A move into a different division comes at a good time for Ravenscroft. The Ravens, returning 18 starters, will play for a spot in the Division II ranks of the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association, down one from a year ago.
The NCISAA groups 11-man football teams into different divisions with a varying number of playoff spots for each. Head-to-head results matter greatly, so teams within the division try to schedule one another even if they are in different conferences.
As one of five teams in Division I, Ravenscroft was playing for one of just four playoff spots. In the last two years, it scheduled all four of the other schools – all in Charlotte – and lost to each. So the Ravens (6-5, 3-0), back-to-back conference champions, haven’t had a playoff game since 2011.
11: Straight losses to Charlotte teams that have helped keep the Ravens out of the postseason.
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“Geographically it wasn’t very advantageous for us,” head coach Ned Gonet said, adding “We could have a great season but if we lost some specific games we were out of the playoffs and really that happened to us the last two years.”
Gonet cautions that Division II won’t necessarily be an easier division of play, but it will increase the chances his team can get a playoff game – the goal is a home playoff game – and have fewer three-hour road trips.
With so many returning players this year, Gonet thinks this team should get out to a faster start. He sees a solid defense and kicking game and an offense built on power running.
Cross Carpenter will have most of the snaps at quarterback after splitting with Spencer Beller, who moves to wide receiver, last year.
“The three parts of the game for us should all be pretty sound. So from the outside looking in, before we start, we’re pretty optimistic that this should be a pretty good year for us,” Gonet said. “Now a couple of injuries here, a couple of issues here or there, could put us in a tailspin and we went through that in 2013. ... But we’re going to be more optimistic this year and hope it doesn’t happen.”
Offense: I-formation, multiple
Contributors: QB Cross Carpenter; RB/DL Donald Fuller; RB/DL Colby Muldrow; WR/DB Spencer Beller; WR Tyler Williams; WR Miles Rabun; WR/DB Devon Perry; TE Chase Storch; OL Cole Kennedy; OL Will Reddin; OL Payne Lubbers; OL Calvin Atkinson; OL/K Henry Atkinson; DL Sam Landis; DL Will Bird; LB D.J. Washington; DB Jaedon Williams; K/P Zach Murphy.
Expected team strength: Receivers/tight ends.
Question mark: Linebackers.
Player they’ll miss the most: LB Garrett Hicks. Middle linebacker called the defense.
The main number: 11 – Straight losses to Charlotte teams that have helped keep the Ravens out of the postseason.
The quote: Gonet: “We only had five seniors last year and four of are going on to play college football, and three of them were linebackers.”
Game to watch: Oct. 30 vs Harrells Christian. The conference championship usually comes down to this season finale.
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