Denton Ryan Prepares for 2nd Straight Appearance In State Finals

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DENTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Denton Ryan is a firm believer everyone deserves a second chance.

“We had a good core of kids that were involved in that championship game last year,” Raiders head coach Dave Henigan said. “Obviously that was a goal of theirs, to get back and to change the result.”

After falling short in the state finals a year ago, Friday, Jan. 8, Ryan defeated Mansfield Summit to punch their ticket into the state title game for a second year in a row, but the Raiders are not satisfied.

“I feel like last week was just another week,” Raiders receiver Keagan Cunningham said. “We are really focused on this week and what we have to do to take home a ring.”

Raiders receiver Billy Bowman Jr. said, “Obviously we have a different goal in mind. We want to win this week. I feel like we’ve grown so much more from last year. We’ve grown together as a team.”

Last season, Alvin Shadow Creek beat Denton Ryan for the championship. The Raiders say learning from their mistakes during last year’s title game, will hopefully bring a different outcome this go around.

“I feel like we were just okay with being there but you can tell this year is much different,” Bowman Jr. said. “We don’t just wanna be there, we want to go win it.”

Coach Hanigan said, “I think a lot of our core guys can lean on that experience from last year and hopefully bring some of those guys who didn’t play in that game along with them.”

Denton Ryan was ranked number one during the preseason. They’ve lived up to those expectations. So far, Ryan is a perfect 14-0.

But even if the Raiders don’t seal the deal this weekend, they will still consider the season a successful one.

“We coach and play at a place where you expect to win the championship every year,” Coach Henigan said. “So if you don’t win it, it’s a disappointment. But the reality is we’ll look back at this season as a success once we get it all in perspective.”

Denton Ryan will face Cedar Park, also 14-0, in the state championship game, Friday, Jan. 15 at AT&T Stadium.

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