After a couple of down seasons by Denton Ryan standards (back to back 7-4 seasons) the Raiders are poised to make a strong showing once again in 2007 under HC Joey Florence. The Raiders who fielded their youngest team in several years in 2006 took a few lumps and had some bad losses but they eventually got things rolling after a slow start. Expect Denton Ryan to be right in the thick of a very tough District 5-4A race.
The Raiders offense is led by junior RB/QB Jay Catlin who ran for 667 yards and 8 touchdowns and he threw for 6 touchdown passes as well in part time duty at QB. Catlin is very versatile and posseses tremendous speed. WR Taylor Lockey caught 35 passes for 465 yards and 6 touchdowns which earned him second team all 5-4A honors and he teams with junior WR James Johnson who was sensational as a sophomore catching 50 passes for 622 yards and 4 touchdowns. The offensive line should be strong led by big Blake Holland who was second team all 5-4A last season.
Denton Ryan will once again feature a quick and swarming front line and a secondary that has the ability to cover but is also physical. DE Josh Williams is the headliner and is getting big time Division 1 looks after an all-district season in 2006. Junior DB Peyton Whitlock impressed as a sophomore earning second team all 5-4A honors and the secondary will revolve around his play. The main area of concern for the Raiders on paper looks to be linebacker.
Overall expect the Raiders to be much improved from last year's team and expect the Raiders to advance past the bi-district round of the playoffs this season. In fact they could be the favorite to wrestle the Division 1 title away from Aledo this season, the tough non-district slate and tough district race will have the Raiders playoff ready without a doubt.