UNION, Ky. – Ryle overcame a 14-point deficit in the first quarter to beat Conner, 46-34 at Borland Stadium on Friday night.
Ryle (7-1) was looking to rebound from its first loss of the season last week to Cooper and came out very sluggish, allowing Conner (6-2) to take score two touchdowns in the opening 12 minutes.
“Give credit to Conner for a great game plan and they’re a good football team, but we actually didn’t practice very well this week and it took us about a quarter and a half to wake up,” said head coach Mike Engler.
The Cougars were able to take the early lead off of great field position as their first three drives started in Raiders’ territory and two of those drives ended in touchdowns.
Ryle was finally able to get its own short field when senior Eric Wright returned a punt 25 yards to the Conner 15-yard line.
Junior quarterback Tanner Morgan capped off that drive with a 2-yard touchdown run and the Raiders seized the momentum scoring 21 straight points to take the lead.
“It took us a while to get back to doing what we do, but once we did we were rolling,” said junior tight end Jake Long.
Long had two touchdown catches and a two-point conversion catch as one of Morgan’s top targets of the game.
Ryle’s offense was able to wear out the Conner defense with multiple running backs and at times a quick paced no huddle attack.
“Our goal is to run 80 plus plays a game and we were at 94 tonight, when you run that many plays you wear defenses down and that’s what we did the second half,” said coach Engler.
The up tempo pace helped Ryle to 32 second half points, although the Raiders were helped by two huge fourth quarter mistakes by the Cougars.
With a 22-21 lead early in the fourth quarter Conner was flagged for roughing the kicker on a 20-yard field goal try which gave Ryle a first and goal from the 1-yard line and the Raiders capitalized with a 1-yard touchdown run by senior running back Mitchell Bateman.
The two teams traded touchdowns and midway through the fourth quarter Ryle led, 36-28.
Ryle kicked off and the ball settled the near the 25-yard line but the Cougars didn’t cover the kick, the Raiders pounced on the loose ball and took possession deep in Conner territory.
Ryle scored the next 10 points to distance themselves and even its district record at 1-1.
“It’s very big and we definitely needed this win especially with that tough loss to Cooper last weekend, this boosts our morale for the rest of the season,” Long said.
Both teams have big games again next Friday as Conner will travel to Cooper (7-2), while Ryle will go to Simon Kenton (8-0).