MINT HILL, NC – The Rocky River Ravens have now dropped three straight games including their home opener against A.L. Brown from Kannapolis 28-6 on Friday night at the Rock.
The Ravens defense played a solid football game against a good offensive team. They played aggressive on the line of scrimmage, the linebackers were active, and the defensive backs unfortunately were beat deep in key situations which really made the difference in the outcome of this non-conference matchup.
Also, the Ravens inability to put points up inside the red zone. They had five different opportunities to score and came up empty four times during the contest. Also, their kicking game needs to be improved dramatically. They have no field goal kicker, so when drives were stopped inside the 20-yard line they could not attempt a field goal. Therefore, they were compelled to try to obtain a first down or score a touchdown which failed 80% of the time.
The team has some solid football players, and some good talent with their running backs and wide receivers, along with a versatile and athletic senior QB in Khalil Archie 6’0″ 165 pounds, including his backup junior Trevion Graham who is 6’4″ at 235 pounds. He is also a starter at the defensive end and is a big target as a tight end.
From this writer’s observation, without a field goal kicker, the offense especially inside the five-yard line, may want to design some plays that have Graham touch the football. He is big, strong, and athletic. At his size inside the five he can do some damage, he would be hard to stop once he picked up steam like a freight train plowing straight ahead, going off tackle, or a quick slant pass into the end zone. Since the team is 0-4 on two-point conversions, they cannot attempt a PAT with confidence after scoring a touchdown, think he could be a viable option and weapon to pick up points inside the five or a factor in the red zone.
Finally, before we get into the recap of the game, the Ravens continue to make mental mistakes, at times lose their composure with unnecessary personal fouls in key situations which set them back after stopping the other teams offense. This occurred on three different occasions last night which gave the Wonders an automatic first down instead of being forced to punt.
The first quarter ended with no points on the scoreboard, although both teams squandered opportunities. However, the Wonders Jaden Johnson from inside the five would scamper around the Ravens right side to score the first touchdown of the game with 8:01 on the clock and the PAT was good for a 7-0 lead.
The Ravens could not mount a drive, and on 4th and long, Elijah Williams punted a 42-yard kick with plenty of hang time from his own 20 to give the Wonders a first and 10 from their own 38. Again the Ravens defense held, and forced a punt, they started from their own 18 yard line to drove the ball down to the Wonders 47 yard line. However, Archie was intercepted and returned for a touchdown with 4:00 minutes remaining in the first half. The PAT was good, and A.L. Brown had a 14-0 advantage.
Graham entered the game at QB, he engineered a drive of five plays down to the Wonders 22 yard line, only to throw an errant pass directly to a Wonders defender at the one yard line as the wide receiver made his cut toward the sidelines, and the pass was thrown to the middle of the field for an interception, this was a big momentum changer with 18 seconds remaining in the first half.
In the second half, the Wonders went up 21-0 when QB Joe Vanover would find Xavier Chambers wide open on the right side with 1:06 remaining in the quarter for a 45 yard touchdown pass and catch play to give the Wonders a comfortable 21-0 lead with just one quarter to play.
In the 4th quarter, the Ravens would finally find the end zone and score on a 3rd down play with a nice pass from QB Archie to wide receiver Antwione Norris to put the Ravens on the scoreboard 21-6. The two-point conversion failed on a QB keeper by Archie who was tackled short of the goal line inside the one. On the ensuing kick-off Rocky River tried an onside kick but it did not work, as the Wonders easily protected and secured the football giving them a first down at midfield.
The Wonders added another score with 2:00 minutes remaining in the football game to pad the score to 28-6 to secure the victory.