In the first-ever championship game for Williamson County Girls Flag Football, the Ravenwood Raptors team took home the winning trophy over the Page Patriots 42-0 Saturday night.
The Titans sponsored this inaugural season and provided the field at Nissan Stadium for the championship tournament games.
“It means everything for our team, especially our seniors, for them to go out on this note,” said Ravenwood assistant coach Jessica Mancini. “Some of them are already done with sports, so for them to get this today meant everything. For the younger girls coming through ending their year with the first-ever flag football championship means a lot.”
“I guess I can say that I have been runner-up for two state championships (also 5A football) in the same season,” said Page head coach Charles Rathbone. “These girls played hard and competed. I am proud of them.”
“It feels good because we made history,” said Ravenwood senior Kennedy Riggs. “Everyone is going to remember Ravenwood for winning the first tournament for flag football. It is going to be a landmark for us, and hopefully our program can just keep growing from here. It is super exciting to celebrate on the Titans field.”
“Definitely a learning experience,” said Page junior quarterback Sadie Porter. “Next year I think we can do a lot better if we keep developing this program. It is a lot of fun.”
Full day of games
The action started early at 10 a.m. when Independence defeated Nolensville in game one 19-6.
In the second game, Page won against Centennial 27-19 to advance to the next round.
Fairview survived a thriller in game three against Summit on a defensive stop in overtime to take the contest 15-14.
Ravenwood started their quest for the championship taking out “Battle of the Woods” rival Brentwood 40-7 in game four.
In the last sectional, Franklin won game five against Independence 19-13.
Page upsets Franklin in semifinal match-up
The Page Patriots pulled off the upset in the semifinal matchup against the Franklin Admirals 24-20 on a 45-yard pick-six by senior Mackenzie Cochran.
“We had various strategies trying different things out,” said Wilken. “Playing basketball and picking passes, Mackenzie and I are able to transfer to that gear.”
Franklin got the first score in the semifinal with a touchdown pass from senior Kate Reed to junior Emmie Mamus to get on the board 7-0.
The Admirals forced an interception by junior Lyla Gardner, setting up another touchdown for the Admirals on an option pitch to senior Jessie Desantis, extending their lead to 14-0.
Later in the first half, Page quarterback Sadie Porter found sophomore wide receiver Braley Bushman for the Patriots first touchdown, but a failed conversion, placing the score at 14-6.
After a missed scoring opportunity by Franklin on their next possession, Page drove down the field and scored with 12 seconds remaining in the first half. The Patriots' Porter scampered into the end zone for a touchdown, but a missed conversion made the halftime score 14-12 Franklin.
On the first possession for Franklin in the second half, Page’s Lili Wilken picked off the pass to set up the Patriots for a touchdown pass by Porter to sophomore wide receiver Kennedy Santos. Page grabbed the advantage 18-14 after the failed conversion.
Franklin’s Desantis tallied her second rushing touchdown of the day on an option pitch to help the Admirals regain the lead 20-18.
Page’s next possession ended on a turnover on downs as senior Charlotte Menko collected the stop for the Admirals.
With 52 seconds remaining in the contest, Page senior Mackenzie Cochran made a house call, intercepting the pitch for 45 yards to give the Patriots a 24-20 lead.
Franklin had one last chance, but was intercepted at the goal line by Wilken to secure the victory for the Patriots and the upset win 24-20.
Ravenwood survives close contest against Fairview
In the second semifinal, the Ravenwood Raptors edged out the Fairview Yellow Jackets 7-6 as a defensive stand helped the Raptors escape to the championship game.
On Fairview’s first possession, Ravenwood freshman Ashlyn Avery tallied her first of two interceptions in the game to stop the Yellow Jackets’ drive.
The score remained at zero after a turnover on downs on the Raptors first possession.
Fairview drew an interception by senior Summer Anderson on Ravenwood’s next possession with roughly six minutes to go in the first half.
Ravenwood’s Ashlyn Avery picked off her second pass of the game, giving the Raptors decent field position after the turnover with a little under two minutes in the first half.
On the final play of the first half, Ravenwood worked their magic as senior quarterback Sarah Kate Rath found junior Kendall Curran for a touchdown pass. The made conversion gave the Raptors a 7-0 lead at halftime.
