Team Preview: Ravenwood

Coach Brian Rector has a very young program that has been able to find success very early. After very successful seasons the Raptors had an off year in 2007 with a 4-6 record. With a group of new athletes and seven starters on both sides of the ball returning look for Ravenwood to put up better numbers in 2008.

Offensively the Raptors will look to a few weapons this year in order to help take down one of the toughest schedules in the state. Senior Matt Johnson and junior Alex Williams will compete for the starting quarterback position. Coach Rector described Johnson as, "Very versatile and intelligent player in all phases of the game." His junior competitor according to Rector, "Tall and can run. He needs to be more confident and consistent."

The weapons provided for the Raptors offensive attack will be led by Bo Gilroy. Gilroy looks to lead a core of receivers that includes returning players like Nick Pease, Tyler Moore, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Michael Vicary. Adding depth to the receivers will be newcomers and rising players like Ryan McPherson and James McCloud.

Leading the attack on the ground this season will be juniors Tony Rowland, Nolan Ricke, sophomores, Alec Johnson and Tanner Withrow. The backfield should have a lot of running room as the Raptors seem to have an offensive line shaping up like the Monsters of Midway. The offensive line unit will be led by former quarterback Logan Massengale (6-6, 290 pounds) at the offensive tackle position. Teaming up with Massengale will be returning players Casey Duncan, and Nikko Wauford. The offensive unit looks for big things from William Judson (6-7, 290 pounds) in the 2008 season after an injury ridden season in 2007. Other linemen Coach Rector looks to have more help from are Andy Pigg, Scott Clark, Eric Schall, Carson Birdsong, Mike Schmitz, and Eric Powers.

On the defensive side of the ball the Raptors will look to linebacker and leading tackler from 2007 Michael Nash. Nash will be joined by Theo Egbujor, Ryan Powell, and Matt Kundert in the linebacker corps. Taking on blockers for the linebackers upfront will be Logan Massengale, Casey Duncan, Nikko Wauford, and defensive end Chris Turner. The Raptors will also look for a few younger players to step in and help including Scott Clark, Eric Schall, Andy Pigg, Mik Schmitz, Matt Jordan, and Eric Powers.

Ravenwood hopes to find a few good men in the secondary to shut down the passing game. Players like Bo Gilroy, Michael Vicary, Tyler Morris, and Nolan Ricke will be expected to use some of their game experience from 2007 to help out. The Raptors will also need to see a lot of action from less experienced players like Tanner Withrow and James McCloud.

A season with high expectations and hopes seems to be the only way the boys from Ravenwood will allow things to be. The hope of returning to Murfreesboro to win a state championship is the number one mission on the minds of the Raptors in 2008. Coach Rector commented, "The team this year needs to have a "hunger" to get back to competing for state titles in 2008." He added, "A large junior and senior class could make this a possibility but that will only happen if the leadership and team chemistry can reach a point that the kids trust each other and are willing to go to work for each other."

Key concerns for the team in 2008 will be the issue of quarterback. Rector commented, "We will look for a new QB to lead the way which is huge for our offense." He also explained, "Guys like Bo Gilroy, Michael Nash and Logan Massengale must take their game and their ability to lead to new levels and the rest will follow. We must work hard, trust each other and get tougher in 2008 in order to compete for a playoff spot and a state championship."

With a very tough region schedule Ravenwood will have no easy task of getting into the playoffs. The Raptors will also host a strong non region schedule with games against Brentwood Academy, Montgomery Bell Academy, and Goodpasture. They will kick of the 2008 season on August 22 at Goodpasture. With a lot of experience and a quality coaching staff look for the Raptors to make a move late in October and play to the quarterfinals or beyond.


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