The Ryle Raiders' magical season came to an end Friday night as they fell to the Trinity Shamrocks at home in a state semi-final matchup, 28-9.
When push came to shove Trinity (13-1) running back Derek Bishop flexed his muscle and scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns on the road at Ryle (12-2) in a Shamrocks victory. The senior scored three times overall as the Rocks advance to play for their 20th state title. They will take on Male (11-3) next Saturday in Bowling Green.
The Shamrocks struck first on a 65-yard pass play from sophomore Travis Wright to classmate James Quick on the first play from scrimmage. It would be just enough of a cushion for Trinity to command and control the rest of the contest.
The Trinity defense was nothing short of fantastic, holding Ryle to 79 yards of total offense four minutes into the final quarter. The Raiders were no match for a ferocious Shamrock front seven that stuffed and stymied threat after threat. The battle still only saw Trinity hold a 7-3 lead at intermission.
The colder it got the more Bishop seemed to warm up, finding the end zone on a receiving toss that gave the Rocks a 21-3 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
Ryle fought back with a score as quarterback Conner Hempel ran in a score from six yards out to cut the Trinity lead to 21-9 with 3:30 left in the contest. It was Bishop who would bull his way down field one more time to find the end zone. It would be the end of a great Ryle run and the beginning of a quest for Kentucky history for Trinity.
The Raiders tied the school record with 12 wins. Hempel completed 14 of his 28 passes for 129 yards. Running back Travis Elliott was held to 75 yards on 14 carries and finished his junior year with an impressive 2,204 rushing yards.
Written by: Greg Shoemaker, TriStateFootball.com