“It is helpful that she is a goalie for soccer and has really good hands. She can get up there super high,” said Kennedy Riggs.
“Kendall is used to the atmosphere around her,” said Kaylen Thomas. “Her and Sarah Kate have good chemistry together and were able to come through and score.”
“She is a goalkeeper on the soccer field, so she is put under the most pressure on the field all the time,” said Mancini. “She has been training her entire life for this sport and just didn’t know about it. Her hands, her mind, and her ability to stay in the game and be mentally prepared is what she has been doing all the time.”
Both sides struggled to get separation in the second half until the final minute of play when Fairview sophomore Addie Sullivan threw a touchdown pass to Summer Anderson for 18 yards to get the Yellow Jackets within one 7-6.
Fairview threw a pass on a reverse to try to complete the conversion, but the ball was dropped. Ravenwood held on, running the clock out to win 7-6.
Ravenwood shuts out Page in championship
In the first-ever championship, the stage was set as Ravenwood and Page battled it out for Williamson County bragging rights.
On their first possession, the Raptors scored on a touchdown run by senior Kaylen Thomas with a made conversion to get on the board 7-0.
“She is blazing fast, and teams know that and they still can’t catch her,” said Mancini. “The girl is just an athlete through and through, and she was able to show that today.”
On Page’s first possession the ball was picked off by Ravenwood senior Kelsey Thomas for the first of six interceptions by the Raptors defense.
Kaylen Thomas collected her second rushing touchdown on the day from twenty yards out. A made conversion gave Ravenwood a 14-0 advantage.
“She is so fast; she can get through anyone,” said Riggs. “Most of the teams probably know that we are going to give her the ball, but she can still get through them somehow.”
Ravenwood’s Ally Brown tallied two interceptions in a row on back-to-back possessions for Page as the score remained 14-0.
Later in the first half, Ravenwood junior Abby Cullen motored her way into the end zone for a rushing touchdown. A made conversion extended the Raptor lead to 21-0.
With a little under two minutes remaining in the first half, Kelsey Thomas collected her second interception of the championship.
In the final 30 seconds of the half, Ravenwood senior Sarah Kate Rath turned on the jets and sped into the end zone for a touchdown. A made conversion gave the Raptors a 28-0 margin at halftime.
The treats continued for the Raptor defense early in the second half as Ravenwood sophomore Macy Fowler gave Ravenwood their fifth interception of the contest.
Later in the half, Kaylen Thomas tallied a hat trick with her third touchdown of the championship game from four yards out. The Ravenwood lead ballooned to 35-0 after the made conversion.
“I just needed to have the right mindset that we are here to win and take care of business,” said Thomas.
With a little over six minutes remaining in the game, Ravenwood’s Ally Brown snatched her third interception on the day to give the Raptors six picks on defense.
Ravenwood added to their advantage with a rushing touchdown by freshman Chinenye “ChiChi” Odili to extend the Raptors margin to 42-0.
The game was halted under two minutes as the mercy rule was in effect with a lead of 40 or more points.
The Raptors defense shutout Page on the day with the 42-0 win.
“They have been solid all year long,” said Mancini. “Today they proved that they are the best defense on the field. They stick together, read each other, and had really good communication. They just held it down today.”
“We were able to communicate well,” said Thomas. “We know that defense wins championships.”
With this win, Ravenwood head coach Will Hester has now won a state championship in tackle football (2015) and a flag football championship (2021) for Ravenwood. Assistant coach Jessica Mancini has three titles - two state championships in girls soccer and one championship in flag football.
“Both of the championships are the same,” said Mancini. “Anytime you can see the excitement on a girls’ face in which they achieved and worked hard for something, that is going to mean something no matter what sport is being played.”
Ravenwood will look to build off their success next season.
“Winning in your first year is a fantastic start,” said Mancini. “Hopefully it gets more girls out here and interested to come out. We can continue to build this as flag football continues to build in the state.”
“I think the program is going to try to get more kids from the school to join,” said Riggs. “I know there are a lot of athletes from other sports that did not play this year, so hopefully they will join next year, after seeing what we did.”
“We are hoping to get more people to come out and play flag football and for them to notice how great an experience this can be,” said Thomas.