Ravens fall to Vikings 28-21 on Military Appreciation Night

Big pass play for Vikings TD. (Paul Imirie).
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The opening ceremony at “The Rock” on Friday evening was first class.  The Knights or Panthers could not have put on a better show.  We had paratroopers skydive down to the stadium, a fly over by Marine helicopters, the USMC color guard detachment was on hand for the National Anthem, the Rocky River JROTC and much more.  Simply a great venue for patriots and it was very encouraging to witness students, family members, football fans all celebrate together while fully respecting and embracing the occasion.

Ravens QB Brent Jones scores touchdown on 15 yard run. (Paul Imirie)

Regarding the ball game, it was one of those football games coaches know they could have won if some things went differently.  This was more of a self inflicted loss because penalties and big plays just broke the Ravens back.

Ravens defensive lineup. (Paul Imirie)

The Vikings took the opening drive 78 yards to pay dirt when QB Aaron Scott connected with Da’Qon Stewart for a touchdown for a quick 7-0 lead.  The Ravens would bounce back when Brent Jones would run a quarterback keeper from the 15 yard line into the end zone to tie the game at 7-7 to cap a 65 yard drive.  The Vikings would score on a 38 yard drive on a 12 yard touchdown pass over the middle to Trae Nickelson for a 14-7 advantage.

Ravens James Maye returns kick-off for 80 yards TD to open second half. (Paul Imirie).

In the second quarter the Vikings would score on a coverage breakdown in the Ravens defensive secondary on a 69 yard pass reception to William Watts from QB Aaron Scott who found his receiver in full stride to make the score 21-7.  The Ravens had a great opportunity to score at the end of the second quarter, but the pass from QB Jones to his wide receiver from the 42 yard line was a little short as the defenders were beaten and would have been a big play and momentum changer going into intermission.

Ravens picking up big yardage. (Paul Imirie)

Coach Gray fired up his team at half time.  The Ravens came out ready to play, on the opening kick-off behind excellent blocking speedster James Maye would rumble for 80 yards into the end zone untouched to make the score 21-14.  On the ensuing kick-off Coach called for an onside kick that worked perfectly and the Ravens seemed to be back in business with a huge momentum swing.  However, their drive from the Vikings 45 would come to an abrupt end when on a 4th down and one a lineman would jump offside and they had to settle for a field goal try.  The field goal had the distance, however, it sailed wide right and the momentum swung back to North Mecklenburg.

Big play at end of 1st half that could have changed the final outcome. Ball falls just short of receiver. (Paul Imirie)

The Vikings took over from their own 36 yard line and would put together a nice drive caped by a 26 yard touchdown pass to put the Vikings up 28-14.  Later in the third Ravens punter Narique Smith would place the kick down to the 4 yard line with 1:19 on the clock.  On a 4th down and 8 Ravens linebacker Jaylon Sharpe would apply a big hit on the running back to force a punt from the end zone.  Ravens Lydell White would return the punt to the 23 yard line of the Vikings in excellent field position.  Rocky River would score on a 15 yard scamper by sophomore Kalib Jennings with 10:52 remaining on the scoreboard clock.

Ravens driving late in football game. (Paul Imirie)

The Ravens had another great opportunity to score with 4:42 remaining, Gabriel Lenin would pick up 28 yards on a carry, a pass interference call would give the Ravens a 1st down from the Vikings 31 yard line.  However, Timothy Pettaway and QB Brent Jones mishandled the exchange to end the final drive with 2:34 on the clock.

The Vikings took over on the 33 yard line, with a 3rd and 1 from the 42 the Vikings would rush for the first down to the 47 yard line with 1:07 remaining to run out the clock and conserve the win.

Skydiver arrives during opening ceremony at “The Rock.” (Ed Berti)

The Ravens are now 2-2 on the season and will host a powerful Butler Bulldog football team next Friday night.

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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.