The Ravenwood High School Raptors shut out the Hendersonville High School Commandos in the second half on the way to its 27-10 victory Friday night.
Ravenwood (4-2), which led Hendersonville (2-3) 14-10 at halftime, broke the game open on a 67-yard run by running back Carter Pace, as he broke multiple tackles on his way to the end zone on the team’s first play from scrimmage in the third quarter.
The defense which, gave up over 100 yards to Commando running back Stevin Mack in the first half, stiffened and helped the Raptors capture their fourth win of the season.
Head coach Will Hester spoke to his team at halftime and his team responded well to start the second half.
“It was just about making sure that we were fitting things up properly,” Hester said. “Then, I just challenged them to continue to play hard, continue to do the things that they know they can do and continue to play to the standard of Ravenwood football.”
Things did not start off well for the Raptors. The Commandos used their trademark Wing-T offense to move the ball down the field on the first drive and eventually take a 7-0 lead on a 3-yard run by Mack, bleeding over five minutes off the clock.
Quarterback Chris Parson, a Mississippi state commit, threw an interception on the first drive for the Raptor offense, but would tie the game up early in the second quarter when he found Pace on a short slant which he ran into the end zone.
Later in the first half, on a drive plagued by penalties by the Commandos, Parson found a wide-open Ben Hubbard in the end zone for a touchdown from 10 yards out, which made the score 14-7 with 2:32 left to play in the second quarter.
The Commandos responded on the next drive, running the ball effectively, helped by a 15-yard face mask penalty inside the Raptors’ 30-yard line. Hendersonville had the ball inside the 5-yard line on fourth down, which saw Mack bust into the end zone with just seconds remaining, only to have it negated by a penalty.
Hendersonville settled for the field goal as time expired on the half.
Penalties plagued both teams Friday night, and it's something the Raptors will have to get cleaned up as they go further into region play.
“Absolutely, totally disappointed in that,” Hester said. “I take full responsibility; it’s unacceptable and it has to change.”
The penalties didn’t hurt the Raptors as bad as the Commandos in the second half. Those setbacks caused Hendersonville to play behind the chains often and allowed the Ravenwood defense to play more aggressive and make more plays.
It also allowed Parson to make more plays. He reeled off a 50-yard run at the beginning of the fourth quarter, which set up Ben Hubbard’s second touchdown on a 22-yard jet sweep out of the wildcat with 4:13 left in the game.
Hubbard (2 receiving), Parson (2 passing) and Pace (one rushing, one receiving) finished the game with two scores.
The Raptors are 2-0 in Region 7-6A and will resume region play next week when they host the Summit High School Spartans (1-5) at 7 p.m. on Friday for homecoming. The Raptors had two losses last year to the Spartans, who finished as the 6-A state runner up.
Hester’s sole focus remains on his team’s improvement.
“We just have to continue to improve, we have to cut out the penalties, and we have to keep moving in the right direction,” Hester said.