Debuting new gray jerseys in the football home opener, the Ravens had a packed Macholz Stadium buzzing about the potential for a victory over the visiting Centre College Colonels. Although the young squad showed flashes of brilliance, their youth proved to be too much to overcome, as the more experienced Centre left Macholz Stadium with a 56-14 victory, dropping Anderson’s record to 0-2 on the season.
The Ravens started the game with back-to-back three-and-outs on offense. While the offense struggled to move the ball, the defense was unable to come up with some needed stops, allowing Centre to move the ball at ease. The energy of of the crowd quickly dissipated as Centre jumped out to a 28-0 lead by the end of the first quarter. Coach John Sala entered Saturday’s game excited to play, calling Centre a “fantastic program.” He knew the Ravens would need to play a great game and play turnover-free football for a shot at victory. While the Ravens did cut their turnover total in half from week 1, they were still unable to generate enough offense to keep up with the Colonels.
The youth of the Ravens showed with some of the defensive breakdowns and offensive miscues, but there were also many bright spots.
Coach Sala referenced this dynamic, saying “I couldn’t be more pleased with the young players. They’ve stepped up and shown what they can do, but you can’t have wonderful play from young guys without them making some mistakes.”
The Ravens threw one interception and lost two fumbles. They were also beat deep on a few long passes from the Colonels and missed some tackles in the open field.
The mishaps did not crush the spirits of the young team, as many of the younger players stepped up throughout. After losing starting running back Gavin Miller to an injury on the first play of the game, freshman Niquile Bell stepped up as a replacement. Bell ran for 90 yards on 14 carries, including a 45 yard run down the right sideline that brought the AU faithful to their feet. Triston Anderson, a freshman, accounted for both touchdowns, hitting Jack Stanton from 1-yard out for the first touchdown of each player’s college career. Anderson later plunged into the endzone on a quarterback keeper for the Ravens’ second touchdown. Sophomore Alec Monte led the defense with 16 tackles.
While the losses do hurt, the Ravens want to be known more for their character than their play. “Character first” is what the Ravens break practice on each day. The phrase is on the bumper plate of each player’s helmet. Coach Sala explained why this phrase means so much to the team. “We want to promote the right way to do things, being good stewards of Christ in all aspects. We won’t let success or failure define us.”