Junior running back Bryshon Jackson had a big smile on his face after Father Ryan's 26-13 road victory at Brentwood Friday night.
Can you blame him? He rushed for 76 yards and two touchdowns on the night, leading an Irish rushing attack that put four touchdowns in the end zone on the ground.
"As a team, we really play together," Jackson said of what helped his team grab a key victory in James C. Parker Stadium, as hostile an environment as you'll find in Williamson County football.
It is a team effort, after all, with Father Ryan's hot 2-0 start the team's best in five years. Not since 2016 has the Irish football team opened the year with two wins, with 2020's comeback campaign for the football team starting to carry momentum into the new year.
"We're working for that," Father Ryan head coach Brian Rector said of Father Ryan's progress over the last year or so.
"We've just got to continue to get better. Brentwood is a solid football team, a great football program, so doing a home-and-home with them is exactly what our football program needs in order to go to the next level."
The last time the two teams met was in 2018, when Brentwood got the best of Father Ryan 21-10 on BHS' homecoming night.
The Irish have come a long way since then, which will help as the team faces a new region in D-II AAA competition this year.
RB Stefan Ponder had one TD to go with his 84 yards and quarterback Matthew Derrick scrambled for 32 yards and a score.
Derrick assumes starting duties for the Irish after former QB D.C. Tabscott graduated and started his college career at Appalachian State. He did just enough in the passing attack (8/13, 117 yards) to keep the chains moving and compliment the team's aggressive rushing game.
"Credit to our o-line," Derrick said of the guys paving the way up front. "We just got rolling. Our defense helped out a lot, getting us the ball [back]."
The QB had the first points of the game in the second quarter, but a Davis White touchdown throw to Aaron Walton got Brentwood ahead 7-6 with Father Ryan missing its extra point.
In the third, Jackson rushed in the first of his two touchdowns and the team never looked back. Two more would follow, and Brentwood wouldn't see the end zone again until a garbage time TD. Another Davis-to-Walton connection willed Brentwood into double-digits, but a missed XP capped them at 13 for the night.
White threw for 20/33 and 259 yards to go with his two touchdowns. Walton had a monster game with 155 yards on 11 catches with his two TD grabs.
Father Ryan will face a stout Pope John Paul II (2-0) team next week in their annual Bishop's Cup rivalry game. That went to PJPII last fall.
While Coach Rector has to like what he's seen so far from his team, he says there's still plenty to improve upon as a promising season for the Irish continues.
"The more and more we can be in tight games like this and come out ahead, the more they're going to learn from them," Rector said.
Brentwood (0-2) will host new region foe Summit (2-0), who along with Centennial is the only team in Region 7-6A not to lose a game yet. The Bruins haven't started the year 0-2 since 2015.