It will be a family affair when Butler takes on Richmond Senior.
While it is not unusual for family members to face off on the gridiron, it is rare to have the starting quarterbacks of two of the top programs in the state be related.
And despite the two schools being just 63 miles apart, cousins Anthony Ratliff from Butler and Richmond’s Brent Flowers have never met.
That is until tonight.
In fact, the pair had no clue they were related until a few years ago.
“I didn’t even know until like two years ago,” Flowers said.
Ratliff’s mother, who is cousins with Flowers’ father, was born in Richmond County but moved to the Charlotte area with her side of the family as a pre-teen.
Even though the two families haven’t seen each other in years, this hasn’t stopped some playful banter on social media websites.
“My mom has doing a little talking,” Ratliff said. “It’s just between the family. It’s all in fun.”
Same blood, different styles
Flowers and Ratliff go about leading their teams in different ways. Flowers is known more for creating big plays on the ground, while Ratliff is finding success in the air.
“I guess I’m more like Cam Newton,” Ratliff said. “I’m just going to play my game. I like to be balanced, use my feet and my arm.”
Richmond’s signal caller is coming off a record-setting performance against Jack Britt last week. Flowers, a three-year starter, tied a school-mark with six rushing touchdowns. He threw for another two scores, to set a record for being responsible for eight touchdowns in one contest.
Flowers is leading the team with 607 rushing yards and is tied with Diquon Cox with eight scores. As a passer this season, Flowers is 22 of 42 for 504 yards, five touchdowns and an interception. Under Flowers direction, the Raiders are averaging more than 550 yards and 51 points a game
In his first season as the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback, Ratliff hasn’t posted the same type of numbers as his cousin. He is 24 for 51 for 459 yards, eight touchdowns and one interception. On the ground, Ratliff is second on the team with 272 yards and four scores.
Ratliff is starting to attract attention from several colleges and received scholarship offers from Clemson, North Carolina and Georgia Tech.
None of that matters to Ratliff right now, because he is more focused on getting the Bulldogs back on track and beating his cousin. He knows it won’t be an easy task.
“I’m ready for the experience, I know it is going to be very loud,” Ratliff said. “I watched some of the 2009 game (Butler won 38-31) on YouTube and heard how loud it was.”
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @scgolfer.