Ryan advance

Ryan running back Ke’Ori Hicks carries the ball during the Raiders’ win over Denton last week at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex. The Raiders face Frisco Wakeland Thursday.

Ryan Raiders coach Dave Henigan said earlier this week that he can’t remember if he’s ever had this quick of a turnaround between games, regular season or playoffs. But in the same breath, he added that having to prepare for a second game in less than a week is the best thing that could happen to his program.

After cruising to a dominant 41-0 win over Denton on Saturday, the Raiders turn their attention to Frisco Wakeland for a Thursday night District 5-5A Division I showdown at Toyota Stadium in Frisco. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. Thursday.

“It’s a quick turnaround. But after being off, practicing for a day, getting our feet wet in a game, and being rusty, it’s good for us to get some practices back in but then get right back out there,” Henigan said.

Before Saturday, Ryan hadn’t played since Oct. 2 due to COVID-19 concerns within the program. The program’s quarantine was lifted Friday.

“We have an opportunity to play again and get back into the groove of things,” Henigan said. “I like it, to be honest with you.”

Thursday’s game is the first-ever meeting between Ryan and Frisco Wakeland and features two unbeaten teams.

Wakeland (4-0, 2-0 district) has outscored district opponents 80-20 thus far. That stretch includes a 35-7 win over Frisco Centennial and a 45-13 win last week over The Colony. The Wolverines haven’t allowed more than 13 points in any of their four games this season and have forced 11 turnovers. Five of those came against The Colony.

Wakeland running back Jared White had 192 total yards, including 138 on the ground with two touchdowns last week. Quarterback Peyton Lewis threw for 186 yards and two more scores.

White is the third-leading rusher among 5A running backs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with 560 yards and nine scores.

“They are very well-coached; you can tell by watching film. They play extremely hard, their kids are in the right spots, and they are tough and physical,” Henigan said. “They are pretty balanced, so obviously it starts with stopping the run and then going from there. That doesn’t change regardless of who we are playing. It’s going to be a good challenge for us.”

Ryan (3-0, 1-0 district) is averaging 37 points coming into this game and has a loaded roster with the likes of Billy Bowman Jr., Texas pledge Ja’Tavion Sanders, and quarterback and Memphis commit Seth Henigan. Before their COVID-19 concerns, the Raiders opened the year with wins over Arlington Martin and Guyer. They built just a 7-0 lead over Denton on Saturday before putting the game out of reach with four second-quarter scores. Defensively, Ryan forced three more turnovers in that game, giving it six on the year.

Henigan said any leftover rust should fall off pretty quickly now that things feel like they are returning to normal.

“It was a crazy last few weeks,” Henigan said. “Getting back into the swing of things [Monday] is refreshing.”

STEVE GAMEL can be reached at 469-360-3611 and via Twitter at @NewspaperSteve.

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