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Independence, Ravenwoood set tone for district play

Ravenwood opens their District 11-AAA schedule by hosting the Independence Eagles (2-1) Friday night. Both teams are coming off their best on-field test of this young season.

Ravenwood (3-0) won in overtime at LaVergne 30-27 and Independence dropped its first game of the year to Beech at home 28-21. Independence is looking to bounce back after the gut wrenching defeat that included five Independence turnovers, hampering the offense. 
“We’ve gone back to the basics,” Eagles coach Scott Blade said. “We’re just trying to work on what we do well and respond from a real challenging game for us. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing but when you’re playing a real good team the turnovers will really cost you.”
For the Raptors, being able to win a close game in overtime allowed them to take steps forward as a team. 
“I think it’ll just prove that we can face adversity, come from behind and that kind of stuff,” Ravenwood coach Will Hester said. “We haven’t had to do that. We’ve been kind of a front runner team to that point. It was an ugly win for us, but a win like we haven’t had to do will help us.”
The Ravenwood offensive attack is polar opposite of what Independence faced last week vs. Beech. Beech ran the ball for 371 yards, including 317 from Dorian Carter. Ravenwood’s spread offense poses challenges to the Eagles defense with different styles in back-to-back weeks.
“We shifted gears towards being able to play 7-on-7,” Blade said. “We did real well with that and had a ton of games during the summer. But remember this, that’s what we do. We practice against ourselves every day. And we think we play some pretty good 7-on-7’s.”
Heading the passing attack for Ravenwood is junior receiver Van Jefferson. Jefferson, son of Titans Receiver Coach Shawn, is a top talent in the South and already has 426 yards and seven touchdowns through three games.
“He’s quick and he’s a Division 1 football player, and that’s always tough,” Independence athlete Vic Wharton said. “But we have three (Division 1 players) so hopefully that will counter out and get them this week. We do a better job of stopping the pass, anyways.”
Jefferson is the best receiver Wharton and fellow Division 1 defensive backs Rashaan Gaulden and Finis Stribling have faced this season. And that goes both ways. 
“I’m real excited,” Jefferson said. “Me and Vic (Wharton) going head to head, so you know it’s going to be exciting. That’s what people want to see and what they’re going to come for. It’s going to be a show.”
Points shouldn’t be scarce between these two district rivals as Ravenwood is averaging 43 points a game with Independence averaging 38.5 on Friday nights. Wharton has 700 all-purpose yards and 11 touchdowns for the year. 

Posted on: 9/19/2013


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