Rocky River wins home opener 26-9 over South Iredell

Ravens Kenneth Royster picks up fumble. (Ron Morris)
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The Rocky River Ravens opened up the 2018 high school football season with a convincing 26-9 victory over the Vikings from South Iredell at “The Rock.”

Ravens enter field through new tunnel. (Ed Berti)

The team charged out onto the field well prepared to play running through their new “Giant Raven” tunnel which clearly displays Coach Orlando Gray’s positive can do attitude and true grit.

Ravens Marching Band. (Ed Berti)

The first quarter was dominated by the Ravens, with 50 seconds on the scoreboard clock they finally broke through with a touchdown when QB Brent Jones on a keeper rumbled for 38 yards to take a 6-0 lead.  The PAT sailed just wide on a wobbly snap and exchange.

Ravens James Maye for a good gain. (Ron Morris)

In the second quarter Brent Jones hooked up with speedster James Maye on a deep hook route over the middle for a 78 yard touchdown.  Freshman kicker Alex Ezley connected on the first PAT of his high school career to give the Ravens a comfortable 13-0 lead with 8:05 remaining in the half.

Ravens QB Brent Jones set to pass to James Maye. (Ron Morris)

After a blocked punt and recovery by the Ravens on the Vikings 39 yard line, Junior QB transfer Korey Hailey, on a second down play after a pass interference call would throw an interception in the end zone from the four yard line to James Maye on a fade route.  This play gave the Vikings a huge lift, and they started a drive from their own 20 yard line.  They drove 80 yards when Will Gordan scored from two yards out with only 19 seconds remaining to make the score 13-6 at the half when the PAT went wide right.

Hard running Gabriel Linen breaking tackles. (Ron Morris)

In the third quarter Ravens punter Narique Smith who is a good athlete, executed the fake punt perfectly when he took off for a 57 yard touchdown run, Smith ran over two Vikings to get into the end zone.  The PAT was good and the Ravens now had a 20-6 lead with 6:35  remaining in the quarter.  Then with 4:15 on the game clock running back Gabriel Linen rushed for a 65 yard touchdown from scrimmage to give the home team a 26-6 advantage.  The PAT was blocked on high snap from center.

Ravens outstanding linebacker Jaylon Sharpe making open field tackle. (Ron Morris)

In the fourth quarter the Vikings would add a field goal late in the game to make the final score 26-9.  The Ravens defense played solid all night long led by their strong linebackers Jaylon Sharpe, Brian Grier and Kenneth Royster.  The defense did a great job in gang tackling, their team speed and athleticism played an important role in the win.

Both teams kneel in prayer for Independence QB Devian Simpson who remains in a comma. (Ron Morris)

At the end of the game Coach Gray was very proud of his team.  “We accomplished our mission to win tonight and get the first one,” said Coach Gray.  “We did a lot of good things and need to work on conditioning as we have some players going both ways, also, we need to correct some missed opportunities.”

Swarming Ravens defense. (Ron Morris)
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