HUNTINGTON LEARNING CENTER GAME OF THE WEEK
By SAM McGAW | Photos by KINDELL BUCHANAN
With muddy field conditions, a steady downpour and temperatures in the 40s, the Ravenwood Raptors had the perfect storm to feed running back Jordan Smith Friday.
It’s safe to say he ate and had seconds.
The sophomore bruiser rushed for close to 240 yards and a touchdown to lead the Raptors to a Region 6-6A title with a 22-13 win at home against Independence.
“He’s done a heck of a job when he’s been called on,” Ravenwood first-year head coach Matt Daniels said. “He’s a tough runner and he fought through a little shoulder injury tonight. It’s what we’ve done all year – someone steps up when they need to and the whole team rallies around those guys. It’s awesome.”
After Ravenwood safety Cole Carteaux stuffed Independence’s run on a fake punt, Smith put the icing on the cake with a 35-yard touchdown run for the final score with 4:34 remaining.
Ravenwood (8-2, 4-1) needed a win and a Centennial loss to Brentwood to win the region. The Raptors will host LaVergne (4-6) in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs on Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. Independence (5-5, 3-2) will visit Smyrna (7-3).
“I’d be lying if I said we weren’t confident coming into the year,” Daniels stated. “We took that first loss to Centennial and we took that to heart. We’re in a really good spot right now and we get to host some playoff games. Ravenwood hasn’t experienced that in a couple of years.”
Independence took a 13-10 lead less than three minutes into the fourth quarter on a 90-yard touchdown sprint by running back Troy Henderson.
That advantage didn’t last long, however, as Ravenwood responded in the ensuing drive with a 34-yard touchdown run by offensive weapon Nick Stallcup with 7:03 left in the game.
Henderson finished with 207 rushing yards on 25 carries, while Indy quarterback Nathan Cisco completed 6 of 13 passes for 104 yards and two interceptions.
“That was a heck of an offense we played against,” Daniels said. “Obviously, the elements had something to do with it tonight, but we made some mistakes out there we were able to overcome. That senior class puts the guys on their backs and shows them the way. Huge night by our senior defenders.”
Independence recovered a Stallcup fumble at the Ravenwood 26 with 1:08 to play, but Ravenwood safety regained possession for his squad with an interception a few plays later.
Ravenwood jumped out to a 7-0 lead four minutes into the game after Parker Nash recovered his team’s own fumble in the end zone.
Independence wide receiver Kendrell Scurry’s 48-yard reception set up a 5-yard touchdown run by TJ Sheffield to tie the game at seven with 10:32 remaining in the second quarter.
Ravenwood regained the lead with a 37-yard field goal by kicker Sam French as time expired in the first half.
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_.