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Arkansas powerhouse Bryant to face Texas power Denton Ryan in neutral site football game in Louisiana

Ryan won the Class 5A Division I Texas state title in 2020 and finished in the quarterfinals last fall.

By Kyle Sutherland | Graphic by Jimmy Jones

The Bryant High School athletic department announced Thursday that a neutral site football game has been scheduled against Denton (Texas) Ryan for the upcoming season. 

The matchup will be played as part of the Battle on the Border High School Football Showcase during Week 1 of the slate on 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2 at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, La. 

Ryan is a tradition-rich program in the town of nearly 140,000 people located about 45 minutes west of Dallas. The Raiders won the Class 5A Division I Texas state championship in 2020, defeating Cedar Park 59-14, then finished in the quarterfinals last season. 

Since 2014, the Raiders have been led by Dave Henigan. He guided them to six undefeated regular seasons from 2015-20 and seven straight district titles from 2015-21. Henigan was also on staff as offensive coordinator when the Raiders won the state championship in 2002.

Some of the top players for Ryan include 2023 prospects Anthony Hill, Chance Rucker, Kalib Hicks and TCU commit Jordyn Bailey.

Bryant has won four straight Class 7A Arkansas state championships, its most recent by defeating Fayetteville 42-38 last December in what turned out to be a thrilling finish. The Hornets had their 32-game win streak broken at the hands of Longview (Texas), which Ryan defeated 40-7 three weeks prior and also upended in the playoffs 37-33. Longview outlasted the Hornets 24-21 at home last September in a contest that essentially came down to two plays.

Bryant has not lost a game since that defeat and is on a 42-game win streak against in-state competition.

“It is going to be a big challenge,” Bryant coach Buck James said. “They beat Longview twice last year and beat them handily on TV. It is no doubt going to be tough. We are playing the cream of the crop in Texas.”

The Hornets return basically everyone on a defense that allowed just 14.8 points per game along with the talented backfield duo of Chris Gannaway and James Martin, and electric junior wide receiver Mytorian Singleton, but must replace the best offensive line in school history that included UCA signee Will Diggins and Arkansas preferred walk-on Brooks Edmonson. The Hornets will also play their third quarterback in as many years following the departure of Carson Burnett.

“It will be a tough task, but this time last year Carson Burnett was our third-string quarterback, so it is going to continue to be a work in progress, and I think we have some guys who will step up,” James said. “We also have some guys who have been waiting two and three years to be starters on the offensive line. It is going to be tough, but we are up for the challenge.”