The Father Ryan Fightin’ Irish visit the Battle Ground Academy Wildcats this Friday night at 7:00 p.m. Father Ryan hopes to bounce back from a wrenching 28-21 loss last week to Overton (ranked 40th in Tennessee). BGA, on the other hand, looks to turn their season opening win into a winning streak. The Wildcats trounced Coffee County on the road last week 52-20.
This is the first meeting between the two teams since last October, when FR blanked BGA 17-0. It is also the first meeting between the two since BGA dropped a division to II-A, so the stakes are not as high for conference rankings as years past, from a standings standpoint. Each team has something at stake here more than a win. For BGA (ranked 67th) , a win against its old AA rival would assuage the hurt pride of dropping to single A. For Father Ryan, ranked 64th in TN, a loss would mean an 0-2 start going into its week 3 matchup against Brentwood Academy, a team ranked 6th in the state that came out of the gates running with a 36-7 stomping of Memphis University (ranked 7th) last week. And 0-3 is no way to start a season in the highly competitive Middle-East division.
Father Ryan’s junior quarterback Cameron Towns will have to find a way to make fewer mistakes this week, after going 9-21 last week and throwing two interceptions. Turnovers will be key for the Irish, and, in a game that was tied in the 4th quarter last week against Overton, turnovers were the difference between 1-0 and 0-1.
BGA, on the other hand, just has to do more of the same. And the question will be whether they can duplicate the balance, effort and efficiency of last week’s win, wherein quarterback Tucker Beathard threw for 259 yards, 3 touchdowns and no picks while Ronald Cleveland and Trevor Auerbach combined rushed for 132 yards and two scores on just nine carries.