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Story and Video By SAM McGAW

Centennial travels to Ravenwood Friday to square off with the Raptors for the top spot in District 11-AAA.

Ravenwood battles Centennial for first place of District 11-AAA in the Humdingers' Game of the Week (Produced by Sam McGaw)

Centennial (6-0, 2-0) at Ravenwood (5-0, 1-0), 7 p.m.*

The battle for first place of District 11-AAA goes through Ravenwood High School Friday when the Raptors take on the Centennial Cougars in a battle of undefeated teams.

With both teams averaging over 37 points per game, Friday’s matchup is expected to be an explosive one.

“I’m excited for them to play a meaningful game, and that’s what it’s all about,” said Ravenwood head coach Will Hester. “These guys will never forget this atmosphere. Both fan bases are very strong and are going to come out in full force. I think for them to be able to play another team that’s undefeated at this point in the season is very exciting.”

Ravenwood RB Seth Rowland (24) had 88 rushing yards and 2 TDs against Overton (Photo by Deb Scally for BHP)

For Ravenwood’s offense, everything starts with running backs in Seth and Chris Rowland, and wide receivers Van Jefferson and Austin Percy.

Seth Rowland has racked up 525 rushing yards and seven touchdowns this season, and Chris has 290 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.

Jefferson has 24 receptions for 333 yards and five touchdowns, while Percy has caught 22 passes for 370 yards and two scores.

“It’s a four-headed monster,” said CHS head coach Brian Rector. “The big thing is, they get a lot of big plays, and rightfully so. If they get big plays against us, we probably won’t win. So the bottom line is, I think we have to find a way to reduce the number of big plays they’re able to get, both on offense and especially on special teams.”

Percy said the success of the team’s run game has significantly aided quarterback Cole Brown (810 pass yds, 177 rush yds, 8 TDs) and the Raptors’ receiving corps.

“When you just pound the ball down their throat play after play and then throw it up top to either Van or me, it’s tough to cover,” Percy said. “It’s a three-pronged attack. You have Van on the right, me on the left or Van in the slot. It’s hard to cover all of those athletes.”

Yardage on the ground won’t come easy against a stout Centennial run defense that’s allowed 2.6 yards per carry this year.

Now, with inside linebacker Tyrel Dodson back to full strength from an early-season injury, the Cougars look to be even more dominant against opposing ball carriers.

“Tyrel is a physically-imposing kid,” Hester said. ” They’re playing him a lot on offense and defense. We expect them to give Tyrel more snaps than he’s played all year because of the atmosphere and what’s at stake in this game.”

Dodson shined in his first full game on defense against Mt. Juliet last week with eight tackles, one sack and a pick-six.

“I loved being back on defense with my brothers,” Dodson said. “I just had fun out there and dominating. I still have to get back into good enough shape to constantly play both sides of the ball, but it’s good so far.”

The junior has also imposed his will on the offensive side of the ball.

With an average of 15.9 yards per carry this season, Dodson has been the ideal spell back for starter Deon Sanders (647 rush yds, 102 rec. yds, 11 TDs).

“It’s been really helpful to have Tyrel come in for me,” said running back Deon Sanders (647 rush yds, 102 rec. yds, 11 TDs). “He’s a big back, so it’s hard to bring him down. When I get the ball a couple times and then you give it to him, it’s just about the same two guys running at you. It’s hard to stop.”

Centennial WR Emanuel Hall is averaging 22.5 yards per catch this season (Photo by Mark Faust for FHP)

Centennial’s dominance on the ground has constantly opened lanes for wide receiver Emanuel Hall in the passing game.

Averaging 22.5 yards per catch this year, Hall’s playmaking ability has prevented defenses from successfully loading the box to stop the run.

“(Dodson, Hall and Sanders) are really good players and unfortunately they’re at different positions, so we have to deal with the pass and run. I would just say we have to wrap up and tackle Deon. He’s pretty good at breaking tackles. For Emanuel, don’t let him get big plays downfield and don’t let him get the ball in open space.”

Hall said Ravenwood will be one of the best defenses the Cougars have faced this season.

“They’re very talented and quick,” he said. “They’ve played some tough teams and have done a great job against them. We’re going to make sure we’re prepared for them.”

Sam McGaw is the sports editor for Franklin Home Page. Email him at [email protected]. You can also follow him on Twitter @SamMcGawSports.