Adjusting on the go is a huge part to succeeding in football.
The Terry Fox Ravens demonstrated some skill in that department on Friday, knocking off the Notre Dame Jugglers 13-7 in the regular season opener at Town Centre Stadium.
Capitalizing on their first possession set the tone in a game where the team introduced a new starting quarterback.
Jake Bye made his debut in the pocket, after spending all year preparing as a running/defensive back. But with starter Trevor Casey sidelined due to a shoulder injury suffered the previous week in community football, Bye gamely took the ball and did a credible job.
"His strength is his confidence and willingness to do it," noted Ravens co-coach Tom Kudaba of Bye. "He had no hesitation, which really set the tone for the team. He had the poise, despite just being thrown in."
On the team's first possession and third play from scrimmage, Bye connected on his only completion of the day, hitting Nick Agnoletto on a quick hitch play, where the receiver broke a tackle and dashed 48 yards to put Fox ahead.
Taking its cue from that opening salvo, the Ravens' defence contained the Jugglers' offence and didn't surrender a first down until the second quarter.
Agnoletto would set up the PoCo squad's second major by registering a 26-yard punt return to Notre Dame's 13-yard line. Four plays later, Mate McLeod-Genest burrowed into the end zone from one yard out to put Fox ahead 13-0.
In the second half, while the visitors got a little more traction offensively, their only touchdown came off a blocked punt in the fourth quarter.
"I thought defensively [we] did a great job in stopping Notre Dame," said Kudaba. "We shut them down on a couple of fourth-and-long gambles. It was certainly our best defensive effort to date, and something we definitely want to build on."
The standouts on defence included junior callups Isaiah Stevens and Mike West and Grade 12 Brad Lyons. A five-foot-11 linebacker, Stevens racked up a game-high nine tackles and two assists, while West, at six-foot-two, collected six tackles.
Picking up five tackles apiece were Kyle Miller, Jason Shamatutu and Lyons, who added a QB sack. Shamatutu also pulled down an interception that he returned 44 yards.
On offence, McLeod-Genest rushed 49 yards on 13 carries, while Kyle Deugau had 27 yards on six rushes. While Bye only made six pass attempts, the coaches were impressed and eager to see how he'd perform with a few more practices under his belt.
"[Casey] in my opinion was one of the standout quarterbacks in the province," said Kudaba. "Losing him put us against the wall a bit but we turned to Jake and he didn't hesitate. It's a steep learning curve but in terms of composure and effort, he did what he had to do."
The Ravens' next text comes Friday, 3: 30 p.m. in Cloverdale against Lord Tweedsmuir.
In junior Fox action, the Ravens romped past Notre Dame 41-0 behind three rushing touchdowns by quarterback Connor McKee.