MIDLAND — Rider has openly talked about making history this year with a goal of being the most successful playoff team the program has ever produced.
The focus has never about statistics, although the Raiders came about five feet short of the school's scoring record Saturday night.
Instead, the Raiders were happy to claim a 64-35 victory over El Paso Burgess and their third straight trip to the Region I-4A final.
Rider did set the school record for points in a playoff game. The Raiders had scored a 63-42 victory over Stephenville in a memorable 2004 bi-district game.
The Raiders set a feverish pace Saturday by scoring on their first play of the night, a double reverse 52-yard pass. By the time the game was five minutes old, they had a 21-0 lead.
They followed that up with 22 points in the second quarter and 14 in the third. Rider scored on its first play of the fourth quarter with a 51-yard touchdown run by Domanic Thrasher.
That gave Thrasher four touchdowns, one in each quarter. He also had two conversion runs and scored 28 points in all — the school record is 36 by Bub Deerinwater in 1964.
The Raiders threatened the 70-point mark, which would have set a school record. But they were thinking about the chance to get everyone in a playoff game. With their fourth quarterback — freshman Tariq Vasher — leading the way, they drove from their own 25-yard line to the Burgess 2.
It was a 31-yard catch-and-run by sophomore Josh Hatch that moved the ball to the 2. But the backups to the backups couldn't quite punch it in, and there was a bad snap on fourth down.
So the 69 points scored by the 2006 Raiders against a new school called Denton Guyer survived as the school record.
The 2012 Raiders are left chasing the kind of history they really want to make, like making it to the fifth round of the playoffs.
The other 60-point games in history are a 68-14 victory against Burkburnett in 2002 and a 63-21 blowout against Denison in 2007.
Last year's regional finalist team, which featured stars J.T. Barrett and Anthony Wagner in the backfield, just missed the 60-point mark on two occasions, getting 58 against Lubbock Coronado and 59 against The Colony.
Rider has scored 40 or more in a playoff game 11 times, and four of those are in wins against El Paso teams. Three of those have been 50-point games, with the aforementioned 64 and 63 plus a 56-0 third-round shutout of Lubbock Estacado in 2006.
They have allowed 40 or more points in a playoff game four times, including the past two regional finals. Last year's 54-34 loss to Waco Midway set the mark after a 46-15 loss to Denton Ryan had previously set that record.
The 63-42 win over Stephenville in 2004, a game that featured five 100-yard receivers, actually set both the Rider record for points and points allowed at that time. But that 42 is now third in points allowed.
That 2004 team with Blake Szymanski, David Nelson and Mookie Davis scored 184 points in four playoff games and has the most points of any Rider playoff team. The current team has 139 points in three playoff games.
Before the turn of the century, the most Rider had allowed in a playoff game was 35, and that happened twice in 1998 when a 2-8 team made the playoffs and beat Weatherford 41-35 before losing two rounds later to Plainview.
Saturday's track meet was a reason to look back at the record book, but there's no research needed on Rider's fifth-round results.
It's a blank page the 2012 Raiders are hoping to put some ink on. And they need one victory at Memorial Stadium to accomplish that mission.