During the pre-game warm-ups, the punter was seven yards deep in the end zone and punting the ball consistently out to the fifty-yard line in front of us. It turns out that was Ryan. I wondered if he also caught his own passes.
In the first half, the fans were wondering what was happening as Ryan turned the ball over twice on fumbles. One of the fumbles was a result of poor handoff, which Ryan never completely controled. Banning had the ball most of the first half with a stingy and tenacious defense.
On first play of the second half, Ryan again fumbled as he cut on the poor field. The gloves and the helmet came off on the sidelines in a visible sign of Ryan's frustration with himself.
Ryan proved his mental toughtness and competative spirit The tone of the game soon shifted as Ryan came out with confidence. He was now running almost at will through the defense. Midway through the third quarter, he took off on a sixty-seven yard touchdown run to make the score 26-12.
Ryan had two touchdowns called back on penalties. One was for missing equipment on a lineman. A player's mouth guard had fallen out, which was egregious enough to nullify the-45 yard touchdown run. Ryan probably lost a hundred additional yards to penalties. When he was not rattling off long runs, Ryan was back blocking for his quarterback.
At the end of the first half, the score was tied at twelve after both teams had two touchdowns. Ryan had only rushed twice for about 41 yards on two rushes.
On special teams, Ryan had two kick/punt returns, one for forty-five yards and the other for twenty-one yards. He also had a 59-yard punt.
Throughout the night, the Banning Broncos were kicking away from Ryan, even sending a few of their kicks short or out of bounds. They did not appear to want to deal with Ryan running at them. Three times he made them pay for it for a total of 91 yards altogether.
The game was out of reach in the fourth quarter at 40-20 so Ryan watched from the sideline. When one of his team mates ran for a 66-yard touchdown, Ryan was the first on the field to congratulate him.
A few minuttes after the 46-20 win, Ryan was on one knee to sign his autograph for a small boy. Now I call that a fine young man. His parents can be very proud. I would have been.