- Jeff Andrews, ESPNDallas.com
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Denton Ryan continues to make due on offense after a number of setbacks.
The unit lost a ton to graduation last year, and injuries have ravaged the Raiders on the offensive line and at running back.
Most notably, Ryan lost Jerrick Harvey to a knee injury. Harvey was the team’s primary running back.
That hasn’t slowed down the Raiders, though. They’ve averaged 41.3 points per game since losing Harvey, which is actually higher than the 37.3 points they averaged with him.
Ryan (12-0) has turned to a number of players to fill the void.
Quarterback Kevin Carpenter continues to get carries, and Reynal Caldwell has seen his workload increase. He ran the ball 13 times in Ryan’s bi-district win over Amarillo Caprock and seven times last week against El Paso Andress.
The Raiders use different personnel in goal-line situations, though.
Backup quarterback Mitchell Bridges comes in to pound it into the end zone. He carried the ball three times last week and all three went for touchdowns.
Linebacker Jordan Richmond also gets carries. He led the team with eight carries and 53 yards last week after being part of Ryan’s goal-line package earlier in the year.
Ryan’s offense will need to be at its best this week as the Raiders face a rising Waco Midway team. The Panthers (9-2) are on an impressive six-game winning streak that includes wins over playoff teams Stephenville (51-20), Killeen (33-19), Burleson (35-13) and Boswell (42-7).
The game, scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday at Mansfield’s Newsom Stadium, is a rematch of last year’s defensive slugfest in which the two teams barely combined for 300 yards of offense. Ryan prevailed 19-10 thanks to a defensive touchdown.