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Ryan wide receiver Billy Bowman Jr. (2) runs after he catches a pass, while Poteet defensive back Jalen Hodo (1) chases him at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex Aug. 30 in Denton.

There’s nothing wrong with a bye week unless it falls really early in the season. Then it just feels super weird.

No. 2 Ryan experienced that for the second year in a row last week. Just as the Raiders had built momentum coming off two impressive wins, they were forced to sit back and relax for Week 3. While not ideal, head coach Dave Henigan said his coaching staff and players made the most of it.

“It’s weird to have it early like that, but it is what it is,” Henigan said. “We focused on ourselves and how we can get better, and I think it ended up being a good week. We’re excited to be back playing on Friday night, though.”

In what will be their first live action since Sept. 6, Ryan (2-0) hosts West Mesquite (0-3) at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex at 7 p.m. Friday in their final nondistrict tilt before District 4-5A Division I play begins next week.

Not only do the Raiders finally get to play again, but this game kicks off a stretch where they’ll play six of their final eight games at home.

“We’re trying to find a way to improve every week,” Henigan said. “If we want to be the best versions of ourselves at the end of the season, it’s very important that we focus on what matters most — us.”

When Ryan and the Wranglers met last year, Ryan won 38-3. To have a similar outcome, the Raiders will have to do a better job of protecting the football.

Ryan had five turnovers against Keller Fossil Ridge, and managed just 241 yards of offense a week after nearly racking up 500 in a 52-6 win over Mesquite Poteet.

They’ll have to do it without Alabama pledge Drew Sanders, who will miss a second straight game due to illness. Quarterback Seth Henigan has thrown for 374 yards and six touchdowns. Emani Bailey has 222 rushing yards and three touchdowns (two receiving, one rushing) in two games, and Ja’Tavion Sanders has seven catches for 102 yards.

Defensively, Ryan must find a way to slow down running back and Texas commit Ty Jordan. Including this season, Jordan has 2,197 yards and 26 touchdowns since 2017. In last week’s 34-31 loss to Timber Creek, he piled up 143 rushing yards and 62 more through the passing game to go with three total touchdowns.

“They have the best running back we might play all year. He’s a special player,” Henigan said. “They are younger on defense than they were a year ago, but it will be a challenge for us.”

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

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