“I didn’t recognize us tonight. We weren’t the usual Ravenwood team I know.”
In two short sentences Raptor senior receiver Andrew Mason succinctly explained Ravenwood’s 42-21 BlueCross Bowl championship loss to Maryville, giving the East Tennessee team their 17th gold ball.
“Obviously by the score we didn’t execute the way we wanted to, as Coach (Ravenwood head coach Matt) Daniels said, from top to bottom, from coaches to players, just everybody,” Mason said.
Maryville gashed the Raptor defense for 217 yards on the ground, led by BlueCross Bowl MVP Cade Chambers, who gained 76 yards on 10 carries from his quarterback spot, and Tee Hodge, who picked up 118 yards in 17 rushes. Both scored twice on the ground.
The Raptors uncharacteristically committed three turnovers and the Rebels scored off each one. The first, a fumble on Ravenwood’s second drive, gave Maryville the ball at the Raptor 6-yard line. After driving the second half kick-off deep into Maryville territory, a second fumble led to a touchdown and an interception that went through the hands of Jake Briningstool and fell into the hands of Maryville player on his back at the Ravenwood 20. The next possession sealed the issue.
Senior quarterback Brian Garcia threw for 170 yards and two scores while running for 34 more and a touchdown. He echoed Mason’s observation of the night.
“We just didn’t execute well enough in all three phases of the game," said Garcia, who closed his senior year with just shy of 3,200 yards passing. "We turned the ball over inside the five and giving our defense a tough position to start out the game. We just didn’t play well at all tonight. They did some good things, but we didn’t do anything well tonight. It’s hard to win when you do that.
“We showed some flashes of us being us, but most of the time it was us not being us. Credit Maryville, they are very good football team. They are not 15-0 by accident.”
Maryville won the toss and took the opening kickoff 80 yards in six plays and less than two minutes to go up 7-0. A 69-yard pass play triggered the drive on the game's third play. Another quick score after the first fumble opened the door for a familiar Garcia-to-Mason 28-yard touchdown pass all before the end of the first quarter. The Rebels added two touchdowns in both the second and third stanzas to generate a 42-7 lead and a running clock to start the fourth quarter.