World News – USA – Denton Ryan is one win away from two straight state championships after beating archenemy Highland Park

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17:39 on 1. January 1, 2021 CST – Updated at 10:16 p.m. on Jan.. January 2021 CST

ARLINGTON – As Ja’Tavion Sanders celebrated on the pitch in the moments after Denton Ryan finally defeated his longtime playoff enemy, the All-American Under Armor reinforced what many across the state have long suspected.

It certainly seems to be Denton Ryan’s year after the No.. 2 Highland Park 17-7 in a defensive fight on Friday in the Class 5A Division I Region II finals at Globe Life Park. Denton Ryan needs two more wins to claim his first national title since 2002, but he has exorcised many demons by avenging three losses to Highland Park in the 2016-2018 semi-finals.

Ryan watched Highland Park win national titles after all three games.

« We knew it was a team that a lot of people said we couldn’t beat, » said Denton Ryan’s other four-star All-American recipient and defenseman Billy Bowman Jr. . “Of course we wanted to show people that we can beat them. We only focus on one goal. That’ll ring this year. ”

Denton Ryan beat Highland Park 17-7 to reach the semi-finals. #txhsfb @dctf @ihss_dfw @dentonisd ​​@SportsDayHS pic. Twitter. com / g7xgCY2CUk

The statistics suggested it was going to be a shootout with both crimes averaging over 40 points in Friday. But Denton Ryan beat Highland Park for the first time since 2004, keeping the six-time national champion at its lowest level since a 44-3 loss to Aledo in the 2013 season opener.

« A lot of people know us as the state’s best defense, » Bowman said. « I think we are the best defense in the country. ”

Highland Park averaged 43. 6 points and 454. 6 yards but only had three games over 18 yards and bumps six times, two punts more than the first three playoff games combined. The Scots managed just 229 yards – 89 of them in a goalless second half – and three-star quarterback Brayden Schager (signed to Hawaii) was only 13 out of 33 for 165 yards, with a touchdown pass and an interception after hitting 32 Touchdowns had posted in the first 11 games.

Ryan (13-0), ranked No.. 9 in the Nation, by MaxPreps, will play in a state semifinal at 7pm for the fifth year in a row. m. next Friday at the AT&T Stadium. His opponent will be Mansfield Summit, who finished fourth in his district but will play in its first semifinal after shocking rivals Colleyville Heritage and Red Oak for the past two weeks.

Denton Ryan has been 83-5 since the start of the 2015 season, but a state title is hard to pin down. Last season was particularly agonizing when Seth Henigan’s pass into the end zone of the last game of the game was knocked away in the last second and Alvin Shadow Creek escaped with a 28:22 win in the state title game.

Highland Park had failed in just one game – and by just one point – the entire season before Friday. But the Scots (11-1) fell 17-7 at halftime after Clayton Roblyer scored a field goal of 34 meters in the final game of half – after Highland Park called three consecutive time outs to try to freeze him.

WOW! Check out this sensational one-handed TD catch from Ja’Tavion Sanders, the @TexasFootball signatory, to give Denton Ryan an early 7-0 lead over Highland Park. #txhsfb @dctf @dentonisd ​​@ihss_dfw @hpisdschools @SportsDayHS pic. Twitter. com / J4YcTYRvzH

Sanders is a nature freak, a 6-4, 220-pound defensive end who is also one of the best wide-angle receivers in the state. The five-star signatory from Texas made one incredible catch after another, and he started the scoring on another Friday.

On Denton Ryan’s first drive, Henigan threw a pass from the 8-yard line into the end zone and Sanders made a one-handed catch for the touchdown between two defenders. What made it so spectacular was that he just reached up and felt the ball.

« I didn’t mean to do it. It just happened, ”said Sanders, who finished five catches for 84 yards. “Big-time players play big-time games. ”

Long TD pass from Memphis signer Seth Henigan to @ OU_Football signer Billy Bowman Jr. . Denton Ryan extends 2:10 in the first quarter to 14-0 against Highland Park. #txhsfb @SportsDayHS @hpisdschools @dentonisd ​​@dctf @ihss_dfw pic. Twitter. com / 0o0vxwiMS0

Bowman made his own big game, scoring a 61-yard touchdown pass from Henigan 2:10 in the first quarter to extend Ryan’s lead to 14-0. The Oklahoma Signee had eight catches for 136 yards, all in the first half.

A Denton Ryan crime averaging 47. 3 points were blocked in the second half, but that didn’t matter. Ryan was only the second team to drop Highland Park under 30 points this season, taking three-and-out wins to six of the Scots’ ten possessions.

