Preview: Dixie Heights at Ryle

Dixie Heights head coach Dave Brossart (photo by Greg Shoemaker/

Our Blitz 5 Game of the Week takes us out to Union, Kentucky as the red-hot Ryle Raiders host the Dixie Heights Colonels in a KHSAA second-round Class 6A playoff battle. Ryle has won five games in a row and looks to hold off the Colonels for a second time this season. The 30-point defeat to the Raiders was Dixie Heights’ only loss in its last six games. The Colonels have revenge on their minds.

Kickoff: 7:00 p.m.
Borland Stadium
Follow on Twitter: @TSFootball 

PLAYERS TO WATCH: A trio of juniors fuel the Dixie Heights’ offense. Quarterback Logan Landers has amassed 1,761 yards of total offense (1,460 passing, 301 rushing) and accounted for 15 touchdowns (eight passing, seven rushing). Running back Pierce Rohlman has rushed for 680 yards while finding the end zone 10 times (nine rushing). Receiver Devin Holbert has burst onto the scene with 44 receptions for 736 yards and four touchdown catches. Their classmate Kel Hawkins has a team-high six interceptions including a pick six for the Colonels’ defense.

A balanced Ryle offensive attack is led by quarterback Bradyn Lyons. The senior has thrown for 1,721 yards with 15 touchdown tosses. His top targets are Will Watkins, Jameson Smith and Jackson McGinnis. The trio has combined for 80 receptions, 1,273 yards and 11 scores. Defensively the Raiders are paced by Wilson Pendleton, Gabe Savage and Jackson Belk. Savage has a team-high 112 total tackles and three fumble recoveries. Pendleton leads the Raiders with seven sacks and 10.5 tackles for losses.

TEAM TRENDS: Last Friday night Dixie Heights defeated Simon Kenton for the second time this season. It is the first time that has happened since the Colonels made it to the state championship game in 2014. They had dropped six in a row to the Pioneers prior to this year. 

Ryle’s current five-game winning streak is the longest for the program since they reeled off 12 straight victories to start the 2016 season. The Raiders are averaging 38.75 points per game in their last four wins. The Ryle defense loves to apply pressure. They have 30 sacks and 73 tackles for losses which has led to 19 takeaways (12 FRs, send INTs).

DIXIE HEIGHTS’ KEYS TO VICTORY: Take care of the football and value every possession. Six turnovers took the Colonels out of the first meeting between the two schools. Eat up the clock with the run game featuring Pohlman. Limit the amount of time the Ryle offense is on the field.

RYLE’S KEYS TO VICTORY: The Raiders need to come out crisp in this contest. Ryle hasn’t played in three weeks. They must avoid being rusty. Establishing the run early should lead to some big plays in the passing game.

Prediction: Ryle 34, Dixie Heights 20

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