FRANKLIN – Ravenwood entered Sunday’s showdown with Fairview knowing hopes of the No. 1 seed in next month’s Williamson County girls flag football tournament relied on a victory.
Although the Lady Raptors were a bit slow out of the gate, they eventually found their stride, sweeping the Lady Jackets and host Page to keep themselves in the running for the top playoff spot.
Against Fairview, Ravenwood needed to erase a 13-0 deficit to pick up the key win, storming back for a 26-19 victory. Kaylen Thomas started the rally, racing 78 yards for the Lady Raptors’ first score after Ravenwood’s defense intercepted a Fairview pass at the goal line.
“Our girls are getting better – they’re starting to figure out how to play the game now,” Ravenwood coach Will Hester said. “We started out kind of slow, but we were able to fight back. (Fairview and Page) are both well-coached teams. Getting a win over a 3-1 team coming in and a 4-0 team coming in, it’s a good weekend for us.”
Sarah Kate Rath helped put Ravenwood in front for good with a 19-yard touchdown run of her own with 15:45 to play as the Lady Raptors took a 14-13 lead. Thomas added an 8-yard score four minutes later, but Fairview stopped the conversion attempt as Ravenwood led 20-13.
“We came out a little bit sleepy,” Ravenwood junior Kendall Curran said. “Coach Hester was good about getting us back to playing our game.”
The Lady Jackets nearly pulled even when Summer Anderson snuck in from a yard out as Fairview cut Ravenwood’s lead to 20-19, but the Lady Raptor defense held firm on the conversion attempt to retain the lead. Rath almost immediately answered with a 50-yard dash to the end zone. Fairview stopped the conversion and kept the gap at seven points but failed on fourth down near midfield on its final possession.
“When you play somebody that can run, you gotta be able to pull flags,” Fairview coach Chris Hughes said. “Every time we missed a flag, it ended up being six points.”
Anderson put Fairview in front early with a 47-yard touchdown run and added an interception return for a score less than two minutes later as the Lady Jackets led 13-0 just seven minutes into the contest.
“I think this is going to be really good for our girls in humbling them and getting back and working,” Hughes said. “You learn a lot about your character when you lose a game – especially that way, being up 13-0 and they beat you (26-19).”
The win proved crucial for seeding purposes, as Ravenwood jumped ahead of Fairview due to the head-to-head tiebreaker, but if Fairview defeats Franklin in two weeks, it could set up a three-team tie for first place where each team would have beaten only one of the other two. Point differential would be the next tiebreaker in that situation, and Ravenwood holds a 69-point edge over Fairview after this weekend’s games.
“It’s good to get back into our routine of getting on top of teams here,” Curran said. “We needed these two games for seeding purposes.”
Ravenwood was without several players last week when they lost 6-0 to Franklin, including Curran.
“I had a soccer game, too, so I was gone as well,” Curran said. “There were a couple of others (out) as well, but we’ve got a well-rounded team so we were able to bounce back from that.”
Page kept things close with Ravenwood for more than a half, but the Lady Raptors pulled away with 20 unanswered points in the second half for a 34-13 victory to complete their Week 3 sweep.
Rath and Thomas each found the end zone twice, and Curran capped the victory with an interception return for a touchdown with two minutes left.
“She’s a goalie in soccer, so she knows how to go up and get the ball,” Hester said of Curran. “That’s expected out of her.”
Tia Atkinson found Braley Bushman for a 28-yard touchdown late in the first half, and Lili Wilken broke loose for a 74-yard touchdown just before time expired in the first half for the Lady Patriots, but Page trailed 14-13 after its second conversion attempt failed after Wilken’s score.
“Lili and Braley and (Addison) Dugger and all of those (girls) are electric with the ball in their hands,” Page coach Charles Rathbone said. “We’ve just got to get the ball in their hands more.”
Fairview’s first half enough to stifle Page
Fairview opened the day in style, doing all its scoring in the first half of a 26-7 victory over Page.
Anderson and McElroy connected on an 18-yard touchdown pass to begin the scoring, then Anderson added a 12-yard touchdown run on the next series. One play after a Page punt, Addie Sullivan hit McElroy in stride for a 42-yard touchdown to extend Fairview’s lead to 19-0.
Page answered with a pair of Atkinson-to-Bushman connections, the second of which found the end zone from 11 yards out for the Lady Patriots’ lone touchdown.
Just before time expired in the first half, McElroy found the end zone again from an Anderson pass before Sullivan caught the conversion to finish the scoring as the second half went without any points delivered by either side.
Anderson just might have an opportunity to continue playing flag football after she graduates this spring.
“I’m gonna wait until she graduates, but I’d like to get her on my co-ed travel team,” Hughes said of Anderson. “She can play with a lot of them.”
Page remains in fourth place with a week remaining in the regular season, holding a head-to-head tiebreaker over Centennial.
“I think once we get all our girls on the field – we’re missing Sadie Porter and Kennedy Santos and Anna Baker, and that’s three of our top players,” Rathbone said. “Once we get those three back where we can get the ball down the field a little bit and stretch the field, it’s force (defenses) to back off of us a little bit and make us more explosive.”
The league has next Sunday off for the Easter holiday, then resumes play on April 24 with the final two games of the regular season. The tournament is scheduled for May 7 at Nissan Stadium.
Girls’ Flag Football Week 3 Scores
- At Page
- Fairview 26, Page 7
- Ravenwood 26, Fairview 19
- Ravenwood 34, Page 13
- At Brentwood
- Summit 13, Brentwood 6
- Franklin 13, Summit 6
- Franklin 21, Brentwood 14
- At Centennial
- Centennial 13, Independence 0
- Centennial 41, Nolensville 12
- Nolensville 25, Independence 20
April 24 games
Home team is listed first.
- At Brentwood
- 2:00 – Brentwood vs. Page
- 3:00 – Page vs. Independence
- 4:00 – Brentwood vs. Independence
- At Ravenwood
- 2:00 – Ravenwood vs. Summit
- 3:00 – Summit vs. Centennial
- 4:00 – Ravenwood vs. Centennial
- At Franklin
- 2:00 – Franklin vs. Nolensville
- 3:00 – Nolensville vs. Fairview
- 4:00 – Franklin vs. Fairview