The Rocky River Ravens won’t soon forget a first football victory of the season in which they had their backs to the wall for most of the second half.
Rocky River let a 17-point lead late in the third quarter slip away and overcame their own mistakes — including four touchdowns nullified by penalties – wrapping up the win by recovering a Sun Valley fumble at the Ravens 5 in the last two minutes.
It was a rousing finish to a crazy offensive battle – the teams combined for nearly 900 yards in total offense.
Quarterback Tyshawn Carter completed 20-of-29 passes for 173 yards and 3 touchdowns, and carried 22 times for 184 yards, scoring the game-winning touchdown on an 11-yard run with 3 minutes and 7 seconds to play in the game.
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The Spartans had stunned Rocky River early, scoring on a 95-yard kickoff return by Fabrice Funderburke following a field goal by the Ravens’ Johnathan Pfeiffer. They followed that with an 86-yard pass from quarterback Sam Howell to wide receiver Jerimiah Miller to take a 14-3 lead.
But Rocky River rallied for a 17-14 halftime lead on a pair of 17-yard touchdown passes by Carter to Kendall Lewis and Johari Alexander. Elijah Henry, who carried 26 times for 174 yards.
And they appeared ready to take control of the game when linebacker Larry Blanton returned an interception 35 yards for a touchdown to give the Ravens a 38-27 lead in the last minute of the third quarter.
But quarterback Sam Howell, who completed 15 of 30 passes for 324 yards, led a frantic fourth quarter comeback for the Spartans. They grabbed the lead for the last time at 39-38 on a 32-yard touchdown pass from Howell to Miller with 5 minutes and 46 seconds to play in the game.
But Carter ended a quick scoring drive with his winning touchdown run and the Ravens hung on for the win, pouncing on a fumble in a pileup at their five with 1:49 left in the game.
Records: Sun Valley 1-2; Rocky River 1-2
Worth mentioning: The game was delayed 46 minutes by lightning after only 2 minutes and 39 seconds had been played.
What's Next: Sun Valley hosts Indian Trail-area rival Porter Ridge at 7:30 p.m. Friday; Rocky River is at Charlotte Catholic at 7:30 p.m. Friday.