Bishop Ryan to ‘bring some juice’ against Shiloh Christian
Coming off a 40-18 playoff victory against Killdeer/Halliday last weekend, the Bishop Ryan Lions are set to take on Shiloh Christian (7-2) on the road in the Class A football quarterfinals this Saturday.
In reviewing his club’s overall performance from a week ago, Bishop Ryan head coach Roger Coleman states that while his offensive unit got off to a fast start, the Lions struggled to consistently make tackles in the open field. As a result, defensive execution has been a point of emphasis during this week of practice. “We are going to have to rely heavily on our defensive line this weekend,” Coleman tells the Minot Daily News. “I’ve challenged them in practice, and they’ve responded with great work this week. Our linebacking unit will work off of what our guys up front do, so I’m expecting both units to have a great performance against Shiloh Christian.”
For the first time since last year’s state championship appearance, Bishop Ryan’s Saturday playoff game will be televised statewide on BEK Sports. Coleman, now in his fourth season with the Lions, says the added incentive of television exposure has gotten his players even more excited to take the field against Shiloh Christian. “I love the energy our team has right now, and I’m urging my guys to ‘bring some juice’ come gametime. That is basically our motto right now, and everyone one the team has bought into that philosophy.”
Bishop Ryan, who comes into the weekend with an 8-2 record, features an up-tempo, no-huddle offense that has produced an average of nearly 40 points per game this year. The catalysts behind this prodigious offense include a trio of skill position seniors such as Nick Sanders at quarterback, Jaxon Feller at running back and Logan Merck at wide receiver. In this upcoming game, coach Coleman says his strategy will be to play even faster than usual on the offensive side of the ball. “Shiloh Christian is an extremely big team, and very physical at the line of scrimmage, so we hope to wear them down with speed in the second half,” Coleman says. “I don’t think they’ve seen an offense like ours before, so we want to run a fastbreak offense and create opportunities with our speed.”
If the Lions win on Saturday, they will square off against the 10-0 Langdon Area-Edmore Munich Cardinals in the semifinals. Langdon, who already punched their ticket to the semifinals by way of an Oakes forfeit, has appeared in three straight state title games, winning the last two including a championship game win over Bishop Ryan a year ago.
Having finished runner up to Langdon in 2019, coach Coleman says he is outspoken about his goal not only to avenge last year’s postseason defeat to the Cardinals, but to finish off the season with a state crown for Bishop Ryan. “We don’t hide from it, and we openly talk about our mission this postseason,” the Lions coach adds. “We have unfinished business to tend to, and we are trying to get it done. Winning the championship would mean so much to our community, our school, our fans, our faculty and our players.”