2024 Snapshot: Ryle

Ryle WR Landon Lorms (photo from X: @Ryle_Football)

Playing a rigorous regular season schedule to be better prepared for the playoffs has been a way of life for Ryle for under head coach Mike Engler. It is a philosophy that has paid some decent dividends recently. The program has advanced to the third round of the postseason twice in the last three years and sports a 5-3 playoff record in that span. With 10 returning starters (at least five games in 2023) on defense and eight on offense, an experienced Ryle squad is ready to attack another challenging slate, setting its sights on a regional title (the state final four) and much more.

A grueling schedule will see the Raiders first six battles versus teams that were a combined 65-17 (.793 winning %) last season. “While some may see this as a weakness, Ryle sees it as a strength. We will again play three non-district teams that played for state championships in 2023, Covington Catholic, Cooper and Christian Academy-Louisville as well as non-district traditional powers, Highlands and Louisville St. Xavier,” Engler states.

Ryle head coach Mike Engler (photo by Dan Bieneke/

Replacing quarterback Logan Verax, Boone County’s all-time leader in passing yards will not be easy. Nathan Verax gets thrown to the wolves early on and the unenviable task of filling his brother’s shoes. Engler has confidence and high praise for the younger Verax. “Lack of experience at quarterback could be a weakness early in the season. However, Nathan should and will become one of the top quarterbacks in Northern Kentucky and the state.”

Ryle is loaded with offensive weapons. Verax won’t have to shoulder all the load on his own, He has a veteran offensive line, two-way star Jacob Savage at running back and four receivers that had at least 22 receptions in 2023 including Logan Lorms who set the Northern Kentucky record for receptions in a season, to support him.

The Raiders defense will be an opportunistic bunch with a d-line that is going to apply a ton of pressure on opposing backfields. The group is led by havoc-wreaking stud, Dillon Smith. The defensive unit returns a cast of lettermen that came up with 23 of Ryle’s 26 turnovers (14 IRs, 12 FRs), a year ago. Seven of those returnees had at least two takeaways.

Ryle won’t panic or be alarmed if it gets off to a slow start. This is a team that has been together through many wars. They understand how to “zero in” on the task at hand. Expect nothing less than the Raiders being focused and playing their best football when the elimination tournament begins come November.

Class 6A, District 6
2023 RECORD: 8-5, 3-0 Class 6A, District 6
COACH: Mike Engler (71-48 at Ryle, 10 years, 71-48 overall)

Dillon Smith, Sr, DE – A specimen at 6-foot-4 and 250-pounds, the athletic Smith is one of the top d-lineman the Bluegrass state. He recorded 56 total tackles, had six sacks, eight tackles for losses, three interceptions and a pick six on his way to NKFCA Division I All-NKY honors as a junior. Smith, has an impressive 114 total tackles, 15.0 sacks, 26.5 tackles for losses and four takeaways (three INTs, one FR) in a Raiders uniform. He recently committed to Louisville.

Ryle DE Dillon Smith (photo from X: @Dillons_2025)

Jacob Savage, Jr, RB/LB – Whether it is on offense or defense, Savage always seems to be in the middle of all the action. He was named NKFCA Division I All-NKY, Second Team All-TriState Football and a TSF NKY Defensive Player of the Year finalist after recording 163 total tackles, a sack, six-and-a-half tackles for losses and a fumble recovery as a sophomore. On offense, Savage ran for 380 yards, had 22 receptions for 232 yards and nine touchdowns (seven rush, two rec). He has an offer from Eastern Kentucky.

Landon Lorms, Sr, WR/DB – The 91 receptions by Lorms in 2023 were 10th most in a single season in Kentucky history. He finished with 1,013 yards and 13 touchdowns receiving to earn NKFCA Division I All-NKY, NKFCA Top 26 and Second Team All-TriState Football accolades. Lorms heads into his final campaign with 117 receptions for 1,374 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Gavin Lyons, Jr, WR/DB – It was a breakout sophomore campaign for Lyons. He tallied 54 total tackles, had three tackles for losses, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and four interceptions to earn NKFCA Division I All-NKY honors at defensive back. On offense, Lyons had 35 receptions for 382 yards, 94 yards rushing and five touchdowns (three rec, two rush).

Ryle WR/DB Gavin Lyons (photo from X: @Ryle_Football)

Jack Gatlin
, Sr, OL – Provides senior leadership and anchors the offensive line along with classmate Reynolds that helped pave the way for a Ryle offense that averaged 373.4 yards of total offense in 2023.

