The Rocky River football Ravens who have made a decision to play an extremely difficult schedule this season seemed to pay the price at “The Rock” on Friday night under the lights against nationally ranked Mallard Creek.
In the first half we had a good competitive football game. The Ravens elected to kickoff to the Mavericks to put their defense on the field who shut-out Hunter Huss last week. The defense is considered the strength of this team, and would give the offense the ball to start the second half. A good strategy, but it unfortunately backfired because they were playing one of the more successful teams in our area and state over the past decade.
On their first possession the Mavericks marched down the field for an 80 yard drive to take a 7-0 lead. The drive appeared to stall inside the Ravens 20 yard line, however, a personal foul penalty by the defense after a third down stop gave their opponent new life and an eventual touchdown.
On the kickoff the Ravens started from their own 38 yard line and mounted a 62 yard drive of their own to tie the score. The big play was a 32 yard pass play from quarterback Korey Hailey to a wide receiver. In only seven minutes into the contest we had a 7-7 football game.
The Ravens then recovered a key fumble on the kickoff by Christian Rudisell putting the ball on the Mavericks 27 yard line. After a seven yard pick-up on first down, quarterback Hailey would connect with wide receiver Antjuan Collins for a 20 yard touchdown reception putting the Ravens up 14-7.
In the second quarter Mallard Creek would score on a 59 yard reception from quarterback Dustin Noller to speedster Elijah Metcalf to make the score 14-13. The extra point sailed wide to the right, so the Ravens held a slim one point advantage.
Then with 4:11 remaining on the clock, on a nice drive engineered by quarterback Hailey, mostly on short screen passes with good open field running, the Ravens would increase their lead to 21-13 on a two yard quarterback keeper.
Ravens fans began to think we may have an upset in the making. However, the Mavericks had other ideas after falling behind. Noller would connect on a 15 yard touchdown pass, and a two point conversion with 2:29 remaining in the half to tie the game at 21-21.
On the ensuing kickoff the Ravens would get great field position on the Mavericks 30 yard line. Then on first down, the bigger more aggressive defensive line of the Mavericks sacked Hailey who was stripped of the ball for a turnover. After a couple of penalties including a pass interference call on the Ravens, Trenton Simpson would scamper for a 55 yard rushing touchdown from scrimmage with 1:57 on the scoreboard clock to give Mallard Creek a 28-21 lead at halftime. This late score seemed to be the momentum swing, as the Mavericks regrouped and made some adjustments going into the third quarter.
Mallard Creek came out for the second half to dominate and take full control of this football game in every category. Their defense shut down the Ravens completely. However, their offensive line ruled the line of scrimmage and just would wear down the Ravens defense and mistakes scoring 35 unanswered points. This contest became a lopsided whooping with quarterback Noller connecting on a three touchdown passes of 30, 58, and 45 yards. A blocked punt when the Ravens kicker dropped the snap, and a pass interception to add two more easy scores destroying any hopes of a Ravens comeback or to even remain competitive.
The Mavericks QB Dustin Noller tossed for 327 yards, going 14-23, rushed for another 27 yards with a total of 5 touchdowns. While wide receiver Elijah Metcalf had 158 yards in receiving and 3 TD’s.
The Ravens will travel to Harding University High School next week to take on the Rams. Then they have to face a solid Butler team, still play powerhouse Myers Park at home, much improved Independence, Porter Ridge and Hickory Ridge. They have East Mecklenburg and Garinger on their schedule which should provide some temporary relief from a tough schedule.
At this point one must question, should the team have played West Mecklenburg in the home opener that was rained out on a Friday night the following Monday which they cancelled? It may have been a good tune-up game and confidence builder this team could use after their recent two losses.