BRENTWOOD – Notre Dame needed Four Horsemen to beat Army nearly 100 years ago.
Friday night, Ravenwood needed only three to gallop past Independence. The Raptors improved to 8-2 overall and closed 4-1 in Region 7-6A after a 20-10 victory.
Kartuah Chapman (126 yards), Carter Pace (119), and a last-minute entry, J.T. Smitherman (54 yards) accounted for 299 of the Raptors’ 328 yards of offense, each scoring a touchdown, as Ravenwood overwhelmed Independence (4-6, 2-3) to secure the second spot in Region 7-6A and the home game in next week’s opening round of the TSSAA playoffs that goes with it.
It didn’t start out pretty at the Raptors’ home corral. Ravenwood was without junior quarterback Chris Parson, who did not dress after tweaking an injury in last week’s win over Pope John Paul II. Although he was ready to play, Raptors coach Will Hester kept the talented QB out of the game for an extra week of rest before the playoffs.
Senior Brenden Dickinson was solid filling in, but the Eagles’ Sam Henke, who earlier in the day committed to the UT, as in the University of Toronto, nailed a 26-yard field goal in the second quarter and the Raptors missed a pair, leaving the Eagles up 3-0 at the break.
That’s when Hester had a little talk with his charges.
“It’s a football game," he said. "You’ve got to have a bit of a physical mentality to play football. Our offensive line took it as a challenge to come out in the second half and run the football. And they met that challenge.”
After gaining just 55 yards on the ground in the first half, Ravenwood’s offensive line of Tanner Schuck, Trent Baldwin, Brysten Appleton, Carter Miller and Jacob Thompson left the hay in the barn and began cutting wide swaths in the trial.
Ravenwood scored on the opening drive of the second half, covering 80 yards in just seven plays, capped off by Smitherman’s slippery 36-yard for the touchdown.
“J.T. has played a lot of tailback in his career here,” said Hester. “It’s playoff time. It’s time to put your best players in a position to be successful. It was senior night. I knew he was going to do something special; he knew he was going to do something special, and he did.”
Trailing just 7-3, Independence looked ready to answer, driving from their own 22-yard line to the Ravenwood 28, keyed by a critical Joe Cummings to Ty Lockwood 29-yard connection. But the drive stalled after three incomplete passes and Henke’s 45-yard field goal attempt sailed just wide to stop the threat.
Ravenwood responded, riding Chapman, Pace and Smitherman to cover 80 yards in nine straight rushing plays, with Pace getting the score on a 17-yard run. The Raptors added an insurance score to open the fourth, with Chapman getting across from eight yards out. The extra point kick was no good.
The Eagles got the final score of the night, on a two-yard pass from Cummings to Jack Rummell with less than five minutes left.
“They were able to the ball right down the pipe in the third quarter and we were unable to stop them," Indy coach Scott Blade said. "We missed some opportunities offensively and against a real good team you can’t do that."
“It puts a lot of pressure on the defense when you don’t score," Blade continued. "It’s the beautiful thing about football, it’s a team game. The offense has got to score and the defense has got to stop them. The defense did a great job in the first half and we just didn’t score enough. I’m proud of the kids' effort, it just came up short tonight and the better team won.”
Even with the loss, the Eagles will continue to play, finishing fourth in the region and drawing the tough task of traveling to Shelby County next week to face Region 8-6A champ Collierville (10-0).
“We’ve been playing the better the last two weeks, so we have one more shot to try and get better," Blade said. "We’ll see if we can’t regroup and get back at it.”
For Ravenwood, it is an old foe that will come calling next week, as Whitehaven (7-3) makes the trip from Memphis.
“We know Whitehaven well,” Hester said. “They do a great job with their kids. It will different playing them this early; usually it’s to determine who gets to go to the championship game. But now that we’re paired up with Memphis, we’ll catch them early. It’s going to be a tough battle.
“I love the atmosphere when Whitehaven comes, and their band comes. It’s going to be an unbelievable atmosphere for high school football here next week and I can’t wait for our kids to have that opportunity.”
FRANKLIN — By all indications, the Brentwood High School football team appears ready to make…
Ravenwood 20, Independence 10
IHS 3 0 0 0 – 10
RHS 0 0 14 6 – 20
1Q 6:06 IHS – Sam Henke 26 FG;
3Q 9:20 RHS – J.T. Smitherman 36 run (Alex Callanen kick);
3Q 2:23 RHS – Carter Pace 17 run (Callanen kick);
4Q 8:24 RHS – Kartuah Chapman 8 run (kick failed);
4Q 4:46 IHS – Jack Rummell 2 pass from Joe Cummings (Henke kick).
IHS – 15-61 (Tre Hartwell, 12-45; Jack Rummell, 3-15). RHS – 54-297 (Kartuah Chapmman, 21-126; Carter Pace, 17-119; J.T. Smitherman, 5-54; Brenden Dickinson, 11-(-2).
IHS – Joe Cummings, 15-28-0-1 for 143. RHS – Brenden Dickenson, 4-7-0 for 31.
IHS – 15-143 (Ty Lockwood, 6-61; Jack Rummell, 5-55; River Katina, 3-26; Brooks Sapone, 1-1); RHS – 4-31 (Nick Raum, 3-26; Blake Irvin, 1-5).