The Rocky River Ravens played a defensive battle against the Butler Bulldogs this past Friday night under the lights on a hot and humid evening.
The Ravens stout defense gave up an opening drive touchdown, and then held the potent Bulldog offense the rest of the distance until the game went into overtime.
This was a hard hitting football game, and it showed up early on during the initial drive after the kickoff was returned to the 22 yard line where the Bulldogs would begin their touchdown drive. On a third down and 5 play, Jamal Worthy, the talented Bulldog running back would rumble 6 yards for the first down. However, he was hammered by three Ravens defenders and was forced to leave the game on a possible concussion. He never returned, and can only assume this was due to his personal safety for precautionary reasons, and the concussion protocol.
Therefore, with Worthy sidelined, the running back duties switched to Jau’rice Alexander and Lamont Brooks to carry the load for the remainder of the football game from the halfback position. They both did a good job in filling in for Worthy, but his presence and potential threat was missed putting more pressure on the shoulders of Butler’s junior quarterback Parish Metzger. This opened the door for the solid Ravens pass rush to force Metzger to scramble, which is not his strength, he is more of a pocket quarterback with a good arm. Without the threat of Worthy, the Ravens took full advantage of this opportunity and focused on applying as much pressure on Metzger as possible. They did all night including multiple sacks in key situations late in the ball game.
The Ravens Brian Grier had an outstanding game for the Ravens in both the MLB/DE positions being involved in many tackles, assists, and applying pressure on the Bulldogs quarterback. Meanwhile, AJ Starks had a big night defensively for the Bulldogs, which included two huge tackles in overtime to stop the Ravens just inches from the goal line.
On the offensive side of the ball John Park, the senior stocky running back at 6’0″ weighing 245 pounds scored both touchdowns for the Bulldogs. In the opening drive, he capped the 78 yard drive with a 9 yard scamper into the end zone running over two would be defenders. He is the fullback, the leading blocker for Worthy, however, tonight he showed he can rumble himself with authority.
With score still 7-0 midway in the fourth quarter, the Ravens started from their own 20 yard line, Korey Hailey would connect with Isaiah Mcilwain for a 10 yard gain for a first down. Kalib Jennings would pick-up 7 yards on the next play with a nice run around the right side, then on a second and 3, Hailey would drop back with good pass protection, he would find Antjuan Collins with a step on the defender, to connect for a 63 yard touchdown in full stride to put the Ravens on the scoreboard. Alex Webber, would drill the extra point straight through the uprights to tie the score at 7-7 with 5:26 remaining in regulation.
The Ravens got the ball back with 3:29 remaining, however, with 1:35 on the scoreboard clock Donovan Law, the Bulldogs senior linebacker would sack Hailey for a big loss putting the Ravens in a third and 26 situation forcing this game into overtime.
The Bulldogs won the toss and would receive the ball in overtime. They started out from the 10 yard line, which is the rule for both teams. On the first play, big John Park carried Raven defenders to the one yard line. But the Ravens defense stiffened led by Grier, Korion Sharpe and Kalil Alexander, along with a host of defenders. However, on a fourth down and goal from the one yard line, Park would bust his way into the end zone, the PAT was good for a 14-7 Bulldog lead.
Butler head coach Brian Hales could have taken the chip shot field goal, but he elected to go for the touchdown and his decision ultimately paid off for the Bulldogs.
Now it was the Ravens turn to match the Bulldogs. On first down, Jennings picked up five yards, Jennings was stopped for a one yard loss on second down as AJ Starks made a big tackle, on third and goal, Butler was called for an offside penalty moving the ball to the 3 yard line. Jennings tried to run away from Starks side of the ball, only to run into the arms of defensive end Bo Huff and other Butler defenders for a two yard gain. Now with fourth and goal from the one, Hailey would run a quarterback keeper to only be denied by Starks and big Anthony Carter inches from the goal line to end the football game.
Also of note, the Ravens had an attempted field goal blocked, and missed a field goal try in regulation which could have changed the final outcome. The Bulldogs improve their record to 3-2 on the season. While the Ravens are now 0-4 with three losses by 4, 6 and 7 points. They are a better football team than their record would indicate. The Ravens gave a good Butler football team all they could handle at the “Dawg Pound” tonight and possibly much more depending upon the outcome of the injury to their workhorse Jamal Worthy.