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BATTLE OF THE WOODS: More than just bragging rights on the line

Ravenwood hosts Brentwood tomorrow night.
It’s not often a second-year school turns a man-handling loss in the first season into a victory in the second. In 2004, Ravenwood did just that.
That was then. This is now.
The Bruins have tagged six more loses on Ravenwood since then, including the last four straight in building an 8-4 all time advantage. It’s a streak the Raptor’s hope to put an end to tomorrow night.
The Raptors (7-1, 4-0 District 11-AAA) host cross-town rival Brentwood (3-5, 2-2 District 11-AAA) in the most important game between the two since a second round play-off meeting in 2005 that the Raptors won 17-6 on the way to the state title.
A win by Ravenwood wraps up the district title for the Raptors, while Brentwood needs a victory keep up the effort to claw its way back into the play-off picture.
Ravenwood comes into the game riding an emotional high after slipping out of Franklin with a 24-23 win in overtime win that will go down as a classic.  With the victory, in their third overtime game of the year, the Raptors took over the top spot in District 11-AAA with an undefeated record.  
Brentwood, fighting hard against a brutal schedule, opened with an uncharacteristic 0-3 mark but never quit working to improve.  Standing 3-5 on the season and 2-2 in the district, a win over Ravenwood and Independence would put the Bruins back into the running for a play-off spot.
The game will not lack standout players. Ravenwood’s Van Jefferson is the district’s leading receiver with 55 catches for 864 yards and 13 touchdowns.  
Coaches across the county have learned that if coverages are designed to stop Jefferson, Austin Percy is a deep threat.
Both have the luxury of the district’s leading passer in senior Avery Jankowski. Nearly 75 percent of his completions have been caught by Jefferson and Percy.  
Jankowski stands 104-159 for 1,488 for the season, with 19 TD’s against just four interceptions.
Brentwood counters with quarterback Aaron Maher, a tall, lanky threat to throw or run.  He’s averaging over 4.6 yards per carry, rushing about twelve times a contest. In the air, Maher is technically the third leading passer in the district with 1,264 yards, but his extensive playing experience is a plus for the Bruins.
On the receiving end, Andy Schumpert has hauled down 27 catches for 409 yards, third best in the district, and Jalen Marsalis has 40 receptions.
An even air attack leaves Brentwood coach Mike Woodward and Ravenwood head man Will Hester both in their first year at the respective schools, looking for a strong rushing game to tip the scales in their favor.
Brentwood brings Maher and John Maher Builders Scholar-Athlete of the Month Austin Wells to party.  
Wells has 412 yards on 81 carries, fifth best in the district, and is relied upon for the tough short yardage. For Ravenwood, the Rowland brothers, Seth and Chris, carry the load. Sitting just behind Wells in sixth and seventh in the district, Seth has 367 yards and six TD’s while Chris 308 yards on ten fewer carries and two TD’s.

Posted on: 10/24/2013


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