RAVENSWOOD – Ravenswood dropped their fourth straight game before a Homecoming crowd Friday night in gut-wrenching fashion surrendering the game-winning, nine-yard touchdown pass to Braxton County as time expired for a devastating 26-23 loss.
It will be difficult for Ravenswood, now 2-4, to recover from yet a second consecutive heartbreaker.
The fatal play game after successive plays had yielded penalties and give the Eagles second and third chances to pull the game trailing 23-20—the first a double foul (pass interference and ineligible player downfield) replayed the down and the second a pass interference call at the goal line that moved the Eagles half the distance from the Devil 18 and set up the winning pass from Jacob Yanero to Andy Adkins in front of scrambling Red Devil defensive backs.
Ravenswood's pass run was delayed just enough to allow the rolling Yanero to get off the pass.
Yet it was the Red Devil defense's inability to stop the Eagles on their 15-play, 85-yard drive that resulted in another loss.
Also a factor, as it turned out, was a mistake by the press box clock operator who failed to start the clock for several seconds during a play on that final drive.
Those precious seconds also proved fatal in the end. And missed tackles again plagued the Devils.
Braxton County struck first less than three minutes into the game as Jacob Yanero raced 68 yards for a touchdown to cap a three-play, 69-yard drive.
The PAT kick failed and the Eagles led 6-0 with 9:09 left in the opening quarter. That 6-0 advantage held through the rest of the quarter.
Ravenswood got untracked as the second quarter began, marching 65 yards in six play to take the lead. Senior Patrick Watson reeled in a crossing pass from Heath Burgess and raced 24 yards for the capping touchdown. Senior Mason Carte's PAT kick was truce and the Red Devils led 7-6 with 10:04 left in the first half.
Sophomore Rhys Jelich scored next on a five-yard run to cap a 10-play, 69-yard march with 3:24 left in the first half. Carte's PAT kick was wide and Ravenswood led 13-7.
But Braxton did not fold, answering immediately. Yanero bolted 80 yards for a touchdown on the first play after the ensuing kickoff. A run for two points resulted in a fumble, but Chase Oney recovered in the end zone for Braxton for the two-point conversion to give the Eagles a 14-13 lead with 3:00 minutes still to play in the first half.
The Eagles scored again with just seven seconds left on a 22-yard pass from Yanero to Andy Adkins. The scoring pass capped a very quick three-play, 62-yard march. The PAT kick failed, and Braxton County took a 20-13 lead to the locker room at the half.
Ravenswood scored the only points of the third quarter, as junior Devon Crews raced into the end zone from five yards out to cap a 15-play, 80-yard march. Carte's PAT kick was good and the Devils had tied the game at 20-20 with 1:36 left in the quarter.
The Red Devils grabbed the lead with 5:45 left in the game on a 42-yard field goal by Nathan Cunningham. Cunningham's kick, which sneaked over the goal by a foot or so, was set up by a Heath Burgess interception after Burgess had fumbled with the Devils in the Eagle red zone. Ravenswood led 23-20.
That set up the Eagles' final 15-play march for the nail-biting last second 26-23 victory.
On the night, Rhys Jelich paced the Ravenswood rushing attack with 15 carries for 73 yards and a touchdown. Devon Crews added 16 carries for 62 yards and a TD; Connor Jelich, five carries for 16 yards; and Heath Burgess, four carries for a net eight yards. As a team, the Red Devils rushed 40 times for 159 yards with two TDs.
Burgess completed 11 of 18 passes for 138 yards with one TD of 24 yards to Patrick Watson.
Ravenswood totaled 297 offensive yards with three TDs, 18 first downs (nine via rush, six via pass and three via penalty) and drew seven penalties for 44 yards.
Jacob Yanero dominated the Eagles' rushing attack with 21 carries for 231 (of Braxton's 240 total) rushing yards and two TDs. Yanero completed five of eight passes for 91 yards and two TDs. Braxton County totaled 331 offensive yards with 12 first downs (nine via rush, three via pass and one via penalty) and drew seven penalties for 58 yards.
Carte kicked off five times with a 46.4 yards per kickoff average. Cunningham punted twice with a 44.5 yards per punt average.
Brody McDowell had two kickoff returns for 11 yards and Crews one for eight yards. Rhys Jelich returned one punt for 16 yards.
Defensively, Brad Titus led the way with 10 tackles. Donavyn Estep and Connor Jelich added nine tackles each; Heath Burgess, five tackles, an interception and a pass breakup; Rhys Jelich, three tackles; and Damien Caldwell, a tackle and fumble recovery.
Ravenswood hosts AAA Pt. Pleasant Friday at Flinn Field.
Braxton County 6-14-0-6--26
(BX) Jacob Yanero, 68-yard run (kick failed); 9:09 first quarter.
(R) Patrick Watson, 24-yard pass from Heath Burgess (Mason Carte kick); 10:04 second quarter.
(R) Rhys Jelich, five-yard run (kick failed); 3:24 second quarter.
(BX) Yanero, 80-yard run (Chase Oney, recovered two-point conversion fumble in end zone); 3:00 second quarter.
(BX) Andy Adkins, 22-yard pass from Yanero (kick failed); 0:07 second quarter.
(R) Devon Crews, five-yard run (Carte kick); 1:36 third quarter.
(R) Nathan Cunningham, 42-yard field goal; 5:45 fourth quarter.
(BX) Andy Adkins, nine-yard pass from Yanero (no conversion); 0:00 fourth quarter.