Ryle, who eventually found a game a little over a week before the opener, sent his Eagles down to face Duval Charter in Jacksonville, Fla. on Friday.
While Ryle was proud of his team’s effort, North Cobb Christian walked away with a 42-7 setback to the Panthers in Ryle’s debut as the Eagles’ coach.
“(Duval) was a great team,” Ryle said. “They’re probably the biggest team by far that we’ll face all year. They had a lot of speed and a lot of talent, but our guys didn’t quit and I’m proud of them for that. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Duval (2-0) jumped out quickly to a 16-0 first-quarter lead before staking a 30-7 advantage at halftime. David Brittingham’s two-yard touchdown run was the Eagles’ lone score of the contest.
Neither squad really knew what to expect from the other, let alone their own team, since the contest was put together so late.
“I was talking to (Duval) coach (Mike Hunter) and we were both commenting about how we didn’t know what we had when the school year started,” Ryle said. “This was all new for me because it was our first game. His first game was similar.
“Duval is a new charter school with new kids coming in for the school year. He started with about 20 kids, but had about 40 on the sideline for the game. I had an idea they’d run a wide open offense, and that’s what they did.”
The second half was decidedly different for the Eagles, who held the Panthers to only 12 points in the third quarter.
“That was really good for the kids,” Ryle said. “Even though we didn’t know a lot about (Duval), we made great adjustments throughout the game that helped us.”
The trip to Jacksonville turned out to be a good bonding moment for North Cobb Christian players and for the staff. The team bus left Thursday and stayed in the area for two nights returning to Cobb County Saturday afternoon.
“It was a good trip,” Ryle said. “The guys were able to fellowship and we had time for devotionals. It was great for our team.”
North Cobb Christian freshman running back Mark Watson had a good game for the Eagles, carrying the ball 23 times for 84 yards.
“Mark did a good job for us,” Ryle said. “I’m proud of him and for the other members of this football team. No matter what, they played to the whistle.”
Zach Bollinger also stepped up for the Eagles, grabbing a third quarter interception.
Duval quarterback Chris Brown completed 7-of-17 passes for 119 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He also rushed four times for 40 yards. Jeran Johnson had two carries for 54 yards while Damien McGhee totaled five catches for 101 yards and two scores.