NORTH RICHLAND HILLS — Ryan won its fifth straight district title Thursday night while sending a clear message to the rest of the state that they are in it for the long haul when the playoffs start next week.
The Raiders, ranked No. 3 in the state, turned a game that was billed as a potential slugfest between the last two unbeaten teams in District 4-5A Division I into a rout while rolling up 412 yards and forcing two Birdville interceptions in a 41-14 win at the Birdville ISD Fine Arts/Athletics Complex.
Ryan (10-0, 7-0 district) led 41-0 before giving up two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
This was Ryan’s 50th straight regular-season win. Quarterback Seth Henigan led the charge with 256 passing yards and four touchdowns. Drew Sanders caught two of those while throwing for another.
Ryan will host its first-round game at 7 p.m. next Thursday against an opponent to be determined.
“We’ve got to take it week by week, but it’s a great feeling to go 10-0 again,” Seth Henigan said. “We expect to do big things around here, and we do it for our fans.”
Ryan has played in the Class 5A Division I state semifinals in each of the last three seasons and had not lost a regular-season game since the 2014 finale. That streak was far from being in jeopardy Thursday. Birdville (7-3) lost its fourth game in three seasons to the Raiders, including two playoff losses, while being held to 173 yards of offense. Quarterback Stone Earle was intercepted twice by Ryan’s Austin Jordan, both in the first half.
Jordan’s first interception was sandwiched between two Ryan touchdowns inside the first five minutes of the game. Henigan extended that lead to three scores as time expired in the first quarter when he stared down a heavy rush and flipped a screen pass to Emani Bailey, who rumbled in for a 16-yard score.
Bailey finished with just 49 rushing yards but added a 27-yard touchdown to open the third quarter.
By that point, Ryan led 35-0.
Sanders, an Alabama commit, caught a 12-yard touchdown pass with 2:27 to go in the first half, then added another 5-yard touchdown with 6:11 left in the third to cap Ryan’s scoring spree.
His passing touchdown came on Ryan’s first possession of the game, a 5-yard shovel pass to Billy Bowman Jr. Ja’Tavion Sanders added five catches for 91 yards and a score.
“I’m proud of the kids. We played extremely well tonight,” Ryan coach Dave Henigan said. “It was a complete performance from start to finish. Obviously, we will go right back to work. But it feels great. We are trying to make sure the kids have a chance to enjoy these wins, because it’s difficult to do.
“We were locked in.”