BY CORY WOODROOF | PHOTO BY ANDY COLLIGNON
There’s a tough rule of thumb for of football, or really, of any sport, when two undefeated teams meet.
One of them is going to lose that status pretty quickly.
Ravenwood is coming off three roller-coaster comeback wins and sees QB Brian Garcia growing each week. They’re obvious state contenders and are forging ahead for a strong season, even if they’re finding un-Ravenwood ways to finish ballgames.
Page, on the other hand, started out last season undefeated before running into the Raptors. They’re riding high in 2018 with QB Cade Walker and WR/S Michael Burdick leading the charge and could be one of the big surprises out of the county this season.
Friday night, the undefeateds will meet to determine who stays a perfect 4-0.
Ravenwood finding new ways to win
Ravenwood is learning to win with the comeback this season.
Just last week, they came from behind to top the host Franklin Rebels, improving to 3-0.
“We played a little bit better football,” head coach Matt Daniels said of the Franklin bout. “We still feel like we left some points and some plays on the field, but to be able to come out on top in that game, that was really special for our kids, and they knew how important that game was to our season.”
Everyone expected Ravenwood to be firm contenders again for state and to probably be 3-0 by Week Four. Though, the road has been paved differently for Daniels’ team.
To him, that might help level the outside noise and the inside bar.
“The way that the season has gone, I think that’s made it easier from an expectation standpoint,” Daniels said. “Now, it truly doesn’t matter what anybody else says about how we’re expected to win a game, as long as we come together as a team and come out on top, that’s all that matters, and I think that’s kind of changing internal expectations for us.
“It does not matter how pretty the win is. A win is a win, and in the end, that’s all that matters.”
This week, they’ll host an upstart Page team and try to keep their record unblemished. It’s no surprise the team is keying in on this one in particular.
“That’s definitely not lost on us; we’re the only two undefeated Williamson County teams left,” Daniels said. “I think a lot of people are kind of playing that up…there’s definitely a lot more than just a football game at stake.”
It’s not lost on Daniels how the big games keep coming for Ravenwood, long the kings of the county hill.
“That’s what cool about our schedule,” Daniels said with a laugh. “It seems every week, there’s a different storyline.”
Storylines, indeed. They host Brentwood next week, and Father Ryan the week after.
Page off to hot start
The Page Patriots have found themselves at another undefeated start to the season and have found themselves needing to defend that honor against Ravenwood.
To head coach Charles Rathbone, the team’s 2018 season is part of what he and the coaching expects from their guys every day.
“We’ve got a pretty good football team,” Rathbone said. “When everybody heals up, I think we’re going to continue to get better, and better, and better. That’s kind of the goal we set for ourselves this year, and the kids are doing a good job in living up to that goal.”
Walker has come on strong in 2018 after his six-game starting stint in 2017.
Rathbone spoke highly of his young signal caller, his on-field intangibles and his improvements.
“He’s just an intelligent, intelligent athlete,” Rathbone said. “I’m very proud of him. He’s doing a great job with all aspects [of the game].”
For the game ahead, Rathbone sees the differentials between his team and Ravenwood; the separations of conferences, the differentiation of student body size, the connotations of program prestige.
To him, though, being the underdog with five starters on the bench with injury is more than fine.
“Nobody expects us to win the game,” Rathbone said. “That’s what these kids thrive on. Page has always kind of been looked down upon. They feel disrespected by a lot of people, and their goal this year was to go out and prove a lot of people wrong, and I think we’ve got a shot to do it [Friday].”
We’ll see how each team fares with perfection on the line as Page/Ravenwood gets underway Friday night out at the latter’s place.