A review of the 2018 Ryan High School football season reveals a number of outstanding performances by individuals and by the team.
More importantly, the 2018 season will go down as a season where the Cowboys overachieved preseason expectations.
The Cowboys finished with a 7-4 mark and earned a runner-up finish in District B-4. Ryan was tabbed by most preseason polls to finish fifth in the district.
The season ended with a 58-12 loss to Burns Flat-Dill City in the first round of the Class B playoffs. BFDC advanced to the quarterfinals last week with a 34-26 victory over Pioneer-Pleasant Vale.
Offensively the Cowboys entered the season with talent at the skilled positions with three returning starters.
However, it was the offensive line that was the biggest question.
After the first game, the Cowboy offensive line started to jell and it helped the Cowboy offense to produce the third highest average number of points scored in a season in school history.
The three key offensive linemen were Sam Brown, Justin Williams and Trey Bryant. Andrew Villerreal and Kalen Weldon were key blockers from the receiver positions.
The defense turned in a couple of impressive performances – a shutout victory over hapless Temple in the third game of the season and a key 24-6 district victory over Wilson in the eighth game of the year.
But, for the most part, the defense never was able to stop opponents from gaining lots of yards and scoring points. The Cowboys gave up 50 or more points to three opponents. The amazing thing is they had a 1-2 record in those games.
The Cowboys gave up an average of 350 yards per game to the 11 opponents. Fortunately, the Cowboys were able to average 367 yards of offense per game to help lead them to the winning mark.
The seven wins for the Cowboys has not happened often. Only eight times in 99 seasons have the Cowboys won seven games.
The Cowboys have won seven or more games only 26 times during the 99-year history of football which is just over 25% of the time.
The offense was definitely the key to the success of the 2018 season. Ryan came up just short of having two 1,000-yard rushers.
Grayson Tomberlin was the top ball carrier for the Cowboys with 1,172 yards on 162 carries. Tomberlin had a season-high 273 yards against Bray-Doyle, which was the 12th best mark in school history.
Tomberlin compiled the fourth and seventh best yards passing totals in school history against Bray-Doyle and Maysville, respectively. His four touchdown passes against Bray-Doyle is tied for the fifth most in school history.
The sophomore quarterback finished with 1,688 yards passing and 11 touchdowns.
Skyler Parkhill was just behind Tomberlin’s rushing total with 913 yards on only 107 carries for an average of 8.5 yards per carry. His 228 yards rushing against Empire is tied for the 26th best individual rushing total in school history. His six rushing touchdowns against Empire was the second most in school history.
Parkhill was the leading receiver for the Cowboys with 39 catches for 932 yards – coming up just short of a 1,000-yard double-double in yards rushing and receiving.
In the game against Wilson, Parkhill snagged nine receptions, which is the second most in school history. Parkhill owns that school record with 11 catches in a game during his freshman season. The four-year starter for the Cowboys also had two other games with seven receptions, which tied him for the fifth most in school history.
Parkhill also broke the school record for most yards receiving in a game. He totaled 215 yards receiving against Bray-Doyle to set the record. He also had 189 yards receiving against Maysville and Caddo and that is the second most yards receiving on the school record books. His 154 yards receiving against Wilson is the eighth best mark in school history.
In the game against Bray-Doyle, Parkhill had four receptions for scores and that is the top mark in school history.
As you might expect the two Cowboy performers led the team in scoring in 2018. Parkhill total 176 points for the season with 48 coming against Bray-Doyle – the most in school history. Parkhill had 15 rushing touchdowns and 10 touchdown receptions. He also had an interception return for a touchdown. Parkhill also had nine two-point conversion runs and one two-point conversion reception.
Parkhill’s interception return was the longest in school history – 99 yards against Empire.
Travis Fristoe contributed to the Cowboy rushing game. He became eligible after the season started, but had 277 yards rushing and scored five touchdowns on the ground. He also had a touchdown reception.
Weldon was another top target of Tomberlin in the passing game. The Cowboy senior finished with 18 receptions for 319 yards and three touchdown receptions. He also returned a fumble for a score and had five two-point conversion receptions.
As a team, the Cowboy offense did not produce any school records but did record some impressive marks in several categories.
The 276 yards passing against Bray-Doyle was the fourth highest total in school history and the 642 yards against the Donkeys represents the fourth highest total in school history.
Ryan had 12 receptions in games against Maysville, Wilson and Central High which ties for the ninth most in school history.
The 24 first downs earned against Bray-Doyle were the third most in school history. And, the 152 points scored by Bray-Doyle and Ryan combined set a new school mark. The 98 points scored by Ryan and Grandfield tied for the seventh most in school history.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Cowboys gave up the fourth most points in a game in school history as Bray-Doyle hit the Cowboys for 74 points. The 507 yards gained by Bray-Doyle in the game was the sixth highest total by an opponent in school history.
Caddo rolled up 502 yards on the Cowboys and that mark is the seventh-highest total in school history.
The Cowboys had six seniors that completed their gridiron careers – Williams, Parkhill, Weldon, Brown, Pacen Wiest and Fristoe.
Here is a look back at some of the Cowboy games during the season:
Best All-Around Performance: A 24-6 victory over Wilson in what were awful playing conditions.
Most Dramatic Win: The memorable 78-74 victory over Bray-Doyle tops the list of exciting games this season. The Donkeys scored 30 points in the fourth quarter to rally from a large deficit before the Cowboys scored with only four seasons left on the clock to pull out the win.
Most Memorable Performance: The Cowboys were very impressive in the 84-36 victory over Empire. The Cowboy defense contributed scores on interception returns and also had a kickoff return in Ryan’s mercy-rule win over the preseason pick to win the district title.
Most Forgettable Game: The 57-26 loss to Caddo was by far the Cowboys’ poorest performance of the season for a game that lasted four quarters. The Bruins finished the season with a 2-8 record.
Most Embarrassing Loss: The 58-0 loss to rival Waurika was a tough one although the Eagles are putting together one of the finest seasons in school history. But, The Cowboys had six turnovers in only one half of football and never gave themselves a chance to be competitive against the eventual district champion. Honorable mention is the 68-8 loss in the season opener to Snyder when the Cowboys looked totally disorganized and caused a great deal of pessimism among Cowboy fans about the 2018 season.
Most Improvement: After the difficult loss to Snyder, the Cowboys came back in the second week of the season with an impressive 70-28 victory over Grandfield.
Most Undisciplined Game: The Cowboys gained the 78-74 win over Bray-Doyle despite 24 penalties for 218 yards. The Cowboys had several personal foul penalties and three unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. Penalties plagued the Cowboys through much of the season.
Key Win: Every district game was important for the Cowboys because the talent edge was not that great, but the 24-6 win over Wilson helped propel the Cowboys into the runner-up position in the district that enabled them to host a playoff game for the second year in a row.
Biggest Blunder: This was not committed by the Cowboys, but rather this reporter. Throughout the season the name of Skyler Parkhill was misspelled. Apologies are in order to the outstanding Cowboy senior.