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Ravens end Southeast’s dream year

November 5, 2011
By BOB ETTINGER - Tribune Chronicle correspondent (sports@tribtoday.com) , Underthelights

RAVENNA - The Southeast football team had made history with its perfect regular season. The slogan then became, "Keep Making History," as the Pirates readied themselves for a Division III, Region 9 quarterfinal with rival Ravenna.

Unfortunately for the Pirates, they became history with a 42-35 loss to the Ravens Friday night at Gilcrest Stadium.

"This was the best season in Southeast history," Pirates coach Steve Sigworth said. "If you ask anybody in the area, we were the underdog coming in. But if you ask those 50 kids in the locker room, they didn't think we were. We felt that Ravenna would have play to beat us and they did."

The fourth-seeded Ravens (9-2) will play top seed Chagrin Falls on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at a site yet to be determined.

"We see Chagrin Falls every year at Mount Union for a 7-on-7 passing camp," Ravenna coach Jim Lunardi said. "Stay on campus with them. They're a great football team. They have a lot of tradition. They were second in the state the last two years. They do everything right and nothing wrong.

"We'll have to bring our 'A' game to beat them."

The Pirates' historic season ends at 10-1 following their fifth loss in five tries in the state playoffs. The last time Southeast played in Week 11 was in 2005 when it fell to Akron Buchtel.

"We made history in a lot of ways," Sigworth said. "I know it's real cliche, but starting with the loss to Crestwood last year, these guys dedicated themselves. I can't say enough about our senior leadership."

D.J. Jones was the catalyst for the Ravens with 213 yards and five touchdowns on 35 carries.

"You defend him, defend him and defend him, but sooner or later he makes a play no matter what you do," Sigworth said.

Southeast took a 21-21 tie into the locker room at the half following a 24-yard pass from Noah Kainrad to Trevor Norquest on a fourth and 9 from the Ravenna 28. Bryant Lavigna carried it in from the 4 with 30 seconds remaining in the half.

The Ravens opened the second half with a 5-minute, 68-yard drive that was capped by a 2-yard touchdown run by Jones. After forcing a turnover on downs on the Pirates' ensuing possession, Ravenna marched 82 yards in just over 4 minutes. KYle Kornbau dove for a tipped pass from quarterback Brandon Holt and made the catch for a 22-yard touchdown to put the Ravens up, 35-21, with 11:19 to play in the game.

The Pirates answered with a 1-yard score from Lavigna to get within seven, 35-28, with 9:14 remaining. The onside kick was recovered by the Ravens at the Southeast 48.

"We kind of figured we'd give it back to them at the 32, 35 or 40," Sigworth said. "If we executed better, it was wide open. What we did was if they adjusted, we kick it deep. They didn't adjust and we saw it. We said, 'Wow! They gave us the onside kick!' Their kid came up and made a great play."

Jones scored the fifth of his touchdowns from the 1 to put Ravenna up, 42-28, with 5:19 to play.

The Pirates drove right down and scored on a 13-yard pass from Kainrad to Lavigna to get within seven, 42-35, with 1:28 left. Lavigna recovered the onside kick and the Pirates were back in business at the Ravenna 44.

Eight plays later, Southeast was facing a fourth and 5 from the 29 with about 15 seconds to play. Kainrad lofted a pass to Tylor Brokaw in the end zone, but a Ravenna defender knocked the ball and the Pirates chances down to the turf.

Holt took a knee to run out the clock. He finished with 48 yards on 14 carries and 112 yards and a touchdown on 7-of-8 passing.

The Pirates got on the board first with a 1-yard run from Lavigna on the opening drive of the game. The Ravens answered with a 3-yard run from Jones and the score was tied, 7-7, with 2:34 remaining in the first quarter.

Southeast scored on a 65-yard pass from Kainrad to Norquest on the very next play to go back in front, 14-7.

The Ravens scored the next two touchdowns on a pair of 1-yard runs from Jones to go up, 21-14, with 4 minutes remaining in the half.

Brokaw carried 20 times for 80 yards and Kainrad tallied 59 yards on 12 carries and was 14 of 21 passing for 213 yards and two touchdowns. Lavigna carried 10 times for 50 yards and caught four passes for 29 yards. He scored four times. Norquest had five receptions for 137 yards.

sports@tribtoday.com