By SAM McGAW Photos by DEB SCALLY
An injury wasn’t going to prevent running back Zyon Lee from being Centennial’s workhorse against Ravenwood.
Despite hurting his left ankle in the first quarter, the senior powered his way to 29 carries for 141 rushing yards and two touchdowns to lead the Cougars (3-1) to a 21-14 road victory.
“I can’t say enough about Zyon Lee,” Centennial head coach Matt Kriesky said. “He had a bum ankle and he didn’t want to come out of the game. He kept going and kept fighting. That says a lot about the young man, and I’m proud of him.”
Lee scored the game-opening touchdown on a 5-yard run three minutes into the first quarter. His 1-yard touchdown with eight minutes left in the game extended Centennial’s lead to 21-7.
“My right ankle was twisted, but I had to just keep fighting and not give up,” Lee stated. “Our linemen executed well, which let us run the ball well tonight.”
A furious comeback attempt by Ravenwood (2-2) late in the fourth quarter ended in controversy.
A 24-yard touchdown run by Ontario Rice cut Ravenwood’s deficit to 7 with two minutes left in the game. Following a defensive stop, the Raptors had the ball near midfield with 20 seconds left.
A couple of quick passes set the Raptors up with a Hail Mary attempt by quarterback McCain Marrow from the CHS 46 with seven seconds remaining. After the ball hit the ground and the whistle blew, the clock trickled from one second to zero.
Despite an uproar from Ravenwood’s coaching staff and the crowd about the late continuation of the clock, the refs declared the game was over and they rushed off the field.
“How are you not going to talk to us about it? There’s no way that play took seven seconds,” one Ravenwood coach yelled as the refs jogged through the end zone.
The loss is the second in three weeks for the defending Class 6A champions.
“Our guys have tremendous character and tremendous heart, and they’re going to fight through adversity,” Ravenwood head coach Richie Wessman said. “They’re mentally tough about it and they’re resilient. As a coach, you can’t be more proud of a team.”
Centennial jumped out to a 14-0 advantage with 1:28 remaining in the first quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Matthew Thurston.
Ravenwood cut the lead down to 14-7 five minutes into the second quarter with a 22-yard touchdown strike from Marrow to Smeltz.
Marrow completed 21 of 39 passes for 154 yards and one interception.
“Our line was where it needed to be to cover the run-pass options and our secondary was able to lock locking down their pass game,” Centennial safety Senturian DuReaux said. “We were able to keep everything on the ground instead of through the air.”
The Cougars limited RHS to 250 total yards. Ravenwood went 4 of 13 on third-down conversions and was 0-for-8 on fourth down.
“I keep telling our guys we can be a special team,” Kriesky said. “We have the pieces to the puzzle to be special, but we have to come to work each week. We can’t have a letdown week.”
Sam McGaw is sports editor of Home Page Media Group. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SamMcGawSports.