Ryle senior running back Tanner Pulice said "redemption" was the key to the Raiders' 28-20 victory over Henry Clay in the iHigh Fayette County Football Frenzy on Saturday night.
Pulice felt redeemed by the way Ryle bounced back from a crushing 35-6 loss to Cooper last week.
But Henry Clay Coach Sam Simpson probably would say that Ryle's game plan was the real key to the Raiders' win.
Last week Ryle's offense operated out of the shotgun and it backfired a lot.
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"They never once were in an I-formation," Simpson said.
So when Ryle employed a power I most of the night against Henry Clay, the Blue Devils weren't ready for it. The Raiders took advantage, relying on their dominant offensive line to push Henry Clay up and down the field.
Pulice ran 29 times for 144 yards, and David Aulick ran 14 times for 95 yards and a touchdown.
Ryle rushed for 287 yards, and added 30 yards passing.
"Our line did an excellent job, and our backs busted through," Coach Bryson Warner said.
"Our line is unreal," Aulick added. "They pounded their way every single play."
Simpson thought his defense adjusted pretty well, all things considered.
"My biggest disappointment tonight was what Ryle did to stop us offensively."
Henry Clay out-did Ryle on the ground, rushing for 344 yards. Elijah Bell ran nine times for 176 yards, and D.J. Jackson ran 15 times for 117 yards and a score.
But the Raiders' defense did its job by forcing three crucial fumbles.
Henry Clay lost a fumble in its own end zone in the opening minute of the game, and Ryle's Dylan Plvan fell on it for a touchdown.
Henry Clay answered with a score of its own — Anthony Lindsey's 8-yard TD run. Bell ran for the two-point conversion to make it 8-6.
Ryle regained the lead on quarterback Nathan Davis' 1-yard run, giving the visitors a 14-8 halftime lead.
Jackson tied it for Henry Clay with an 81-yard TD dash early in the third quarter.
The Devils were on the march on their next possession, but a fumble killed that scoring chance.
Ryle went back in front 21-14 on Davis' sneak for a TD late in the third quarter.
After Henry Clay pulled to within 21-20 on quarterback Rhomas Janes' 4-yard run early in the fourth, the Raiders answered again, with Aulick scoring from the 2.
Henry Clay drove to the Ryle 2 midway through the fourth quarter, but a fumbled handoff ended the threat.
Simpson said afterward that his Devils "gotta do a better job throwing the football to balance things out. We relied on the run too much tonight."
James was 8-for-10 for 60 yards against Ryle.
Ryle 14 0 7 7—28
Henry Clay 8 0 6 6—20
R—Dylan Plvan fumble recovery end zone (safety). HC—Anthony Lindsey 8 run (Elijah Bell run). R—Nathan Davis 1 run (Garrett Meade kick). HC—D.J. Jackson 81 run (run failed). R—Davis 1 run (Meade kick). HC—Rhoman James 4 run (run failed). R—David Aulick 2 run (Meade kick).
Records—Ryle 1-1, Henry Clay 0-2.