After a long season filled with close defeats, flashes of potential, growing pains, and moral victories, the 2016 Ravens took the field one last time hoping to send their seniors out on a high note.
Anderson hosted Manchester for senior day, a rematch of last year’s season finale which was riddled with tension and bad blood. Both teams entered with 1-7 conference records, leaving the Ravens hopeful that they could emerge victorious. Anderson was defeated 33-14, unable to send their seniors out with a final victory.
“I feel terrible for them,” said coach John Sala after the game. “I hugged many of them afterwards and am sorry it ended that way.”
Again the Ravens showed glimpses of brilliance throughout the contest, but the growing pains that so often have plagued the young team again proved to be a thorn in the Ravens’ side.
Anderson was only able convert five of their 16 third down opportunities, while allowing Manchester to pick up 11 of their 19 opportunities.
“We just didn’t execute,” explained safety Alec Monte. “We messed up assignments and they gashed us for a first down. We just have to execute better and be disciplined.” Monte had a strong performance in the secondary, recording 14 tackles.
The Ravens also experienced little success in the red zone, scoring twice in four chances. Manchester reached the red zone five times, picking up three touchdowns and two field goals.
Demond Roberson-Miller had a big day on the ground for the Ravens, picking up 103 yards and a touchdown on 16 attempts. Triston Anderson hooked up with Joe Everett from nine yards out for the Ravens other score. Anderson completed 24 passes in 49 attempts, throwing for 203 yards.
The 14 points were not enough to emerge victorious, a hurt made even stronger with the amount of points left on the board.
Coach Sala touched on this as, saying, “We left some points out there. We miss a field goal, drop a touchdown pass; it’s one of those things where we’re not good enough yet to overcome those kinds of things.”
While those compounded mistakes impacted the Ravens throughout the season, Monte believes the experience the young team gained will be important to future success.
“There were a lot of young guys playing in key spots,” he said. “This is good for the future because our younger players were able to experience the college level. With us being young, there is always room for improvement. Through the ups and downs of this season, the young guys who played really shined and have high potential.”
Although many key pieces return for the future, the Ravens bid farewell to 14 senior players, multiple of whom played key roles on the field. Jeremy Gonzalez wrapped up his college career with a 17 tackle performance.
Drew Ponder, a key contributor on the defensive line for all four seasons of his career, added five tackles and clogged many running lanes on the afternoon.