Cane Ridge football needed a spark at McGavock on Thursday night.
The Ravens were without 27 players due to COVID-19 contact tracing, including multiple key contributors.
Junior quarterback Shivan Abdullah was up to the task.
The first-year starter threw five touchdowns and ran for another score to help Cane Ridge handle McGavock 54-19.
“We had a bunch of young guys playing (Thursday),” Cane Ridge coach Eddie Woods said. “Hopefully we can build on this and build some depth. We made a lot of mistakes, but there were a lot of young guys out there cutting their teeth.”
In just his third career start, Abdullah had moments where he resembled a seasoned veteran – like when he hit Mose Phillips III in the back corner of the end zone for a first-quarter touchdown. The classmates later connected on a 55-yard scoring strike five minutes before halftime.
Abdullah finished 12-of-15 passing for 196 yards and added 31 rushing yards on five attempts. Two of his other touchdown passes went to Marte’on Lindsley, and one went to Laithan Johnson.
“It’s the best feeling I can ask for,” Abdullah said. “I’ve been working for this for a while, and it’s starting to pay off. But I can’t stop working now.”
Woods said Abdullah is still developing his pocket presence and learning when to make checks at the line based on looks from opposing defenses. Those intangible skills will likely come with experience.
“When you’re a young QB, you want to get out of that pocket fast (to avoid) the rush. He did a little bit better with that (against McGavock),” Woods said. “He’s a fairly tough kid, but we like him to stay in the pocket. We don’t want him taking too many hits.”
Junior tailback Maliek Campbell gave Cane Ridge a multi-dimensional attack that McGavock simply could not stop. He rushed for a career-high 233 yards on 22 attempts, and the Ravens totaled 523 yards as a team.
McGavock’s offense managed to keep up in the first quarter. QB Josh Martin answered two Cane Ridge scores with a 40-yard touchdown pass to Andraeus Jones and a 72-yard strike on a slant to Isaiah Burns.
But the Raiders (1-2) didn’t find the end zone again until it was too late. Markellus Bass’ 24-yard touchdown run with 1:18 remaining in the third quarter did little to change the outcome.
On the Cane Ridge drive before Bass scored, a scary scene played out. Sophomore wide receiver Jaylen Mosby jumped up to make a catch, was hit by a McGavock defender and landed awkwardly on his neck.
Mosby lay still for several minutes and was taken off the field on a stretcher, though he was able to give a thumbs-up sign to the crowd before being loaded into an ambulance.
“He had feeling in all his extremities and was moving everything,” Woods said. “The doctor said he’ll be fine.”
Cane Ridge will try to keep its momentum going at Father Ryan next Friday. Woods is hopeful the Ravens, who are seeking their 10th straight playoff appearance, can learn from facing tough competition.
“We want to build our program to play those big (Class 6A) teams like Oakland, Whitehaven and Maryville,” Woods said. “We’re just trying to stair-step, keep working and be like those guys – and eventually try to be better than them.”
Cane Ridge 54, McGavock 19
C 20 14 14 6 – 54
M 13 0 6 0 – 19
C – Laithan Johnson 28 pass from Shivan Abdullah (9:50), kick failed
M – Andraeus Jones 40 pass from Josh Martin (4:24), Angel Lopez kick
C – Mose Phillips III 16 pass from Abdullah (2:32), Abdullah kick
M – Isaiah Burns 72 pass from Martin (1:43), kick failed
C – Marte’on Lindsley 33 run (1:02), Abdullah kick
C – Lindsley 36 pass from Abdullah (7:32), Abdullah kick
C – Phillips III 55 pass from Abdullah (5:40), Abdullah kick
C – Lindsley 33 pass from Joshua Reese (6:52), Jamie Herrura kick
M – Markellus Bass 24 run (1:18), 2-pt conversion failed
C – Lindsley 33 pass from Abdullah (0:13), Jamie Herrura kick
C – Abdullah 5 run (7:51), kick failed