Ravenwood hopes to take one more step towards a state title when the Raptors travel to Whitehaven for a TSSAA Class 6A semifinal football game Friday. The game kicks off at 7 Central.
The 11-2 Raptors, led by coach Matt Daniels, got here by a first-round forfeit win over Glencliff, a 43-36 win over then-unbeaten Cane Ridge, then, last week’s 47-24 thumping of rival Brentwood.
Whitehaven, 10-3, scored a 14-0 upset of previously-unbeaten Germantown last week. Before that, the Tigers knocked off 10-1 Houston by a 31-27 score, preceded by a 34-19 win over 3-8 White Station.
Both teams defend well. Ravenwood, not counting its 1-0 forfeit win, gives up 19.1 points per game, while Whitehaven yields just 16.9. Ravenwood was particularly good on defense last week when it forced four Brentwood turnovers.
But the bigger storylines come on offense, where both teams are loaded with playmakers.
Ravenwood quarterback Brian Garcia continued his outstanding season by throwing for 196 yards and two scores. Garcia is one of three Raptors—the others being running back Tony Rice (101 rushing yards last week) and William Baine—who are capable of generating big running plays.
The Raptors’ aerial attack is perhaps even more potent. Receivers Andrew Mason and Anthony Holmes have generated bunch of explosive plays. Last week, Holmes tied Florida Gator Van Jefferson’s school record with his 12th touchdown catch this season.
And don’t forget kicker Luke Akers, who’s hit a number of important field goals for Ravenwood, too.
As for Whitehaven, coach Rodney Saulsberry has a rare collection of offensive talent. Receivers Devin Boddie (Vanderbilt) and Keveon Mullins (South Carolina) will both be playing in the Southeastern Conference next season. So will offensive guard Melvin McBride. Tight end Cormontae Hamilton will play at Ohio State next season.
Mullins and Hamilton are four-star prospects according to Rivals, while Boddie and McBride are three-star players.
The Tigers are making their fifth straight appearance in the TSSAA semifinals. Saulsberry led Whitehaven to state titles in 2012 and 2016. The Raptors lone state title came in 2015 at the 5A level.
The winner advances to face the winner of Friday’s Maryville-Oakland game, which kicks off at 7 Central in Murfresboro. Each team is 12-1.