Kyle England scored from 10 yards out on Ryle’s first play of overtime and the Raiders erased a 21-0 halftime deficit to stun Henry Clay 34-28 in the first game of the Bluegrass Bowl at Lexington Catholic on Friday night.
Four Henry Clay turnovers kept Ryle’s hopes alive all night. A fumble on their own 22 led immediately to a Jake Chisholm run to cut the lead to 28-21with 8:51 left in the fourth quarter.
The Blue Devils (0-2) looked to be gaining some breathing room on the next drive but another fumble put the ball back in Raider hands in Henry Clay territory with just over three minutes to play. Ryle (1-1) capitalized again, with Chisholm, its Mr. Football candidate, taking it in from 6 yards out to tie the game at 28-28 with 1:14 left in the game.
With good field position on the ensuing kick return and a roughing-the-passer penalty, Henry Clay looked to be ready to set up a game-winning field goal in the waning seconds, but another fumble with 22 seconds left killed a promising chance with the Blue Devils on Ryle’s 13-yard line.
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Ryle won the overtime toss and elected to take possession last.
Henry Clay wasn’t able to gain much ground on its first possession from the 10-yard line under the high school overtime rules. Graham Wald connected on a 22-yard field goal to try to take the lead, but the attempt was blocked. Ryle won the game on the next play.
Down 21-0 at half, Ryle executed a perfect onside kick to start the second half. On the third play of the series, Chisholm burst through for a 29-yard TD run to cut it to 21-7.
Henry Clay answered with a 65-yard return on Ryle’s pooch on the ensuing kickoff to extend the lead back to 28-7 with barely a minute played in third quarter.
Tyree Clarke scored two touchdowns and got a big interception in the second quarter as Henry Clay looked like they were set to avenge its first-round playoff loss last year and right the ship after a 48-0 drubbing from Tates Creek last week.
After three stalled drives inside Ryle territory in the first quarter, sophomore quarterback DJ Van Horn settled into a rhythm with the short passing game. His dump-off to Clarke went for 30 yards for the first score of the game with 50 seconds left in the first.
But Van Horn went down awkwardly as he tried to escape a sack in the third quarter and never returned.
The Devils defense had a fumble recovery, an interception and several three-and-outs, and allowed Chisholm only 30 yards on nine carries in the first half. Undeterred, Ryle kept going to Chisholm in the second half as he finished with 250 yards rushing on 30 carries.
The Henry Clay change-of-pace wildcat formation stumbled early in the game, but proved lethal late in the first half. Clarke ran it in from 3 yards out at the 8:57 mark to make it 14-0 Devils.
After Clarke’s interception, the Devils drove downfield again, culminating in a Michael McMullen bootleg out of the wildcat for an 8-yard TD for a 21-0 lead with 4:39 left in the half.