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It's 'Ring Szn' for Ryken Football

Washington, DC - “Where the rings at?” is what most St. Mary’s Ryken football players were asking following their hefty 43-6 victory over Bishop O’Connell in the WCAC Metro Division Championship Game Nov. 18. But the journey that the Ryken Knights took to get here shows how one team can still make mistakes and can learn from them. At least, that is what Head Coach Aaron Brady had to say when he sat down for an interview with TheBayNet.com.

“We started out with three really strong scrimmages against Good Counsel, Dematha, Spaulding… three of the best teams in the state,” Brady said. “Then, we went into our first game feeling really good about ourselves, and we ran into the buzzsaw.”

The “buzzsaw” that Brady was of course referring to was the team’s largest defeat of the season against Mount St. Joseph, where the Knights fell hard by a score of 49-7. Fortunately, the coaches were able to use that loss as their learning curve and would go on to only lose one more game in the season.

From that point on, it was rather smooth sailing for the Knights, who routinely beat teams by 20 points or more. This does not include the trouncing that the Knights handed Bishop Ireton back on Oct. 13, winning by the huge margin of 61-0. When asked about what he attributes to the team’s success this season, Coach Brady gives the credit to the seniors.

“We are really proud of our seniors. The seniors have really grown up into leaders this season,” Brady said prior to the championship game. With 14 of the team’s players being seniors, and eight or nine of them having been starters in their junior year, the coach knew that those guys needed to show up in order to win.

The team didn't face much variety immediately leading up to the championship, facing Archbishop Carroll for back-to-back games. In the final game of the regular season, the Knights edged out Carroll by a margin of 33-12. Brady said that they made some slight adjustments, and that would ultimately lead to an even greater win in the first round of the playoffs, edging out the Lions 48-0.

“When we started this year, our team’s goal was to get to a championship… they call it ‘ring szn’ (pronounced season),” Brady said. “They want to get a ring.”

Come game day, Ryken’s team had tons of energy. However, having energy has been something that Brady has heavily emphasized through his coaching tenure. “When I got here I felt like there was a lack of energy, and we have now tried to build it into our kids.”

Ryken was the first to get on the board when running back Jonathan Wynn, Metro Division Offensive Player of the Year, ran in a short run from the one-yard line. Scoring in the championship game was just another notable achievement for this senior who earlier in the year scored the longest high school run in the nation, going 99 and a half yards to score against Bishop O’Connell earlier this year.

Ryken went into halftime holding a commanding lead of 36-0, with senior wide receiver Camden Boyle taking in a 27-yard reception for a touchdown near the break. Following the game, Boyle said everyone kept similar attitudes staying “positive and eager to get out onto the field, just like every other game.”

Senior William McKay eventually gave Ryken their final tally, pushing through for a touchdown near the end of the third quarter making the score 43-0.

Although Bishop O’Connell never gave up and scored a touchdown on the final play of the game, this wouldn't be enough to top St. Mary’s Ryken’s 43 points.

Following the game, Coach Brady commended O’Connell for never giving up but knew that by taking their best player, junior receiver Jahmal Banks, out of the game that they would be able to control the game.

“I really didn't know what was going to happen, they have some weapons,” Brady explained. “Our staff works hard and we really care about these kids, and love them, and I think that is part of our success.”

The St. Mary’s Ryken Knights closed out their season with a record of 10-2 and a two-year record of 19-3.

“We have been talking about this for a year and it is finally here,” Brady said with a sigh of relief. “We have been talking about ‘ring szn’ for so long.”

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