By SAM McGAW | Photos by DEB SCALLY
After every win, Ravenwood head coach Matt Daniels selects one of his team’s top performers of the night to ring the Raptors’ victory bell.
He went a different direction following Friday’s Class 6A opening-round matchup against LaVergne, as he gave the honor to his entire defensive line.
With the help of six sacks from six different players, the Raptors held the Wolverines to 183 total yards en route to a 44-14 victory at home.
“I’m really proud of how our defense has come along in the second half of the year,” Ravenwood head coach Matt Daniels said. “We’re really starting to buckle down, and it’s a perfect time in the year to do that.”
Ravenwood allowed 125 of the 183 yards on an 80-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and a 45-yard touchdown pass with three minutes left in the game.
“It seems like every game we give up a long touchdown, and it’s usually a long run to an athlete when one or two of our guys just get out of position,” Daniels said. “It’s just about building trust.”
The Raptors have held four of their last five opponents to 17 points or less.
Next week, they host the Independence Eagles for a second-round bout. They defeated the Eagles 22-13 in the season-finale.
“We’ve wanted to prove everyone wrong about the Raptors since the start of the season,” Ravenwood linebacker Anthony McCarthy said. “The spirit on this team is unbelievable and a force to be reckoned with.”
McCarthy racked up a team-high nine total tackles and a sack.
“We would not be the same defense without (McCarthy),” Daniels stated. “It’s not just about the plays he makes, but it’s his motor. He reminds me a lot of [Green Bay Packers linebacker] Clay Matthews. When Clay was in his prime, you watched him all four quarters and the guy never stopped, and that’s how Anthony has been. His motor does not turn off.”
Ravenwood quarterback Brian Garcia passed for 208 yards and two touchdowns. Both of his scoring strikes came in the first quarter, as he hit Parker Nash for a 5-yard touchdown and Miller Powell from 52 yards out.
Running back Jordan Smith rushed for 105 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries. It was his fourth straight game with over 100 rushing yards.
“It feels good to be able to help my brothers out,” Smith said. “The line was phenomenal tonight. They made some giant holes for me.”
Running back Anthony Holmes scored on a 10-yard touchdown run to push the Raptors’ lead to 35-7 with 5:12 left in the third.
Following a LaVergne safety on a tackle by safety Cole Carteaux, Ravenwood offensive weapon Nick Stallcup found the end zone on a 30-yard touchdown scamper for a 44-7 advantage in the final minute of the third quarter.
The Raptors finished with 485 total yards.
“The fact that this is a brand-new offense that didn’t get installed until the end of June, I can’t say enough about the offensive staff and the kids,” Daniels said. “It was a total buy-in. We’re going to have our hiccups here and there, but it’s been an awesome year for 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_.