By SAM McGAW
HUNTINGTON LEARNING CENTER GAME OF THE WEEK
Independence (5-4, 3-1) at Ravenwood (7-2, 3-1), 7 p.m. Friday*
When it comes to playoff seeding, the only thing Ravenwood and Independence can control Friday night is their own teams.
With a four-way tie for first place in Region 6-6A, both squads need a win and a little help to earn the top seed.
Ravenwood will clinch at least second place with a win. If it earns a win and Brentwood defeats Centennial, it’ll have the top seed.
If Independence wins and Centennial beats Brentwood, it’ll clinch first place.
“We just have to hope Brentwood takes care of business and we take care of business,” Ravenwood first-year head coach Matt Daniels said. “It means a whole lot to be in this position, especially for these seniors who have been through so much over the last three or four years in the football program.”
Ravenwood’s offense has been explosive throughout the season, averaging 33.33 points per game.
The unit is spearheaded by offensive weapon Nick Stallcup. The senior athlete has racked up 531 rushing yards, 339 passing yards, 241 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns (2 pass).
Ravenwood has also benefited from the emergence of running back Jordan Smith. He’s rushed for 294 yards and five touchdowns on 30 carries over the last three games.
The duo will look to keep rolling against an Independence defense that’s allowing 29.8 points per game.
“They won’t try to do a whole lot, in terms of disguising things,” Daniels said. “They kind of stick to their guns. They believe in the fronts and coverages they’re going to run. We’re preaching to our offense that we have to execute. We have to worry about our game plan and not about the other team.”
Independence features several weapons littered throughout its offense.
Running back Troy Henderson leads the unit with 976 rushing yards, 127 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns.
TJ Sheffield, Isaiah Collier and Kendrell Scurry are the top targets in the receiving corps.
Sheffield has caught 49 passes for 737 yards and five touchdowns this season, while Collier’s hauled in 23 grabs for 465 yards and four touchdowns. Scurry has 26 receptions for 306 yards and two touchdowns.
With Indy possessing so many different threats, the Raptors know their biggest key is to apply pressure and force Independence quarterback Nathan Cisco into making mistakes.
The junior has passed for 1,970 yards, 14 touchdowns and 15 interceptions this season.
“It seems like every year they’re loaded with that firepower,” Daniels said. “With a team like that, you have to try to disrupt things like timing. It’s been a tale of two different nights [for Cisco]. When he’s on and the offense is clicking with timing, they put up 45 points per game. But when teams have been able to disrupt that timing and disrupt their flow and confidence, they’ve struggled and turned the ball over.”
Ravenwood allows an average of 23 PPG.