By SAM McGAW | Photos by STEVE WHEELER
Blake Sams’ go-ahead score against Franklin basically fell into his lap.
The North Florida signee’s shot into the right corner of the net in the 12th minute was enough to give Ravenwood a 1-0 win for the District 11-AAA tournament title at Brentwood Thursday.
“(The ball) was flicking around the box on the long throw and I was just running with it,” said Sams, the district’s most valuable player. “It kept bouncing up on my leg and my chest and stuff. I had a man on my back and then somehow it landed right in front of my foot. He made a good save the first time and then I put it away.”
Ravenwood (8-2-3) will host the loser of the District 12-AAA championship between Antioch and Glencliff for a Region 6-AAA semifinal early next week. The Rebels (8-4-2) will visit the district champion.
Franklin, the regular-season district champion, came off a 1-0 overtime win against Centennial on Wednesday, while Ravenwood handled Brentwood 4-0 to earn the championship berth.
“It seemed like we had a lack of energy and a lack of focus,” Franklin head coach Mike Burgoyne said. “Just simple passes that we usually are connecting, we weren’t connecting. When you go down early, it changes the game just a bit.”
Raptors goalkeeper Jack Hyatt made a handful of key saves throughout the evening to earn his fourth shutout of the season.
“He did very well,” Ravenwood head coach Jose Londono said. “It’s not just about the saves; he gives us confidence back there with his talking and his distribution. Sometimes, people only see the saves, so I want to give him a lot of credit for doing a lot of the extra stuff.”
Ravenwood is 2-1-2 against Franklin since the start of the 2016 season. Both wins and its loss were decided by one goal each.
“These games are going to be really tight, and sometimes it comes down something that might be simple or might not be pretty or someone’s mistake,” Londono said. “We know that playing Franklin at this stage, it’s the tiny little mistakes [that the game comes down to]. Sometimes, you do win that way. It wasn’t a beautiful goal or anything, but it counts and it sets us up for the next stage.”