Franklin (5-1-0) and Ravenwood (2-3-3) faced off in a game typical to competitive form at FHS Tuesday night with district AAA 11 play heating up.
However, the Admirals were the better team in the second half, and they walked off the field with a 3-2 district win.
“I didn’t think we played as well as we could have,” said Franklin coach Mike Burgoyne. “I thought partly was because of Ravenwood. They are a good team, they’ve got some good players. I’m happy with the result, but I think we can get even better. I want to kind of send a message to this group that if they’re gonna win this district, we gonna have to be better”
While it wasn’t the result the Raptors wanted, they did get one of their senior leaders, Nick Dang, back from injury. Dang, a Lipscomb recruit, had missed time recently after having a face injury after Ravenwood's game against Brentwood earlier in the season.
“He was huge,” said Ravenwood coach Adam Harris. “It’s funny seeing him with a mask on, but he played great. He’s been a huge part of our team. The boys were excited to see him warming up. It was great to see him out there.”
Franklin got the scoring started early on. Bradley Whelan shot the ball from the top left of the box and got it past the goalie in the second minute of the game.
“We can’t give a goal up in the first minute and a half,” said Harris. “We did the same thing against MBA on Friday. We’ve got to talk about that and sort that out, and figure out why we’re giving up those goals so early in the game.”
No more goals would be scored until the 31st minute of the first half. Ravenwood used Dang’s height to win a header off of a free kick to tie the game at 1-1.
After halftime, the score may have been tied, but Franklin came out looking like an entirely different team. They took the majority of the shots in the opening minutes and controlled the tempo as well.
“We talked about being just a little bit better with the ball,” said Burgoyne. “Using our outside backs and trying to get our numbers forward, instead of attacking with just two or three players on counters. I thought we did that for the most part in the second half, but it still wasn’t great.”
Franklin broke the tie in the 60th minute thanks to a long-range strike from Landon Robbins that went into the upper left corner of the Ravenwood goal.
Two minutes after that goal, Whelan found the back of the net again with a well-placed, curling shot.
“When you’ve got players like Benji Wright, Bradley Whelan, Landon Robbins,” said Burgoyne. “They’re so dangerous with the ball at their feet that they create things even when the team’s not playing well.”
Ravenwood scored one more time before the final whistle in the 65th minute. This time, it was Jaydon Chisolm after he trapped the ball with his chest and fired it past the keeper.
Ravenwood did everything it could to push the numbers forward to try and tie the game, but it wouldn’t work.
“That’s how high school soccer’s supposed to look,” said Harris. “Both teams are just technical, work hard, nothing dirty, physical. That’s the kind of game that I’m proud of as a coach. Even though we lost, I’m proud of the boys and how hard they worked.”
After this game, Ravenwood will look to rebound against Father Ryan this Friday. Franklin will look to continue this win streak with a matchup against Mount Juliet this Thursday, before another district matchup with Brentwood next Tuesday.
“They have to win the game,” said Burgoyne. “This wasn’t a pretty game, but somehow we got the result. That’s what it’s all about. I’ve been a part of some games where we’ve outshot the other team by 20 shots, and the other team got one goal and won the game. So at the end of the day, get the result, but can we get better to create more opportunities so that we can have more shots and ultimately play the best that we can?”