Burgess leads Ravenswood past Hoover 40-20
Much has been made about Herbert Hoover's change in offensive scheme from the spread to a run-oriented approach.
If the Huskies were looking for an inspiration to model their attack after, they needed only to look across the field in their season opener on Friday night.
Ravenswood stormed into Joe Eddie Cowley Field in Falling Rock and ground out 319 yards rushing on 50 carries, survived a furious third-quarter Huskies rally, and registered the first win in new coach Mick Price's football career 40-20.
The Red Devils set the tone early, scoring on all four of their first-half possessions in building a lead Hoover just couldn't quite erase.
"You'd think a person would be happy when it was 27-0 at the half, but you never know," Price said. "I just said, 'What happened?' I said at halftime, 'This is what we must prevent.' I think I should've quit coaching, shut up, and come back out here and maybe things would've been all right. But, I thought the kids sucked it up a little bit and made a couple of plays."
What Price alluded to were 20 straight Herbert Hoover points to start the third quarter as a Ravenswood offense that had been so potent stalled on two straight possessions. The Huskies notched touchdowns on their first three second-half chances and quickly made a game out of what looked to be a blowout.
But with his team reeling and facing a second-and-19 from the Huskies' 34, Red Devils quarterback Heath Burgess connected with Thomas Sturm for a 24-yard gain, setting up an eventual 10-yard rushing touchdown from Rhys Jelich. The Red Devils never looked back.
Making big plays was a theme for Burgess as the junior ran the ball twice and had one completion in the first half, all three of which went for touchdowns.
"That felt amazing," Burgess said. "I didn't really think I was going to score on the first three, but it just came and it was awesome."
Burgess' scoring runs came from 1 and 7 yards out and were sandwiched around an 18-yard scoring run from receiver Patrick Watson on a reverse.
But Burgess saved his biggest play for last. The Red Devils took the ball with just 39.9 seconds remaining in the first half after Hoover punted and quickly drove 27 yards to the Huskies' 45-yard line. With time dwindling, Burgess heaved a ball to Jelich, who was left in single coverage and the sophomore made a leaping catch and stumbled into the end zone with just .9 seconds left on the clock.
Rhys Jelich led the Devils with 101 yards on 18 carries and Devon Crews added 92 yards and a score on 17 carries and Connor Jelich chipped in 64 yards on 10 carries.
It was an ugly statistical first half for the Huskies as Hoover tried to find footing in its new scheme. The Huskies had only 64 yards on 20 carries at the break and 66 yards total.
But Brenden Holbrook found something by faking an inside handoff to running back Shawn Dotson and keeping on a sweep, eventually building up 99 yards on 20 carries and a 1-yard score on Hoover's first drive of the second half.
The junior also found a favorite target in Joey Forbes as the two connected twice in the third quarter for 67 yards, including a 40-yard touchdown that cut the deficit to 27-14. Forbes would later add a 19-yard touchdown run but Holbrook left the game with a leg injury with 6:59 left in the fourth and all of the air was let out of Hoover's balloon.
Holbrook's status was unknown and he was scheduled to have an X-ray after the game.
"The kids came out in the second half and decided they wanted to play," Meyer said. "They came out with the ball and they played well in the third quarter. We need to get a little bit of consistency. I'm proud of our kids, they didn't hang their heads. They're a great group of kids and we've just got a couple of wrinkles we've got to iron out."
Dotson added 41 yards on 12 carries for Herbert Hoover and Forbes ended up with 67 yards receiving and 37 rushing.
Neither team committed a turnover.
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, email@example.com, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.