The Rider Raiders fought the #2 Denton Ryan Raiders tooth and nail for 48 minutes Thursday night at Memorial Stadium, but the visitors came up with one more big play than the home team, in a 20-17 Ryan win.
In our Dr Pepper Game of the Week, the visiting Raiders built a 17-0 lead, most of it in a short span from the end of the first quarter to the start of the second, where they got a 72-yard touchdown run by Jerrick Harvey, then a fumbled kickoff led to another Ryan score.
But Rider didn't go away.
J.T. Barrett found Brandon Williams for a 49-yard touchdown off a great play-action fake midway through the second quarter, and the bands hit the field with Ryan leading 17-7.
Rider's defense came out strong in the second half, forcing a Ryan punt, then Rider drove the field for an Anthony Wagner touchdown that cut the Ryan lead to 17-14.
Cal Johnson added a field goal for the Raiders to tie things late in the third quarter.
Rider stopped Denton Ryan on a 4th-and-goal at the 1-yard line in the fourth quarter, then with about 90 seconds to play, new North Texas signee Dylan McDorman blocked a Mark Orozco field goal attempt that would have given Ryan the lead.
But with Rider driving down for a potential winning field goal of their own, Texas commit Alex De La Torre picked off a J.T. Barrett pass in the flat, returning it down to the Rider 29 yard line.
After Ryan ran down the clock, Orozco made good on his second chance, hitting a 41-yard field goal to give Ryan the final margin.