The Rocky River Football Ravens lost a heart breaker in their home opener to the Phillip O. Berry Cardinals 12-9. The home team had a chance to pull out the victory, but penalties and the clock became their downfall.
This was a non-conference game, however, a contest the Ravens felt they had a great opportunity to obtain their first victory of the season. The defensive unit played inspired football and was placed in poor field position several times when the offensive team could not convert on fourth down and short yardage situations. It was a night of penalties on the Ravens offensive side of the ball that took the wind from their sails and changed several momentum swings throughout the entire contest.
Rocky River took a 3-0 lead after a nice drive that stalled in the red zone when senior field goal kicker Aldair Ochoa converted on a 25 yard field goal giving the Ravens an early advantage.
In the second quarter with 2:39 remaining in the first half a pass from Ravens QB Brent Jones was deflected and intercepted by Christin Harris of the Cardinals who took it into the end zone for the score for a 6-3 Cardinals lead. The two point conversion attempt was stopped by the Ravens staunch defense.
In the second quarter with just over one minute on the clock a bounced snap from center to the Ravens punter was fielded cleanly, however, the punter had to fall on the ball inside the 10 yard line. The Ravens stingy defense stopped the Cardinals on a second and goal from their own 1 yard line with excellent gang tackling from the orange, black and brown defense. On the next play third and goal from the one the Ravens pass rush defense sacked the Cardinals QB on the 9 yard line led by Jailyn Wilson. On fourth down, the Ravens pass rush pressured the QB who threw an incomplete pass in the end zone as the second quarter came to an end with Cardinals leading 6-3.
The Cardinals added to their lead in the third quarter on a pass reception from inside the five yard line with 8:53 seconds remaining on the clock. The two point conversion attempt was stopped by the Ravens defense. The Cardinals took a 12-3 lead into the final quarter.
In the fourth quarter the action heated up when Narique Smith on a muffed punt by the Cardinals punt returner was mishandled, Narique picked up the ball on one bounce in full stride and ran the ball into the end zone for an apparent touchdown. However, the officials called the ball dead on the 41 yard line as they ruled the punt returner for the Cardinals never had possession of the ball which cannot be advanced.
With 5:57 remaining Marqui Lowery ran back a punt return from his own 40 yard line to the Cardinals 11. On the next play Ravens QB Brent Jones rushed the ball around the right side for an 11 yard touchdown to make the score 12-9. The PAT was muffed on the second poor snap from center with 5:34 remaining on the game clock.
After the Ravens defense held the Cardinals on a fourth and 1 from the 14 yard line with a big hit from Jaylon Sharpe and assists from teammates Abrion Pearson and Johnathan Whitmore the Cardinals were forced to punt with 3:46 remaining in the game.
Unfortunately, the Ravens offense negated two big gains on offensive penalties on a final drive to end the game on a turnover when Brent Jones pass was intercepted by Keonte Cherry of the Cardinals to end the game with less than 30 seconds remaining.