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2019 Prep Football Previews: Ryle’s large senior class determined to improve on last year’s record

The NKyTribune is featuring each of the 21 high school football teams in Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties leading up to the first games of the 2019 season on Aug. 23. We will then provide focused coverage of our local teams throughout the regular season and into the playoffs.

By Cody Johnson
NKyTribune contributor

After going 2-9 last season with several first-year starters in the lineup, the Ryle Raiders football team expects to make a strong comeback led by 35 determined seniors on the roster this year.

“We actually have a lot of experienced players coming back,” said coach Mike Engler. “The neatest thing is I feel like we are flying under the radar because people aren’t even looking at us and we are bringing back quite a few starters from last season.”

Kyle England, the leading rusher for Ryle last season, is one of 35 seniors on this year’s roster. (Photo by Dale Dawn)

With a new offensive scheme in place, the Raiders hope to improve on last year’s averages of 270 yards and 17 points per game. It’s going to start up front with a more experienced offensive line providing running lanes for senior Kyle England, who rushed for a team-high 638 yards last season.

“We had a couple weeks last season where we weren’t mentally prepared to play because of our experience on the field,” England said. “I believe with the experience we have coming into this season it’s going to help us out a lot and be more successful.”

Most of the other skill players on last year’s team graduated, including quarterback Jake Smith and Max Inabnit, who scored a team-high six touchdowns lining up in different positions.

England knows he’ll be taking on a bigger role in the new offense, but so will several of his teammates.

“We have a lot of returning senior starters coming back this season and we are going to show teams that we aren’t who we were last season with the experience we have now,” England said.

“Overall we have a bunch of fast players and a bunch of talent all across the board this year, which is going to push us to being successful,” he added.

Kyle England

To offset the negative effects of last year’s record, Engler and his staff put an emphasis on team-building, having fun and creating a family environment during the offseason.

“We had a Raider Camp this summer and we never picked up a football,” Engler said. “It was pretty much us using this as developmental and building a team-ship,” Engler said.

Creating a bond of brotherhood can be a strong motivating factor for football players. England said that actually starts at home with him.

“What drives me to keep going and playing football is my family,” he said. “My dad is who really got me started with football and taught me the ways to bond with my teammates and to be there for them as well as myself.”

Ryle’s new starting quarterback will be junior Bradyn Lyons, whose name can’t be found anywhere in last year’s offensive statistics. On the defensive side of the ball, there’s also going to be some new names in the Raiders’ lineup.

“Lyons is going to really surprise people this year going under the radar,” coach Engler said. “This offseason he grew to about 6-3 and put on some weight to get ready for the season.”

The coach said the list of returning seniors on defense includes linebacker Luke Bradshaw, defensive back Elijah Cusick and defensive end Cooper White, who all made 50 or more tackles last season.

2018 SEASON:  2-9 record, lost in first round of Class 6A playoffs.
DISTRICT:  Class 6A, District 6 with Campbell County, Dixie Heights, Simon Kenton.
HEAD COACH:  Mike Engler (36-23 in five seasons at Ryle).

Aug. 23 – at Covington Catholic, 7 p.m.
Aug. 30 – CONNER, 7 p.m.
Sept. 6 – at Cooper, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 13 – BOONE COUNTY, 7 p.m.
Sept. 20 – at Highlands, 7 p.m.
Sept. 27 – at Elder (Ohio), 7 p.m.
Oct. 4 – SCOTT COUNTY, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 11 – at Campbell County, 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 – at Dixie Heights, 7 p.m.
Oct. 25 – SIMON KENTON, 7:30 p.m.

Other NKyTribune prep football previews:


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