Riverhawks get revenge on Ravens with last-second touchdown


The Toledo football team got 2023 off with a bang — and a different sort of bang than they’ve pounded out in previous years — Friday night, beating Raymond-South Bend 42-35 at the buzzer in a non-league contest at Ted Hippi Field.

“I’m just really proud of them,” Toledo coach Mike Christensen said. “It was a hard-fought win for sure.”

Taking over with less than a minute left after the Ravens tied things up at 35-35, sophomore quarterback Eli Weeks led the Riverhawks (1-0) down the field and into RSB territory, wielding a new-look Toledo passing attack that had already struck for four touchdowns.

Close to the red zone with the clock ticking, Christensen rolled the dice and kept it on the ground, giving the ball to Ethen Carver.

Thirty yards later, with two lonely seconds left on the clock, Carver was in the end zone, and Toledo had the win.

“It kind of felt like the perfect time to call that play,” Christensen said. “I knew I wanted to give the ball to Carver, because he’s a fast kid that can make that play.”

Carver went for 189 yards on the ground, hitting paydirt twice.

But for the beginning of the night, the story was what Weeks was doing through the air in his debut. 

“As far as command of the offense and what we’re trying to do, this was probably the best I’ve seen,” Christensen said.

The sophomore completed seven of his first nine passes, and finished 9 for 18 for 142 yards and the four scores.

Three of those touchdowns went to Trevin Gale, who logged seven receptions for 107 yards.

“We don’t usually even have 100-yard passers,” Christensen said with a laugh. “I don’t know, it’s been a long time. It could have been 20 years since we've had a 100-yard receiver. It’s been a long time for sure.”

RSB took a quick lead out of the gate with long rushing touchdown, but Toledo came back with a vengeance, scoring 21 points on a pair of passing touchdowns from Weeks to Gale and a Carver rushing score.

Weeks found tight end Ethan Brooks in the second quarter to push the Riverhawk lead to three touchdowns at 28-7.

“The first half, our offense looked really, really good,” Christensen said.

The Ravens, who downed the Riverhawks to open last season, didn’t go away, cutting the lead to 14 points at the half before rattling off three straight touchdowns between the third and fourth quarters to close the gap entirely and tie the game with 50 seconds left.

Christensen said he didn’t even think about running the clock out and playing for overtime, though.

“We spent a lot of time on our two-minute drill this year, and I like the way Eli runs it,” he said. “I had a lot of confidence we’d be able to move the ball and put ourselves in a position to take a shot, and that’s what we did.”

Toledo will try to keep the momentum rolling next week, when it hosts Rainier in another non-league matchup.