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Prep Football: Wolverines meet standard
BY TAFT COGHILL JR.
North Stafford senior wide receiver Brandon Ravenel was a bit let down following the Wolverines’ season-opening victory over Potomac last week.
Ravenel was a key figure in the Wolverines’ run to the Northwest Region, Division 5 championship last season.
So with 18 returning starters, he didn’t feel the team’s five-point season-opening victory was up to par.
That’s why last Monday Ravenel was unmerciful on his teammates.
When they were performing what coach Joe Mangano calls “Hell Week” running drills, Ravenel pulled some Wolverines aside.
He told them their play was unacceptable and not North Stafford football.
“He had one of the most amazing weeks of leadership any kid could ever have,” Mangano said. “You want to talk about a leader, you put that kid’s picture in the freaking dictionary. That kid is a leader.”
Ravenel’s leadership carried over to the field in North Stafford’s 35–13 road victory over Mountain View on Friday.
In a matchup of the top two teams in The Free Lance–Star’s power poll, Ravenel scored on a 52-yard reception and a 79-yard punt return for the No. 1 Wolverines.
North Stafford (2–0) also received 205 rushing yards and two touchdowns from senior running back Kwesie Dadzie and an overpowering performance from its offensive line.
“They whipped us,” Mountain View coach Lou Sorrentino said.
The Wolverines flashed wide grins following the win, but Mangano said the thrill has to be short-lived as they prepare to host No. 3 Massaponax next Friday.
Mangano said North Stafford’s first three games are “Murderer’s Row.”
“It changes nothing—nothing at all,” Ravenel said of Friday’s victory. “We’re going to go back next week and have the hardest practices ever. [The Wildcats] were a great team. They’re going to finish their season strong. But we’ve can’t lose sight of our goal.”
The Wolverines’ goal is to reach the state championship game after they suffered a controversial ending to their 2011 campaign.
Mountain View (2–1) expects to contend in the Commonwealth District, as well.
But on Friday, the Wildcats were undone by mistakes.
Mountain View’s first snap of the game hit wide receiver Quinton Gray as he went in motion. The Wolverines recovered the fumble, but didn’t score.
Both teams struggled offensively from the start, but a 42-yard run by North Stafford quarterback Von Purvis on third and 13 from the 6-yard line ignited the Wolverines.
Purvis connected with Ravenel on the following play for a 52-yard scoring strike.
“The kid just responds,” Mangano said of Ravenel. “He doesn’t run a 4.4 40 [yard-dash], but because of his conditioning and mental toughness, he’s just a special player.”
North Stafford went ahead 14–0 after defensive back Cedrick Watkins returned Mountain View quarterback Elijah Burress’ fumble 25 yards for a touchdown.
The Wildcats could’ve gone into halftime down two touchdowns, but they punted to Ravenel with 28 seconds remaining.
Ravenel made Mountain View pay as he reached the end zone with six seconds left before halftime.
Sorrentino said if he could do it over again, he wouldn’t have punted to Ravenel in that situation.
“Teams are doing their thing. They’re not really thinking a big play is going to happen,” Ravenel said. “When we catch someone slipping, we’ve got to take advantage of it, and I guess that’s exactly what happened.”
The Wolverines increased their lead to 28–0 on the first possession of the second half. Dadzie scored on a 1-yard touchdown plunge two plays after Anthony Shegog’s 63-yard reception.
The Wildcats got on the board with running back Gordon Collins’ 5-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to pull within 28–7.
But the Wolverines immediately responded with another scoring drive. This one was punctuated by Dadzie’s 17-yard touchdown sprint.
“We saw that they couldn’t contain the outside,” Dadzie said. “So we just started running outside.”
While the Wolverines prepare for another showdown next week, the Wildcats will attempt to regroup when they visit Riverbend.
“We didn’t respond well to the big-game atmosphere,” Sorrentino said. “We played two clean games and two clean scrimmages, and we didn’t play well tonight. But there is a lot of football left to be played.”
North Stafford 7 14 14 0 — 35
Mountain View 0 0 7 6 — 13
NS-B. Ravenel 52-yard pass from V. Purvis (J. Slye kick)
NS-C. Watkins 25-yard fumble recovery (J. Slye kick)
NS-B. Ravenel 79-yard punt return (J. Slye kick)
NS-K. Dadzi 1-yard run (J. Slye kick)
MV-G. Collins 5-yard run (D. Fraser kick)
NS-K. Dadzi 17-yard run (J. Slye kick)
MV-D. Hamilton 11-yard run (kick failed)
First downs14 15
Rushing yardage44-243 40-205
Passing yardage144 58
Rushing: Mountain View—Elijah Burress 16-89; Gordon Collins 11-65, TD; Kirron Sleydin 6-29; DaeSean Hamilton 2-19, TD; Skyler Zane 1-5; Greg Hoffman 1-1; Collin Hasenecz 1-0; Quinton Gray 1-0; Team 1-(-3). North Stafford—Kwesie Dadzie 30-205, 2TD; Von Purvis 11-39; Mouad Rais 2-3; Cedrick Watkins 1-(-4).
Passing: Mountain View—Elijah Burress 5-19-0 58. North Stafford—Von Purvis 5-13-0 144, TD.
Receiving: Mountain View—Kirron Sleydin 1-21; DaeSean Hamilton 2-20; Quinton Gray 2-17. North Stafford—Anthony Shegog 2-69; Brandon Ravenel 2-61, TD; Raun King 1-14.
Taft Coghill Jr.: 540/374-5526