CHARLOTTE – The Charlotte Catholic Cougars came into “The Rock” and rocked the house with a solid performance defeating the Rocky River Ravens 30-13 in an important Southwestern 4A Conference matchup.
In a surprise move, Ravens Head Football Coach, Orlando Gray did not start his #1 QB Khalil Archie in the football game. We were not aware of this decision, however, it was made prior to the game. During the week Khalil missed a practice and had not properly communicated to the team. “This is our discipline policy, Khalil Archie sat the first half. He would have made a big difference in the first half, said Gray.”
Meanwhile, the backup QB Trevion Graham started in his place behind the center. During the Ravens first possession after a good defensive effort, Rocky River had a first down on their own 27 yard line. Cougars DE Tyler Mills dropped Graham for a 5 yard loss on the first play from scrimmage. On the next play Graham tossed an errant pass for an interception giving the Cougars good field position on the Ravens 45 yard line. The coach was obviously not pleased with the end result of the play.
The Cougars picked up two first downs. Then from the 25 yard line QB Sean Boyle found TE Robert McKernan open inside the 10, who caught the pass and rumbled into the end zone for the games first score with 5:06 remaining in the first quarter. The PAT was good by Jack Rouse for a 7-0 lead.
In the second quarter, the Cougars QB Boyle connected with his other TE Jack Larsen for a huge 42-yard pass reception. A few plays later on a third down and 8 from the 14 yard line the Ravens defense held making a big tackle in the backfield by OLB Jamarion Anderson for a 3 yard loss forcing a field goal try. Rouse would cleanly kick the ball through the uprights giving the Cougars a 10-0 advantage.
The teams both had one more possession each, however, they were not able to execute a sustainable drive to put up any points. The biggest play was by Cougars RB Evan Collins, who caught a pass and run after the catch for a 30 yard gain.
In the second half on the ensuing kickoff the Ravens began a drive from their own 30 yard line. Khalil Archie entered the game and made a statement on his first drive. He connected with his favorite WR Antwione Norris for 10 yards and a first down. Then the running backs began to pick up good yardage from Jaylan Byrd and Aden Anderson. Norris would add two more catches in the drive along with a nice quarterback keeper in the mix. Finally, Norris took a handoff from Archie and followed a good block into the end zone for the Ravens first touchdown. The PAT was good by Jaylon Stringfellow, the Ravens were back in the football game 10-7.
However, the Cougars answered quickly on the kickoff when the ball was returned to the Ravens 32 yard line. The next play Boyle connected again with his TE McKernan for a 15 yard pick up putting the ball on the 17 yard line. Just two plays later Collins would pound the ball across the goal line giving the Cougars back a 10-point lead 17-7.
In the opening drive of the final quarter the Ravens engineered a nice drive led by Archie, however, it stalled on Tyler Mills second QB sack forcing a 27 yard field goal try by Stringfellow. The snap from center was crisp, but the Cougars strong rush had penetration, the kick was blocked and recovered by Catholic.
The Cougars put together another drive to increase their lead to 23-7. The PAT bounced off the left side goalpost and was no good. Catholic would add another score later in the quarter giving them a commanding lead 30-7.
However, with three minutes remaining in the contest, Archie handed the ball off to Jaylan Byrd on his own 45-yard line, he would burst through a hole, break a tackle, find daylight and race down the sidelines for a 55-yard touchdown run to make the score 30-13. The two-point conversion failed. The Ravens tried to successfully execute an on-sides kick, but the Cougars recovered at midfield. Catholic ran out the clock and this game is now one for the record books.
The Cougars are now 5-1 overall, and 3-0 in the conference tied with Butler. The Ravens are 2-4 overall, and 1-2 in conference competition.