STORY BY CHIP CIRILLO | PHOTOS BY WHITNEY JARRELD
Andrew Mason had a feeling the pass was coming to him and he was right.
Mason hauled in an 11-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brian Garcia with five seconds left, giving Ravenwood a 43-36 win at Cane Ridge in the second round of the Class 6A playoffs Friday night.
“Coach called a comeback route for me and Brian,” said Mason, who caught the ball on the left side of the field near the goal line. “Right before the play started, he gave me the look and I knew it was coming. I knew I had to get to the pylon. That’s one of our money plays. We run it a lot in practice. We rep it a lot so, I had a pretty good feeling about it.”
Ravenwood (10-2) handed Cane Ridge (11-1) its only loss with a wild second-half comeback.
The Raptors rallied from a 22-7 deficit in the third quarter and scored 29 points in the fourth quarter to defeat the defending state runner-up.
“We had an out route on and if it was there I was going to hit it, but if not I was just going to throw it away and have our kicker hit a chip shot to win it,” Garcia said. “But there was some room there and I just fit it in there. I was being safe because I didn’t want to turn the ball over.”
Ravenwood avenged a 2017 quarterfinal loss to Cane Ridge that ended its season.
“We’ve been talking about that all weeklong because the kids that played last year, we just know how we felt for about a month or two,” Garcia said. “It hurt badly and we knew we got a rematch at their place where they eliminated us last year.”
Now, the Raptors will get a chance to avenge a regular-season loss to their archrival, Brentwood, in next week’s quarterfinals.
Garcia passed for 224 yards and five TDs and ran for another score.
His 93-yard screen pass for a TD to William Baine on third and 18 tied the score at 22 with 11:12 left.
“That totally changed the momentum and from there I think our boys really started to believe we can win this thing,” Raptors coach Matt Daniels said. “Of course, both [teams] had an explosion of points and it was just an exciting finish.”
After being held to seven points in the first half, the Raptors ran their two-minute drill offense for the last two quarters.
“We felt like we left a lot out there in the first half, especially towards the end,” Daniels said. “We decided to pick up the tempo. They play a lot of guys both ways and our offense wholly bought into ‘let’s grind these guys out’.”
Ravenwood’s Tony Rice rushed for 112 yards on 19 carries.
Cane Ridge’s Devon Starling surpassed the 2,000-yard mark for the second straight season as the senior rushed for 151 yards and two TDs on 23 carries.
“It’s our fault, we blew the game,” said Starling, who has offers from Tennessee State and Tennessee-Martin. “We came out there lax because we were up, so we were like, ‘Oh, we got this game, they’re going to lay down for us.’ But Ravenwood came out with that fire and they won it.”
Cane Ridge’s Erick Ramirez missed two extra-point kicks, which proved costly.
Ravens quarterback Korey Andrews passed for 214 yards and two TDs, and he ran for another score.
“We had opportunities to put them away in beginning of the second half, but they kept chipping away,” Cane Ridge coach Eddie Woods said. “You can’t let up, especially when you are the hunted now. And they’re not used to being the hunted.”
Woods said they knew the screen pass was coming to Baine, but the Ravens didn’t execute.
Garcia’s 3-yard keeper gave Ravenwood a 36-29 lead with four minutes left, but Cane Ridge answered with a keeper of its own. Andrews scored from 2 yards out, tying the score at 36 with 1:10 left.