…Cowboys score 30 unanswered points to win season opener
The Ryan Cowboys rallied from an 18-point deficit to earn a hard-fought 30-18 victory over Thackerville last Friday night at Bob Givens Sports Complex.
The Cowboys are back in action tomorrow night when they will play host to Wilson. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. in the contest that was originally scheduled to be played at Wilson.
The Eagles will bring a 1-1 record to Ryan after dropping a 56-6 verdict to Hollis. Wilson won its season opener with a 56-8 victory over Thackerville.
There is an old saying in the sports world – “it was a tale of two halves.”
And, that saying could describe perfectly what happened last Friday night on the Cowboys home turf.
Thackerville took advantage of two Ryan turnovers and some critical Ryan mistakes to hold an 18-0 lead at the intermission.
But, the Cowboys came out of the locker room in the second half and executed offensively and defensively to near perfection in putting up 30 points to come away with the first victory of the 2022 season.
Thackerville received the opening kickoff and moved from its own 28 to the Ryan 16 in 12 plays using 5:05 of the first quarter clock, but the Ryan defense came up with a big fourth down stop and the Cowboys took over on downs.
The Cowboys struggled offensively to open the contest. The next Cowboy possession netted only 21 yards and was hampered by two Ryan penalties.
A fumble recovery by the Wildcats’ Bryson McGilvray ended the drive and gave the Wildcats the ball at the Ryan 34.
On the first play, Austin Tyre got behind the Ryan defense and caught a pass and slipped a Cowboy defender to complete a 34-yard scoring play. The two-point conversion failed, but the Wildcats had a 6-0 lead with 49 seconds left in the first frame.
The two teams exchanged punts and after a Ryan penalty on a punt return the Cowboys set up at their own 33.
The Cowboys moved to the Thackerville 29 after a brilliant catch by Julian Rodriguez that resulted in a 24-yard gain, but on the next play, the ball was snapped over the head of the quarterback and the gain was nearly wiped out.
Another sack of quarterback Racen Williams and a short run had the Cowboys in a fourth and long. Hoping to catch the Wildcats off guard, Ryan called a fake punt, but was stopped after a seven-yard gain.
This gave Thackerville possession at midfield and it took the Wildcats 11 plays to get another score.
Tyre caught a 13-yard pass from Justice Rodriguez for the touchdown. The Cowboys again stopped the two-point conversion, but with only 2:32 left before the half, the Wildcats increased the lead to 12-0.
Ryan’s offense sputtered once again as McGilvray fell on another Ryan fumble giving the Wildcats the ball at the Ryan 25.
Justice Rodriguez again found Tyre open on the first play of the possession and the pair connected on a 25-yard scoring play with just 26 seconds left in the first half. The Cowboy defense again stopped the two-point conversion, but the Wildcats took an 18-0 lead at the half.
The Cowboys were a different team in the second half and it was on display on their first possession.
Ryan took the ball to start the second half \ at its own 34 and three rushes by Carsen Rodriguez produced 15 yards.
On a third down play, Williams got outside around the right end and sped 51 yards for the Cowboys’ first score. Williams ran for the two-point conversion and the lead was trimmed to 18-8 with 10:14 showing in the third quarter.
The Wildcats looked like they would answer the Cowboy score as they marched from the Thackerville 32 to the Ryan 11, but the Cowboy defense rose up and the next four plays produced only two yards and Ryan took over on downs at its own nine.
It took only three plays to drive 91 yards with the big play being an 83-yard touchdown by Williams. After a bad snap, Williams went right, got around the corner and then broke toward the middle of the field and outran the Wildcat defense to the end zone.
Xavier Guzman added the two-point conversion and with 5:30 left in the third quarter the Cowboys had drawn to within two points at 18-16.
At this point, the momentum shift was on full display.
The two teams exchanged possessions and after a short Thackerville punt early in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys launched the go-ahead drive.
The Cowboys went 60 yards in 10 plays – overcoming a penalty and converting two fourth downs – for the score.
On the second fourth-down conversion, Guzman found Julian Rodriguez for a 21-yard completion and then on first down at the 16, Guzman took the ball around the left side and raced into the end zone for the score.
After a five-yard penalty on the try for two points, Williams found Julian Rodriguez for the successful two-point conversion and Ryan had its first lead of the season, 24-18, with 5:38 left in the game.