Highland Park reduced Ryan’s lead to 14: 7 on a 29-yard touchdown pass from Schager to a sliding Crockett Corwin, who had 20 seconds left in the first quarter. That was two games after Grayson Closet made a sensational dive to take a 26-yard gain in third and tenth places and get the ball on Ryan’s 30-yard line.

Highland Park lost 14-0 when that game gave them a spark. Grayson Closet’s exceptional catch for a 26 yard win resulted in an HP touchdown two games later. #txhsfb @dctf @dentonisd ​​@ihss_dfw @hpisdschools @SportsDayHS pic. Twitter. com / s5kfVCtJOW

Great sliding catch from Crockett Corwin of Highland Park on Brayden Schager’s 30 yard TD pass to bring Denton Ryan 20 seconds ahead to 14-7 in the first quarter. #txhsfb @SportsDayHS @hpisdschools @dentonisd ​​@dctf @ihss_dfw pic. Twitter. com / V7cj0tB541

But it was a game of missed opportunities for a Highland Park team ranked # 1. 24 in the nation.

Highland Park blocked a 42-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter and then flipped the ball on downs at Ryan’s 23-yard line after having an incomplete pass on fourth-and-1 7:44 had thrown the game. Highland Park hit Ryan’s 30-yard line on his final drive, but an interception by Garyreon Robinson put an end to all hopes of a miraculous comeback.

Big game in the first half when Denton Ryan blocked a 42-yard field goal attempt by Highland Park to keep a 14-7 lead in the second quarter. #txhsfb @dctf @dentonisd ​​@ihss_dfw @hpisdschools @SportsDayHS pic. Twitter. com / Zvbdo1IYXN

« Our defenses turned off the lights and kept us in the game. We had chances and just couldn’t make it to the end zone, ”said Highland Park coach Randy Allen after his team suffered only their second playoff defeat in the past five years. “We needed a big piece. It’s hard to drive the ball in this type of defense. ”

This was an almost completely different Ryan team than when the teams last met. Only four of the current players were on the field for the 2018 semi-finals.

« The team we have has never played Highland Park, » said Ryan manager Dave Henigan. “Our coaching staff played Highland Park. Really, it’s as good as anything a monkey off our backs. ”

1/18 Denton Ryan players storm the field as they run through their team shield before the opening start of their game against Highland Park. The two teams played on 1. January 2021 at Globe Life Park in Arlington their last football playoff game of the Class 5A Division l Region II. (Steve Hamm / Special Contributor) (Steve Hamm)

2/18 fans of Denton Ryan cheer for their team during fourth quarter action against Highland Park. The Ryan Raiders defeated Highland Park 17-7 to move forward. The two teams played on 1. January 2021 at Globe Life Park in Arlington their last football playoff game of the Class 5A Division l Region II. (Steve Hamm / Special Contributor) (Steve Hamm)

3/18 Denton Ryan, who is running back Kalib Hicks (10), receives the handover from quarterback Seth Henigan (9) for a first half in his game against Highland Park. Denton Ryan defeated Highland Park 17-7 to move forward. The two teams played on 1. January 2021 at Globe Life Park in Arlington their last football playoff game of the Class 5A Division l Region II. (Steve Hamm / Special Contributor) (Steve Hamm)

4/18 Denton Ryan receiver Ja’Tavion Sanders (1) tries to regain a loose ball after a blocked field goal attempt against Highland Park in the second quarter. Ryan took the ball back and defeated Highland Park 17-7 to move forward. The two teams played on 1. January 2021 at Globe Life Park in Arlington their last football playoff game of the Class 5A Division l Region II. (Steve Hamm / Special Contributor) (Steve Hamm)

5/18 Denton Ryan defender Ty Marsh (4), center, was part of an aggressive rush when he blocked a field goal attempt by Highland Park kicker Jack Stone (60) in the second quarter. Denton Ryan defeated Highland Park 17-7 to move forward. The two teams played on 1. January 2021 at Globe Life Park in Arlington their last football playoff game of the Class 5A Division l Region II. (Steve Hamm / Special Contributor) (Steve Hamm)

6/18 Denton Ryan recipient Ja’Tavion Sanders (1) attacks after a reception in the first half as Highland Park defenders Walker Cobb, 27 and Ford Frazar, 28, work on him the raiders attacking bank. The two teams played on 1. January 2021 at Globe Life Park in Arlington their last football playoff game of the Class 5A Division l Region II. (Steve Hamm / Special Contributor) (Steve Hamm)

7/18 Denton Ryan recipient Ja’Tavion Sanders (1) smiled to move forward after the Raiders’ 17-7 win over Highland Park. The two teams played on 1. January 2021 at Globe Life Park in Arlington their last football playoff game of the Class 5A Division l Region II. (Steve Hamm / Special Contributor) (Steve Hamm)