Eli Reynolds, Sr, OL – Provides senior leadership and anchors the offensive line along with classmate Gatlin. Reynolds helped hold off opposing pass rushers and aided a Raiders passing attack that averaged 275.5 yards per contest through the air, last fall.

L.J. Warner, Sr, LB – Fared well in his first season as a starter in 2023. Warner was in on 33 total tackles and had a forced fumble.

Beau Faul, Sr, DL – Back for a third season as a starter on the d-line. Faul has 120 total tackles, 11.5 tackles for losses and two fumble recoveries, in his career.

Landon Slomer, Sr, DL – Another piece of a senior-laden defensive line that will give the opposition fits. Slomer has 117 total tackles, three sacks and nine tackles for losses, in his career.

Drake Meadows, Sr, DB – The senior leader of the secondary. Meadows was in on 38 total tackles and had an interception as a junior.

Ryle DB Drake Meadows (photo from X: @Ryle_Football)

Jake Stewart, Sr, DL – A key member of the d-line rotation. Stewart was in on 23 total tackles and had  one-and-a-half tackles for losses in 2023.

Ryan Handorf, Sr, DB – Will add depth and senior guidance to the secondary. Handorf will be a solid contributor in his senior year.

Jaden Galicia, Sr, LB – An unheralded member in the middle of the Raiders defense, Galicia recorded 40 total tackles and recovered two fumbles as a junior. He also had three receptions for 25 yards and a touchdown.

Nathan Verax, Jr, QB/DB – A starter as a defensive back as a sophomore, Verax was in on 29 total tackles and had four takeaways (three INTs, one FR). He now slides in at quarterback. Verax is a dual threat option with 4.5 speed in the 40, and has a strong arm to compliment his wheels.
Breakout Performers for 2024

Ryle QB Nathan Verax (photo from X: @Ryle_Football)

Eli Caldwell, Jr, OL – A returning starter, the 6-foot-4, 280-pound Caldwell has a tremendous upside. He has All-NKY talent and will be playing on Saturdays in two years.

Kyle Beatty, Jr, OL – Back for his second season as starter, Beatty teams with Caldwell to give Ryle a promising future on the o-line. He helped the Raiders offense find the end zone 56 times (33 pass, 23 rush) in 2023.

Kai Workman, Jr, LB – A sleeper candidate for a breakout season. As a sophomore, Workman recorded 56 total tackles, had a sack and two fumble recoveries.

Bo Gay, Jr, DE – Gay could be in for a monster year with all the double teams that Smith will see on the other side of the line. Gay tallied 22 total tackles, had two sacks, four tackles for losses and a fumble in 2023.

Dylan Lee, Jr, WR/DB – Like Lyons, Lee made an impact at receiver and in the secondary as a sophomore. On offense, he had 45 receptions, 782 yards receiving, and 10 touchdowns catches. Lee recorded 26 total tackles and had two takeaways (one INT, one FR).

Ryle WR/DB Dylan Lee (photo from X: @Ryle_Football)

Adding depth and vying for snaps will be senior Channie Donald, juniors OL/DL Cooper Schultz, DL Aysaiah Riddick along with sophomores RB/DB Xavier Collins, OL/DL R.J. Keyser, OL/DL Eliot Lageman, OL Max Neumann and LB Hudson Stephens.

District Champion (seven) – 2023, 2021, 2020, 2017, 2016, 2010 & 2006
Regional Runner-up (four) – 2023, 2021, 2016, 2007
Regional Champion (two) – 2010, 2006

Fri – 08/23/24 – COVINGTON CATHOLIC (14-1 in 2023) – 7:30 PM
Fri – 08/30/24 – at Conner (5-6) – 7:00 PM
Fri – 09/06/24 – at Cooper (12-3) – 7:30 PM
Fri – 09/13/24 – HIGHLANDS (12-2) – 7:00 PM
Fri – 09/20/24 – at Christian Academy-Louisville (14-1) – 7:00 PM
Fri – 09/27/24 – BYE– 7:00 PM
Fri – 10/04/24 – at Louisville St. Xavier (8-4) – 7:30 PM
Fri – 10/11/24 – CAMPBELL COUNTY (3-8) – 7:00 PM
Fri – 10/18/24 – GREAT CROSSING (2-9) – 7:00 PM
Fri – 10/25/24 – at Simon Kenton (5-5) – 7:00 PM
Fri – 11/01/24 – DIXIE HEIGHTS (5-7) – 7:00 PM


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