Story and Video By SAM McGAW
HUNTINGTON LEARNING CENTER GAME OF THE WEEK
Ravenwood (2-1) at Page (3-0), 7 p.m. Friday
The Ravenwood Raptors are riding some momentum, but they’d rather continue the role of the underdog.
This week, they get the chance to play spoiler, as they look to hand the Page Patriots their first loss of the season.
“Our guys are playing for respect every game,” Ravenwood head coach Matt Daniels said. “We like the idea of playing with a chip on our shoulder. You can kind of see we’re learning to enjoy it. There’s one thing about smiling all the time with that chip on your shoulder. We’re playing loose and having fun, but at the same time we’re out there to gain respect.”
Ravenwood defeated Franklin 13-10 last week for its second straight victory. Each of its three games has been decided by three points.
“Having another big win last week is just adding fuel to our fire,” Daniels stated. “We like to think of that as positive momentum heading towards Page. I know I talked about not having a letdown against Franklin. It’s kind of the same thing this week, but Page is a good football team and that works in our favor.”
Page has outscored its opponents 113-34 this season. It took down Franklin County 42-7 last week.
Its offense is led by bruising running back Bubba Johnson. The sophomore has rushed for 430 yards and six touchdowns on 70 carries.
He’ll aim to shoulder the load against a Raptors’ defense that’s allowed 759 rushing yards this season.
“He’s tough to tackle, especially when he gets going downhill,” Daniels said. “If he gets a head of steam behind him, I don’t think there are a lot of people that want to get in his way. Then, he’s also a little bit more elusive than you might realize. He’s a tough runner and he can make cuts that you probably don’t think he can make.
“If you don’t have nine or 10 guys flying to him, then it’s going to make for a long night.”
Johnson is complemented by quarterback Jacob Van Landingham, who’s recorded 137 passing yards, 141 rushing yards, six touchdowns (5 run) and three interceptions.
“If we play our style and fly to the football, we feel like it’s a nice matchup for us,” Daniels said. “We’ve been able to really lock some teams down this year in the passing game. We kind of pride ourselves on being an all-around defense and having a pretty stout secondary. We feel if we can shut down the run early and force them to pass, we would prefer to have them try to beat us in the passing game.”
Ravenwood’s offense enters the matchup averaging 27 points and 316 yards per game.
Nick Stallcup spearheads the unit. After starting at quarterback in Week 1, the senior has been used in a variety of roles with Brian Garcia taking the reins.
Stallcup has accounted for 175 passing yards, 166 rushing yards, 22 receiving yards and three total touchdowns (1 rec., 1 run, 1 pass).
Miller Powell (9 rec., 197 yds, 2 TDs) and Andrew Mason (5 rec., 114 yds, 1 TD) lead the receiving corps, while Cameron Scherer (101 rush yds, 1 TD) and Anthony Holmes (109 rush yds, 81 rec. yds, 3 TDs) are the team’s top backs.
Safety Michael Burdick is Page’s top playmaker on defense. The junior has four interceptions, including two that were returned for touchdowns.
The Patriots haven’t allowed more than 14 points in a game this season.
“They don’t beat themselves,” Daniels stated. “They put themselves in a position to make plays and make the offense make mistakes. They execute and force the opposing offense to execute. On the other side of the coin, our offense needs to take what they give us. It’s kind of a game of patience with them.”
Sam McGaw is the sports editor for Brentwood Home Page, Franklin Home Page, Nolensville Home Page and Spring Hill Home Page. Follow him on Twitter @SamMcGaw_.