Ravenwood defense stuns Independence, 30-14
By Austin Stanley, for the Williamson Herald
The Ravenwood Raptors improve to 4-0 on the season behind a swarming defense that forced 4 Independence turnovers to clinch the 30-14 win.
In the first half the Raptors defense tallied five sacks to go along with three takeaways in the second half to bottle the explosive plays for the Eagles. Constant pressure on Independence quarterback Caleb Hollis made it difficult to spread the ball around to his weapons on the outside. The Eagles were held to 15 rushing yards on 23 carries.
“They’ve been doing that all year,” Ravenwood coach Will Hester said about his defense. “Our defense has been opportunistic. We’ve been in the plus category in the turnover margin all season long. I can’t say enough about coach (Daniel) Keel and his staff and what those guys do. They work tirelessly. They’re a bunch of grinders over there. I’m so very thankful they work with me because they do a phenomenal job.”
Offensively, the Raptors relied on the three-headed running back group of in Seth and Chris Rowland and Daniel Fountain. Fountain led the way with 90 yards rushing including a 33 yard touchdown run breaking multiple tackles on the way.
“The run game was impressive tonight,” Hester said. “Our guys blocked their tails off and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
The passing game was key in moments for Ravenwood as star receiver Van Jefferson caught a 10 yard touchdown pass from Avery Jankowski in the first quarter. Jankowski found Austin Percy on key third downs to move the chains all night. The most important play of the game came with under 4-minutes left to play and Ravenwood, leading 16-14, with a 4th and goal from the 2-yard line. Jankowski hit running back Will Barton out of the backfield for the score as the pass just sailed over the hands of blitzing Independence safety, Rashaan Gaulden
“We felt like the field goal, sure it would have put us up four or five but as explosive as they are on offense is we had to go with the throw right there,” Hester said. “4th down we had to throw the football and execute a play we work on every stinkin’ day. It’s the first time we’ve thrown it in a game.”
A light schedule the first four weeks of the season caused an assumption of Ravenwood being an unproven team, even though they were undefeated.
“There are a lot of people that said that we haven’t played much of a schedule,” Hester said. “They were talking about how the teams that we played were either this or that. (Independence) is a good football team. That’s a very, very good football team we played tonight. Our kids fought their tail off. Sure we had some breaks go our way but that’s football. I couldn’t be more proud of them. We’re 4-0 and we’ve got another tough one in Overton next week.”
For Hester, starting his Ravenwood coaching career off to a 4-0 start is important to the players he has on his team.
“The things they’ve been through the last three or four years and the situations they’ve been put in having three coaches in five years, these kids have great character and great heart. What they do is rise up in bad situations and I’m just happy to be coaching them.”
Posted on: 9/21/2013