Five Key Players
OL/DL Terrell Moffit (6’4”, 315,’17) – Budding star for the Ravens. Had a very good sophomore season and is a rock in the middle of both the offensive and defensive lines. He’s a big-time athlete with a ton of strength and explosiveness. Should be a highly recruited player for the 2017 class once coaches get a real good look at him this fall.
ATH Darrien Rivera (6’1”, 185, ‘16) – Big-time player and leader. Should be one of the leaders for the Ravens as a playmaker on offense and in the deep patrol. Rivera is tough, physical and he’s athletic as heck.
WR/CB Dennis Beard (6’2”, 170, ‘16) – Strong leader with the ability to be a stalwart on either side of the ball. He will play both ways for the Ravens this season.
DB/RB James Baldwin (5’10”, 200, ‘16) – Tone-setter with outstanding instincts that will be another two-way player for Auburn Riverside this fall.
QB/LB Tiano Malietufa (5’11”, 215, ‘18) – Just playing quarterback, Malietufa is one of the most important players for the Ravens. The fast he picks things up and gets a comfort level at the position, he will be a good one. This season, he’ll probably be a more consistent threat as a runner, but make no mistake, he can really spin it and make plays with his arm as well.
The 2014 season didn’t end up how head coach Bryant Thomas expected. Injuries really hurt his team, falling from the pedestal of winning the SPSL 3A in 2013 to 1-9 last fall.
All that Thomas and his charges knew how to do was put their noses to the grindstone and they got to work this offseason.
“We’ve had a really good winter, spring and summer,” Bryant said. “We’ve got some players that can be difference-makers and I think we’ll be much tougher than we were last season because injuries just killed us at certain spots.”
Leading the Ravens’ spread attack will be sophomore QB Tiano Malietufa, a 5’11”, 215-pounder who can really sling the ball while also using his legs to be a threat in the running game. Malietufa was a starter at middle linebacker last season as a freshman for a couple of games and he’ll see double-duty this fall, but Bryant thinks he can be a special player early in his varsity quarterbacking career.
“He’s a lefty, so that’s a little different and I think he can really be a playmaker for us,” Bryant said. “He’s young, so he won’t be perfect, but he’s smart and he’s tough and I think in the long run, he’s going to be a special guy for us.”
The Ravens are loaded at running back with the likes of juniors Alex Caldwell (5’8”, 170) and O’Darious Shaw (5’10”, 175) and senior Darrien Rivera (6’1”, 185).
Caldwell will likely be the starter while Shaw will start out in the slot, but both Shaw and Rivera can be really productive runners when they are called upon.
Along the offensive line, things are still working themselves out, but the unquestioned leader up front is junior center Terrell Moffit (6’4, 315) who could be a candidate for post-season All-SPSL honors if he lives up to expectations.
While Moffit holds down the pivot, flanking him will be a group that will likely include seniors Adrian Hollingsworth (6’2”, 215) and Jake Wicks (6’2”, 270). Wicks likely won’t start the season with the Ravens as he continues to recover from a knee injury, but Bryant and his staff expect him to be ready to go by the end of the first month of the season.
The receivers didn’t put up big numbers last season, but that had more to do with injuries and struggles at quarterback, but the Ravens definitely have some playmakers including Shaw who posted 11 receptions for 145 yards and one touchdown while working into the rotation at wideout as a sophomore.
Joining him will be senior Dennis Beard (6’2”, 170) who Bryant says “can take the top off of the defense” and super-quick players like senior Bradley Means (5’9”, 155) and sophomore Isaiah Prescott (5’9”, 160).
Defensively, AR should be pretty tough in their front seven with Moffit holding down nose tackle duties and Hollingsworth manning one of the defensive end spots in the Ravens’ 3-3-5 defensive scheme.
The linebackers are fast and athletic.
Seniors Jake Eastby (5’10”, 200), A.J. Britt (5’10”, 215), Isaac Gutierrez (6’0”, 215), junior Chris Ceja (6’”, 210) and Malietufa, a sophomore, make up a deep group of linebackers who like to fly around and make plays.
The secondary featurs two strong safeties in James Baldwin (5’8”, 195), a hard-nosed senior who the AR coaches moved from linebacker to safety for his senior season.
Joining Baldwin will be Rivera who is one of the two-way stars for the Ravens.
Senior Colton Roberts (6’2”, 170) will hold down the free safety spot while Beard and Prescott will handle corner duties.
The Bottom Line: The Ravens are building a good program, but they might be a year away from really making some noise in the SPSL. With a young quarterback and plenty of underclassmen at the “skill” positions and an absolute beast like Moffit in the middle of both the offensive and defensive line, this year could easily be a bounceback, but 2016 could wind up being pretty special as long as they stay the course.
Vs. Gig Harbor (9/10)
Vs. Lakes (9/18)
Vs. Sumner (10/30)