Defending state champs Hillsboro deal Ravenwood another loss
By Jeff Williamson, for the Williamson Herald
Defending Class 4A state champion Hillsboro traveled south Sept. 3 to Ravenwood looking for their first win of the season after an 0-2 start. They found it, but only by the slimmest of margins possible.
In a televised Game of the Week by MY30TV at Ravenwood on Thursday night, Hillsboro left with a narrow victory over the Raptors after the Burros’ quarterback Greg Young turned in the winning TD on a 5-yard run around the left side with 3:27 remaining in the contest. The two-point pass attempt fell incomplete after being deflected.
The visiting Burros drew first blood three minutes into the game with linebacker Antwan Williams recovering a Ravenwood fumble on their first play from scrimmage on a still-slippery field. On their first possession, Burros running back Aaron Bryant broke several tackles to gallop 54 yards into the end zone for Hillsboro’s first TD. Kicker Ryne Spicer added the point after to take a 7-0 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, Ravenwood started at their own one-yard line and marched 98 yards down the field, only to come up scoreless. Raptors QB Alex Williams connected with wide receiver Andrew Cash on a 45-yard strike over the middle on a fourth down to ignite the drive. Williams followed with a 15-yard rush and a 17-yard completion to junior receiver Preston Carter to get the Raptors into a first-and-goal position. After several rushing efforts, Ravenwood gave up possession on a rejected fourth-and-inches attempt.
In a series of possession exchanges, Ravenwood’s Andrew Cash showed his versatility by collecting his first interception of the young season to give the Raptors some momentum. Tony Rowland struck pay dirt on a 5-yard dash to put Ravenwood on the scoreboard. The PAT attempt by Donovan Freeman was low and blocked to allow Hillsboro to retain 7-6 lead.
On Hillsboro’s next offensive series, Ravenwood defensive lineman Drew Hawken exhibited his awareness by recovering a Hillsboro fumble to give his team the ball back. Williams again delivered air mail to Cash, Carter and then found senior Ryan Fitzpatrick twice including a 20-yard gain and 15-yard TD connection to get into the end zone with 17 seconds remaining in the half. The TD capped an eight-play, 70-yard drive. Tony Rowland’s two-point conversion attempt fell short to give the Raptors a 12-7 lead going into the locker room.
“We outplayed the other team in many aspects. We came up short on a 98 1/2 -yard drive, we failed on extra-point attempts and we stopped them all night on defense until we had to,” Ravenwood Head Coach Tom Shuman said in post-game comments. “Those things make the difference. We, as a staff and a team have to learn to overcome those things and account for the fact that we may not get any breaks.”
In spite of some second-half momentum, the Raptors were held scoreless for the remainder of the contest. A 60-yard pass completion from Williams to Fitzpatrick down to the Hillsboro one-yard line was called back by an offensive pass interference penalty negating Ravenwood’s threat to retake the lead. In the Raptors final sustained drive of the game and three minutes remaining, Williams left the game with a knee injury and did not return. The drive stalled to end the game at 13-12.
Ravenwood’s Rowland was held to 54 yards on 15 rushes and Alec Johnson added another 26 yards on 6 attempts. Williams completed 11 of 14 passes for 181 yards in the air with one TD and one pick on the night before exiting.
Defensively, the Raptor unit was anchored by senior linebackers Theo Egbujor and Matt Kundert with playmakers Cash, Tanner Withrow and Ryan Bednar all significantly contributing to the team efforts.
Coach Shuman also commented, “Long story short, our players have to believe in themselves enough to overcome all of this early adversity and misfortune. Injuries, bad breaks and missed extra points are a part of life in general. We must, and I believe, we will find a way to overcome.”
The Hillsboro offensive attack was led by tailback Aaron Bryant with 98 rushing yards and one touchdown on 13 carries. Young completed 9 of 15 for 113 yards to four receivers, one interception and added 45 yards on 10 rushes including the game-winning score.
This week’s action has Ravenwood (0-2) traveling to take on the intra-county and region rival Page Patriots (2-1) in Friday night competition. Page is coming off of a 38-13 win over Lewis County.
Posted on: 9/9/2009