On the Wildcats’ next possession, Ethan Burden intercepted a Wildcat pass and raced 61 yards for what was thought to be a clinching score. But, a penalty after the interception on the Cowboys erased the return, but Ryan did have possession with 4:05 left in the game at the Cowboy 39.
The Cowboys needed to melt the clock but faced a third-and-15 at its own 34 when Williams found Will Townsend behind the Wildcat defenders for a 30-yard pass completion.
The next two plays resulted in 25 yards of penalties assessed to the Wildcats and Ryan was at the Thackerville 11.
On the first play, the Cowboys fumbled, but Kyson Tomberlin wrestled the ball away from the Thackerville defender to allow Ryan to retain possession.
On the next play, Guzman took off around the right end and eluded a Thackerville defender at the goal line for an 11-yard touchdown run. Guzman’s run for the two points was stopped at the goal line, but Ryan had a 30-18 lead with only 1:36 left in the game.
The Wildcats got possession at midfield, but with no timeouts they were forced into hurry-up mode.
Thackerville made one first down, but a 15-yard penalty with only 37 seconds left put the Wildcats into a fourth and long situation and a running play came up short of the line to gain and Ryan took over on downs and the clock expired.
Williams led the Cowboys in rushing with 193 yards on just 18 carries.
Foreman Casebolt was brilliant on defense for the Cowboys with 12 solo tackles and two assists.
Guzman added seven solo tackles – including two key stops during the contest. He also had an assisted tackle.
COWBOY CORRAL: This was the first victory in a season opener for the Cowboys since the 2017 season when the Cowboys downed Thackerville, 40-8…The 30 points scored was also the most points scored by Ryan in a season opener since that 2017 contest with the Wildcats….This was also the first season-opening win by the Cowboys under fifth-year coach Tony Tomberlin….The Cowboys are 4-2 in season openers played against Thackerville….With this win, the Cowboys are now 58-39-6 in season openers, but have dropped seven of the last nine season openers….Ryan is 11-11 in season openers since the turn of the century and stand at 27-17 since beginning eight-man play in 1978….The Cowboys lead the series with Thackerville, 22-11….The win over the Wildcats broke a three-game losing skid against Thackerville.
Game in Figures
First Downs 19 17
Yards Rushing 41-199 45-265
Yards Passing 125 92
Passes 8-19 4-8
Passes Int. By 0 1
Fumbles, Lost 3-0 3-2
Punts 2-15.5 1-35
Penalties 6-55 12-110
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Thackerville 6 12 0 0—18
Ryan 0 0 16 14—30
THACKERVILLE – Austin Tyre 34 pass from Justice Rodrigue (run failed), :49
THACKERVILLE – Tyre 13 pass from Rodriguez (run failed), 2:32
THACKERVILLE – Tyre 25 pass from Rodriguez (run failed), :26
RYAN – Racen Williams 51 run (Williams run), 10:14
RYAN – Williams 83 run (Xavier Guzman run), 5:30
RYAN – Guzman 16 run (Julian Rodriguez pass from Williams), 5:38
RYAN – Guzman 11 run (run failed), 1:36
THACKERVILLE: Rushing – Lucas Rickwa 11-63, Aziz Hernandez 12-59, Justice Rodriguez 9-43, Austin Tyre 7-24, Andy Cabrera 2-10; Passes – Rodriguez 8-19-125-1; Receiving – Tyre 4-102, Cabrera 1-16, Hernandez 1-5, Rickwa1-1, Micah Wolfe 1-1.
RYAN: Rushing – Racen Williams 18-193, Carsen Rodriguez 20-56, Xavier Guzman 6-39, Team 1-(1-23); Passes – Williams 3-7-71-0; Guzman 1-1-21; Receiving – Will Townsend 2-47, Julian Rodriguez 2-45; Tackles – Foreman Casebolt 14, Guzman 7.5, Williams 5, J. Rodriguez 4, Larry Sewell 3, Mason Adsit 3, Andrew Scott 2.5, Will Townsend 2, Maddox Dabbs 1, Daylen Vandoozer 1, C. Rodriguez 1, Ethan Burden 1, Will Regher 1, Aaron Ortiz 1, Kyson Tomberlin .5, Alex Uribe .5.