Ravens Soar Past East Mecklenburg 39-0

Ravens defense won the battle in the trenches.
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MINT HILL, NC – The Rocky River Ravens and their new head football coach Tyson Fernandez captured their first win of the 2022 football season with a convincing win over East Mecklenburg. The Ravens playing at home at “The Rock” simply dominated their opponent. The rushing game was excellent, the offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage, the team played with more discipline, and they made big plays when they had to perform. The defense was outstanding causing turnovers giving the offense good field position.

Action from the Press Box.

The Ravens struck first after DE Cavon Reid sacked the Eagles QB Darreon Dixon-Velez for a 10-yard loss forcing a punt giving the Ravens good field position. They now had a 1st down on the Eagles 45-yard line. Jaylan Byrd took the initial handoff for a 15 yard pick-up. Then carried the ball on two consecutive plays for 3 and 8 yards for another Ravens first down. Then Ravens RB Aden Anderson from the 22-yard line dashed to the Eagles 3, but a holding call set the ball back on the 13. On a 2nd and 9, Ravens QB Xavier Walker found the Ravens leading WR Antwoine Norris for the touchdown. The PAT was good and the Ravens had a quick 7-0 lead.

The second score was set-up with a pass interception by Tybion Kinney at the Eagles 45-yard line, he returned the football to the 25 in excellent field position. After Byrd picked-up a tough 1-yard on first down, with a 2nd and 9, the handoff to Charles Mason who found a seam rumbled into the end zone on a 24-yard touchdown run. The PAT was good with 3:45 remaining in the first quarter. The Ravens now led 14-0 in control.

Ravens in pass blocking mode.

The defense once again showed their dominance in the trenches applying pressure on the Eagles QB when Jamare Knox shoved his pass blocker to the ground, and tracked down the QB for a 15-yard loss forcing a punt.

The Ravens next drive on their third possession started from their own 41 with solid rushing yardage provided by Karon Gray and Jaylan Byrd.  However, a pass to Norris who had a step on the defender in the end zone fell short, it was intercepted putting an end to an otherwise solid scoring opportunity.

On their next possession, the Ravens defense forced a punt as an Eagles drive faulted. The Ravens had a first down on the Eagles 40. On two consecutive plays Byrd carried the ball for another Ravens score. On his first run he gained 10 yards enough for a Ravens first down. Then from the 30 yard line, he took the handoff dashed around end, turned on the afterburners and scampered into the end zone for the touchdown. The PAT was good and the home team had a 21-0 advantage.

After forcing another Eagles punt the Ravens next drive was stopped with a good effort by the Eagles defense. However, the Ravens punter Peyton Groves placed the football on the 4 yard line pinning the Eagles deep in their own territory. The Ravens defense forced a fumble, and recovered the ball on the 2 yard line. Byrd again took the handoff from QB Walker and dashed into the end zone for his second touchdown of the contest. The Ravens went for the two-point conversion and came up short. However, the Ravens now had a 27-0 commanding lead with time running out in the first half.

With seconds remaining in the half, the Ravens defense recorded their third QB sack when Steven Muin dropped the Eagles QB for an 8-yard loss. As time ran out, the Ravens had a comfortable 27-0 lead.

In the second half, the game remained in complete control with the Ravens dominating the tempo of play and field position. They scored twice in the third quarter, the first score came midway through the period, when OL Kolbe Breland became an eligible receiver, a quick pass from Walker to Breland, who broke a tackle, and carried two Eagle defenders into the end zone for the touchdown. The PAT went wide, and the Ravens now had a 33-0 lead. Byrd on another good field position drive scored his third touchdown on a 6 yard rumble to give the Ravens a 39-0 advantage late in the quarter.

In the fourth period, the Ravens were shuffling players to give them playing time. They had two drives stall, first at the 26 yard line, second on the 27. The Ravens tried two field goal attempts that went wide right. Meanwhile, the defense played flawlessly not giving the Eagles an opportunity to score.

The Ravens are now 1-4 on the season and will play Charlotte Catholic away on September 30th. They have a bye week coming up, they should be well-prepared and ready to compete against a solid football team.

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Ed Berti
Ed is retired and remains active as a freelance writer, local journalist and independent contractor. He is engaged in print and electronic media writing stories covering business, sports, hometown news and veteran's affairs including articles of interest to various media outlets. Ed is a graduate of Wagner College where he earned an MBA and holds a BBA from Pace University.
Ed can be reached at ed@minthilltimes.com, eberti7777@gmail.com and linkedin.com.