Chris Parson

After an over 16-hour lightning delay postponed the game, the Ravenwood Raptors reeled off 21 unanswered points to defeat the Franklin Admirals 31-6 Saturday afternoon.

The opening Region 7-6A game of the 2022 season for both teams featured a 40-minute delay prior to kickoff and the subsequent delay at halftime, which forced the teams to resume play Saturday with the start of the second half.

Before the stoppage, the game seemed stagnant, with both teams unable to find a rhythm, leading to a slim 10-6 Ravenwood lead at halftime.

Head coach Will Hester praised his team for how they came out and dealt with the adversity of the delay and restart.

“It was tough,” he said. “I talked with the team after it was over, and I’ve been doing this 24 years, and this was probably the most adverse situation from starting, stopping, sitting, waiting, having a short night, getting up and doing it again, that I’ve ever been associated with. I’m proud of our kids for finding a way to conjure up the energy they needed to go out and finish the game the right way.”

Ravenwood stormed back in the second half, scoring on its first three possessions. Senior quarterback Chris Parson produced a pair of rushing touchdowns in the third quarter to stretch the lead out before hitting Ethan Smith on a 30-yard strike to give the Raptors the final margin early in the fourth quarter.

“It was kind of sloppy by both teams at the half last night,” Hester said. “Maybe it was because of the delay to start the game and those kinds of things. Neither team really executed at a very high level last night. We came out today and played better. Defense played better and got some stops. The offense was able to score on our first three possessions after the restart and take the game over.”

Penalties stifled many drives for both teams on Friday night and Saturday. Franklin had a touchdown pass negated by an illegal participation penalty in the second quarter.

The Admirals had some success early but failed to find the end zone once during the game. The Admirals’ defense, however held Ravenwood to just 87 yards on 19 plays in the first half Friday night before the offense of the Raptors took over Saturday.

Despite getting nothing on its first possession, Franklin’s defense answered with a timely interception by Alec Watrous of Raptor quarterback, and Mississippi State commit, Chris Parson on Ravenwood’s first play from scrimmage.

The Admiral’s offense ate of most of the first quarter clock and drove the ball deep into the red zone but came up short after a penalty negated a touchdown and forced them to settle for a field goal by Elijah Bagwell, which gave the Admirals a 3-0 lead early in the second quarter.

Ravenwood’s Carter Pace took the ensuing kickoff 84 yards to the Franklin 2-yard line before pushing the ball over the goal line on the next play to give the Raptors the 7-3 lead. Ravenwood would add another field goal with 6:25 left to play in the second quarter

Franklin’s next drive saw Cooper Brown haul in a 46-yard reception, which eventually led to a field goal by Bagwell, also 46 yards, to make the score 10-6 Ravenwood.

The Raptors missed a long field goal of their own as time expired on the half and the 16-hour lightning delay began.

The win moves Ravenwood to 2-1 on the season and 1-0 in Region 7-6A. Franklin falls to 0-3 and 0-1 in region play.

Both teams will step back outside region play next week. Ravenwood will host fellow 6A powerhouse Oakland High School, while Franklin will travel to Smyrna to face Stewart’s Creek.

“I think they’re coming in with a 32 or 33-game winning streak,” Hester said of Oakland, two-time defending champion in 6A. “Obviously, our team is excited to play a team of that caliber. We’ve got them at home, it should be an unbelievable atmosphere and a chance for these kids to make a memory that will last a lifetime.”