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OVERTIME! Ravenwood stops Franklin 24-23

Franklin quarterback Joe Critchlow (10) felt pressure all night from the Ravenwood defense as he does here from Bryan McKay (34).  CREDIT: 

Jeb Stuart drove a dagger into the hearts of Franklin faithful by blocking an extra point in overtime and Ethan White finished them off with a successful kick of his own as Ravenwood took sole possession of first place in District 11-AAA with a 24-23 overtime win.

The sign was almost as big as the game last night at Franklin. CREDIT:  
 The intensity of the battle in the trenches shows in the faces of Ravenwood offensive linemen Alex Sleenhof (78), Kevin Faulkner (55) and Ryan O'Leary (68) during a break in last night's overtime win over Franklin.   
 Avery Jankowski (7) continued is break-out year for Ravenwood, throwing for 219 yards and three touchdowns in the Raptors' 24-23 overtime win against Franklin last night.Credit:
It was a tough night for running the ball in Ravenwood's 24-23 overtime win at Franklin. Raptor rusher Chris Rowland (23) is hounded by Zach Slessman (34) , Nick Hutchins (30) and Ross Gardner (7).
The full moon over Howard Gamble Stadium last night should have been a message to players, officials and fans alike that the game would be special. The players held up their part as Ravenwood defeated Franklin 24-23 in overtime in a Williamson County classic. Credit: Becky Williams
“This is our third overtime game of the year,” said Ravenwood coach Will Hester after the game.  “Been there, done that.  This just feels pretty good.”
The two teams had been averaging nearly 70 points per game combined, but fought to a 0-0 tie in the first half and scored 37 of the game’s 47 total points in the fourth quarter and overtime.
“It was an awesome high school football game,” said Donnie Webb, Franklin’s head coach.  “We weren’t able to run the football like we’ve been able to.  We had some plays, but not enough to establish what we needed to.”
The Raptors (7-1, 4-0 in District 11-AAA) and the Rebels (7-1, 3-1 in District 11-AAA) fought a vicious defensive battle early, with neither able to penetrate further than the others’ 25-yard line in the first 24 minutes.
Franklin took the second half kick-off, but held the ball only two plays before Jeb Stewart scooped up a Colton Black fumble at the Franklin 39, leading to White’s 41-yard field goal to put Ravenwood up 3-0.
The Rebels answered immediately with a 13-play, 67-yard drive that was capped by Black’s first rushing score from the five.  After swapping punts, the Raptors retook the lead when Avery Jankowski hit Van Jefferson on a 53 yard pass on the first play of the fourth quarter.
It appeared Franklin would answer again, but Alex Lyons stepped in front of a Joe Critchlow pass, racing 63 yards to the Franklin 4.  It was a play that truly excited Hester.
“That was huge.  Alex is another senior leader on this team and folks give him a hard time about not being the fastest guy back there, but he’s football smart.”
After the interception, Jankowski found Jefferson for their second scoring connection of the night and a 17-7 Raptor lead.
Both coaches predicted early in the week that the game would come down to the final couple of possessions and it did. Ravenwood got their best punt of the night, giving Franklin the ball at the Rebel 20 with just 6:15 remaining.  The Rebels scored on a Ben Hagaman 14-yard TD, capping a drive highlighted by a 50-yard catch by Tony Flemister and aided by a roughing the passer penalty.
Down 17-14, Franklin’s defense took the team upon their backs, forcing Ravenwood into a three-and-out, with the punt giving the Rebels the ball back at their own 47 with 2:44 to play.  Critchlow managed a 15-play drive that ended when Joe Defatta nailed a 25-yard FG to tie the game as the clock expired.
Jankowski threw for 219 yards and three touchdowns on the night, with Jefferson gathering 135 of those yards and all three scores.  Critchlow scattered 250 yards in the air among five receivers with Flemister catching five for 123 yards and Luke Hill snagging five for 51 yards.
Defensively, Stewart was the story of the game.  Before blocking the crucial PAT, he had collected 14 tackles, two for a loss, a sack and recovered a fumble.
Ravenwood has an emotional match-up next week with cross-town rival Brentwood before ending the season at Summit.  The Raptors need to win one of those two games to wrap up the district title.
Franklin, still play-off bound, goes to a resurgent Independence next week before hosting their cross-town rival Centennial in the final regular season game of the year.

Ravenwood's Van Jefferson (2) caught five passes, three for touchdowns in Ravenwood's win over Franklin.  Here he slips away from Rebel defender Ross Gardner (7) as teammate Seth Rowland (45) looks for a Rebel to block.

Posted on: 10/18/2013


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