MINT HILL, NC – The Rocky River Ravens were stunned by the Butler Bulldogs’ dominance in the second half in a ball game contained by both team’s defenses in the first half. In fact, the only score occurred in the second quarter when the Ravens were able to get points on a safety in the end zone when they sacked the Bulldogs QB Xavion Brower. The senior under tremendous pressure in his own end zone tried to toss a pass to a receiver but was called for intentional grounding. The first half ended with the Ravens ahead 2-0 in a football game that looked like it was going to be a defensive battle all night.
However, this writer was completely surprised, as this game had an unexpected twist. The Butler offense after the intermission became an offensive juggernaut scoring 29 points in the third quarter taking complete control of this football game.
On their first possession, Butler QB Brower connected with a WR on a 65-yard catch and dash TD giving the visitors a 7-2 lead. The PAT was good by kicker Elijah Swett.
The Ravens would bounce back, scoring a TD of their own to counter on a nifty 25-yard rumble by RB Jaylan Byrd to take an 8-7 one-point lead. The 2-point conversion was stopped by the stingy Bulldog defense.
However, on the ensuing kickoff, senior Jason Chambers would take the kickoff fake past two defenders, find daylight, and turned on the afterburners for a 79 yard TD making a big statement. The PAT was good again by Sweet and Butler regained the lead 14-8.
On the following offensive possession after the Ravens could not get the first down. The Bulldogs with excellent field position put together a nice looking drive capped off when Travon Tensley from the 4-yard line rumbled into the end zone untouched giving the Bulldogs a 20-8 advantage. The 2-point conversion on a QB keeper by Brower was successful, Butler was now ahead 22-8.
The Ravens offense had their second consecutive 3 and out, the Bulldogs offense with good field position once again, took full advantage of the opportunity. Brower would locate HB/RB Ty Moore on a pass reception and he would take it 40 yards downfield to the house giving the Bulldogs a 29-8 commanding lead on a dominating third quarter of action.
I don’t think Rocky River was prepared for this type of onslaught from the Bulldogs and caught them off guard. Butler could score at will, with excellent field position, the rushing and passing game was firing on all cylinders, add a 79-yard kickoff return for a TD after the Ravens took an 8-7 lead, it was over, the momentum swing was huge. From this moment going forward, the Bulldogs just pounded the Ravens at “The Rock.”
In the 4th quarter, Butler added another TD on a 5-yard dash from junior Eli Sylvester with 6:00 minutes remaining in the football game. The PAT was good by Swett and the score was now 36-8. Butler added a field goal by Sweet padding the score to 39-8 to end the scoring. The second half rout was now complete.
The Ravens will move forward and take on Providence next Friday night on the road. While the Bulldogs will be playing the game of the week for first place in the Southwestern 4A Conference visiting Charlotte Catholic as both teams are undefeated in conference competition at 4-0.
Rocky River lost to Charlotte Catholic at home 30-13, while Butler rallied to defeat the Ravens 39-8 on Friday night. This game is going to be a good one to watch.