Game of the Week: Ensworth v Father Ryan

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Father Ryan (3-3) and Ensworth (4-2) are set to face off this Friday at 7 p.m. at Ensworth.

The Fightin’ Irish, though underdogs, are coming off a big comeback win last week against Ravenwood. They come in on a high note, getting back to a non-losing record last week and hoping to get a Division II- Class AAA East/Middle district win and a winning record in one fell swoop.

Father Ryan, against Raptors last week, scored only 6 points in the first half. However, they went from trailing 14-6 at the start of the third to an explosive 28-point second half.

They got a win out of it, 34-31.

As for Ensworth, last week state rankings suggested a blowout– Ensworth is ranked 22 by MaxPreps. Against Trezevant, that is what happened, with the Tigers big 42 – 6 win. This was the largest margin of victory for Ensworth so far this year.

Father Ryan is ranked 33 in the state by MaxPreps, but they are still looking for their all-important first Division II-AAA East/Middle win; they are 0-3 against these district opponents. In Division II’s new Class AAA, made up of only the largest private schools in the state, it divided Class AA, which was already perennially packed with the best teams in Tennessee, and the country, by size and created a super-class.

Ensworth is 1-1 in DII-AAA this year.

It is hard to say how these two teams will play each other. Neither has faced a similar opponent to gauge by.

But Father Ryan, last in East/Middle, is the only one yet without a district win in the seven-team district. In its three district games, it has been outscored 57-93, an average loss of 19-31.

Ensworth, fourth in East/Middle, has scored even fewer points in East/Middle games– 55. In fact, they have scored the least points so far out of any East/Middle teams, though they’ve played fewer games than three of the seven teams. They have also given up the least points, 49, than the rest of East/Middle– tied with Baylor, who Ensworth beat 35-21 three weeks ago. They are averaging a 27.5-24.5 win in the district, despite a 28-20 loss to McCallie two weeks ago.

Also not boding well for Father Ryan is the quality of its loss to Pope John Paul II, 27-23 on Sept. 8.

Father Ryan has faced and got beat by three East/Middle teams– MBA, BA and Pope John Paul II– that are right now in first, second and second-last place in East/Middle. The Irish got blown out by BA, which is doing that to everyone, and lost by just one score to MBA, 28-21, two weeks ago, and by a field goal to PPJII.

Ensworth, with its loss to third place McCallie and win against fifth place Baylor, is 8 points out of third place, and 14 points (its margin of defeat and victory) out of fifth in the district.

But to compare: On Sept 8, Father Ryan played PPJII and lost 27-24. That week, also, Ensworth beat Baylor easily 35-21. The next week, PPJII got steamed by Baylor 42-14. So, Ensworth easily beat Baylor, who blew out PPJII, who beat Father Ryan in a close game.

But on the other hand, who knows with comparative wins when you try to zoom out past opponents in common? MBA, in second place in the district, and one of the best teams in the state, only beat Father Ryan by a touchdown, whereas PPJ lost by 35 points to MBA last week. You could argue that loss was Father Ryan’s strongest game of the season.