8 / 18Denton Ryan’s Brody Quillin (8) celebrates on the field with teammates after the Raiders’ 17: 7 victory over Highland Park to move forward. The two teams played on 1. January 2021 at Globe Life Park in Arlington their last football playoff game of the Class 5A Division l Region II. (Steve Hamm / Special Contributor) (Steve Hamm)

9/18 Highland Park defensive end Jack Curtis (95) talks to Denton Ryan recipient Ja’Tavion Sanders (1) in midfield after Ryan’s 17-7 win to move forward. The two teams played on 1. January 2021 at Globe Life Park in Arlington their last football playoff game of the Class 5A Division l Region II. (Steve Hamm / Special Contributor) (Steve Hamm)

10/18Denton Ryan head coach Dave Henigan speaks to his players after the 17-7 win over Highland Park to move forward. The two teams played on 1. January 2021 at Globe Life Park in Arlington their last football playoff game of the Class 5A Division l Region II. (Steve Hamm / Special Contributor) (Steve Hamm)

11/18 Highland Park quarterback Brayden Schager (13) rolls out of the backfield during first-half action against Denton Ryan looking for a receiver. The two teams played on 1. January 2021 at Globe Life Park in Arlington their last football playoff game of the Class 5A Division l Region II. (Steve Hamm / Special Contributor) (Steve Hamm)

12/18 Denton Ryan receiver Ja’Tavion Sanders (11) reaches but fails to score a touchdown pass as Highland Park defenders Blake Bevins, 31 and Garrison Vincent defend in the second quarter. The two teams played on 1. January 2021 at Globe Life Park in Arlington their last football playoff game of the Class 5A Division l Region II. (Steve Hamm / Special Contributor) (Steve Hamm)

13/18 Denton Ryan recipient Ja’Tavion Sanders (1) makes a one-handed touchdown between coverage of Highland Park defenders Garrison Vincent (11) and Ford Frazar (28) in the first quarter. The two teams played on 1. January 2021 at Globe Life Park in Arlington their last football playoff game of the Class 5A Division l Region II. (Steve Hamm / Special Contributor) (Steve Hamm)

14/18 Highland Park quarterback Brayden Schager (13) appears to be behind the protection of offensive lineman Will Gibson (79) when Denton Ryan defender Mason Davis (5) moves in in the first half. The two teams played on 1. January 2021 at Globe Life Park in Arlington their last football playoff game of the Class 5A Division l Region II. (Steve Hamm / Special Contributor) (Steve Hamm)

15/18 Highland Park recipient Grayson Shrank (40) pulls a long pass in the first quarter in front of Denton Ryan’s defender Kaden Kelly (28) in the first quarter. The two teams played on 1. January 2021 at Globe Life Park in Arlington their last football playoff game of the Class 5A Division l Region II. (Steve Hamm / Special Contributor) (Steve Hamm)

16/18 Highland Park defender Jack Curtis (95) just missed blocking a pass from Denton Ryan quarterback Seth Henigan (9) as he worked behind the pass protection of offensive lineman Daniel Daub (50) in the first quarter. The two teams played on 1. January 2021 at Globe Life Park in Arlington their last football playoff game of the Class 5A Division l Region II. (Steve Hamm / Special Contributor) (Steve Hamm)

17/18 Denton Ryan quarterback Seth Henigan (9) starts a pass downfield in the first half against Highland Park. The two teams played on 1. January 2021 at Globe Life Park in Arlington their last football playoff game of the Class 5A Division l Region II. (Steve Hamm / Special Contributor) (Steve Hamm)

18/18 A youth gets his message across to Denton Ryan fans in the opening quarter of his game against Highland Park. The two teams played on 1. January 2021 at Globe Life Park in Arlington their last football playoff game of the Class 5A Division l Region II. (Steve Hamm / Special Contributor) (Steve Hamm)

Greg Riddle, SportsDayHS writer and editor. I’ve been with the Dallas Morning News since 2000. As a reporter, I cover high school sports and I help coordinate our coverage. I graduated from the TCU, where I ran track and cross country. I previously worked at Weatherford Democrat, Marshall News Messenger, Amarillo Globe-News, and Arlington Morning News.

Find out all the cutting edge topics, storylines, stats, photos, and more about high school sports in Texas.

Ryan High School, American Football, Highland Park, Las Vegas Raiders, Championship, Playoffs

World News – USA – Denton Ryan is a win away from the back-to-back state championship Appearances after defeating archenemy Highland Park

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