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Tonight’s game against Ryle should prepare the Shelby County football team for the future.
“The good thing about Ryle is, it’s a very run-oriented team, which, when you look at our district, the teams in our district are very run-oriented,” Rockets Coach Todd Shipley said.
Although the Class 6A Raiders may not have the statistics that two of the teams in Shelby’s 5A, District 4 do – Bullitt Central is second in rushing (393 yards per game) in all six classes, and Bullitt East is sixth (344 ypg) – Shipley said they have a similar offensive philosophy.
“Third-and-one is no different than third-and-nine, they’re going to try and run the football,” he said.
Ryle’s average of 108.5 rushing yards per game may not look impressive until you look at its opponents. Since beating Cooper, last year’s state runner-up in 5A, in their season-opener, the Raiders have lost three consecutive games – to Scott County (56-14), Sycamore of Ohio (28-0) and Conner (21-7), three teams who have a combined record of 9-1.
In last Friday’s loss to Conner and University of Kentucky recruit Drew Barker (who passed for 240 yards and rushed for two TDs), Ryle rushed for 149 yards and passed for only 52.
The Raiders’ offense is led by junior quarterback Gavin Brandt.
Brandt has passed for 263 yards and three touchdowns – although he has only completed 17 of 44 passes (38.6 percent) – and rushed for 131 yards.
“They like to use him as a tailback as well,” Shipley said.
Junior Ryan Woolf (33 rushes for 120 yards) is the team’s second-leading rusher, and senior Ryan Hill (11 catches for 210 yards and two TDs) is the top receiver. Ryle is averaging just 9.5 points and 68.8 passing yards per game.
“We’ve really got to be ready for the run,” Shipley said.