Jr (2) during the first half, Saturday night, December 8, 2018 in the 5A Division I quarterfinal playoff game played at the Ford Center in Frisco, TX. Special to the Star-Telegram

Playing Denton Ryan for the second time in five weeks, Birdville hoped to have a better outcome than it had in the first meeting when the Hawks lost by 21.

It wasn’t to be.

The Hawks played better defense, but so did the Raiders as Ryan carved up Birdville, 28-0, in a Class 5A Division I quarterfinal on Saturday at the Ford Center.

Ryan (14-0), ranked No. 3 in the final Associated Press Class 5A state poll, advances to face No. 2 Highland Park (14-0) in the semifinals at noon on Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.


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Both teams played solid defense in the first half, but Birdville (12-2) couldn’t take advantage of a Ryan miscue while the Raiders made the Hawks pay for a slight of their own.

Ryan fumbled on its second snap of the game and Birdville linebacker Marcus Duckworth recovered at the Raiders’ 34 yard line. Four plays netted only 4 yards and the Hawks turned the ball over on downs when a perfect Stone Earle pass was dropped in the end zone.

The Raiders answered with a 10-play, 70-yard drive capped by a 10-yard scoring run by Emani Bailey. A 47-yard pass play from quarterback Seth Henigan to Oklahoma commit Drew Sanders set up the TD that gave Ryan a 7-0 lead with 4:56 left in the first quarter.

From that point, both defenses ruled as the teams traded 6 punts, 5 of which were after 3 and outs. Sanders was all over the field at receiver and at linebacker for Ryan helping to hold Birdville to 1 first down and 25 yards of total offense in the first half. The Hawks moved the chains 6 times for the game and finished with 118 total yards.

With 4:37 left in the first half Ryan linebacker Ahmad Terry made a superb play, stripping the ball from Earle and falling on it at the Birdville 25 yard line.

On the ensuing play, Henigan found a wide open Keori Hicks over the middle for a 25-yard touchdown and the Raiders increased their lead to 14-0 with 4:31 left in the first half.

Henigan finished 11 of 17 for 180 yards and 2 TDs.

Birdville star running back Laderrious Mixon struggled in the first half, rushing for 15 yards on 14 carries. Mixon was injured late in the first half on a hard hit by Sanders. Mixon did return to open the second half, but was in for only one play before returning to the bench after limping noticeably.

It was much of the same in the second half as Ryan was in control and never really threatened.

Sanders scored on a 10-yard run with 2:51 left in the third quarter to up the lead to 21-0. The junior converted a 3rd and 4 with a 20-yard reception and Bailey picked up 8 yards on a 4th and 1 to keep the drive alive.

Birdville did drive from its own 30 to the Ryan 25, but a Hawk fumble at the Raiders 18 yard line was scooped up by Ryan’s Tra Smith to end the threat.

The Raiders took over and covered 78 yards in 7 plays to put the game out of reach. Jamarion Robertson, wide open on the right sideline, hauled in a 48-yard scoring pass from Henigan to with 7:34 left.

Birdville has struggled with Denton schools in the playoffs with 5 losses in 6 playoff appearances since the 2012 season. The Hawks have lost twice to Guyer, in 2012 and the quarterfinals in 2013, once to Denton High in 2014, and twice to Ryan in 2017 and this year.

Ryan defeated Birdville 49-28 in the final regular season game.

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