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Jackson Newspapers - Ripley, WV
  • Devils host 'rival' Big Blacks, both seeking skid buster

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  • RAVENSWOOD – Pt. Pleasant's Big Blacks still consider Ravenswood's Red Devils rivals despite the teams being in separate classes this year. And in fact, a win for either "rival" Friday night at Flinn Field will be just what the doctor ordered for separate losing skids.
    Once 2-0, Ravenswood has lost four straight including last Friday's gut-wrenching, last-second 26-23 loss to Braxton County for Homecoming—the second straight late game reversal of fortune for the Devils.
    Pt. Pleasant opened their first season back in AAA after last year's AA runner-up finish to Wayne by blasting South Point, OH (57-0) and Tolsia (40-2). Then came close shaves over Lewis County (14-13) and Winfield (18-13).
    Rolling at 4-0, the Big Blacks of Coach Dave Darst suddenly hit a brick wall, losing their Homecoming game to Brooke, 34-33, in a fashion eerily similar to Ravenswood. Brooke drove 63 yards to score the winning TD with 1:24 left.
    The Big Blacks lost leading rusher Tylun Campbell (5-11, 193, Sr.) to an injury (76 rushing yards in first half) a few plays into the second half.
    Last weekend at Oak Hill without Campbell, Point was dominated in the second half to fall to those Red Devils, 34-14. Oak Hill's Jalen Jones torched Point for 312 rushing yards in the game.
    Campbell was outstanding for Point early, but was held to 41 yards on 10 carries in an 18-13 win at Winfield and 11 for 59 versus Lewis County.
    Marquez Griffin (5-10, 161, Sr.), Teran Barnitz (6-1, 196, Jr.) and Chase Walton (5-10, 182, Jr.) are rushing compliments to Campbell.
    Sophomore quarterback Aden Yates (6-2, 182) is having a big year. He threw for over 100 yards in each of the Big Blacks' first five games and for 92 yards last week.
    Top receivers are Anthony Perry (5-8, 157, Sr.), Brycen Reymond (6-1, 187, Jr.), Andrew Williamson (5-10, 181, Sr.), Cody Mitchell (6-2, 190, Fr.), Walton, Campbell and Barnitz.
    Collin Peal (5-4, 120, Jr.) is the place-kicker.
    All-State nose guard Conner Templeton (6-3, 215, Sr.) anchors the Big Black defense, which also features the likes of tackle Robby Wallace (5-8, 196, Sr.), safety Anthony Perry (5-8, 157, Sr.), Gage Buskirk (5-6, 141, So.), Williamson, Barnitz, Griffin and Reymond.
    For Ravenswood, the Red Devils need to shore up their fundamentals—especially tackling in space and defensive secondary play, avoid committing costly penalties and get more consistent offensive line play.
    Getting senior Billy Knicely back for a couple of plays (hopefully with more to come) helped shore up the defensive middle last week, but the Devils have been gashed too much on the perimeter.
    And Ravenswood needs someone other than Brad Titus to step up and be a stopper in crucial defensive situations. As talented as he is, Titus can't be expected to make all the big plays singlehandedly.
    Sophomore Rhys Jelich (759 yards, five TDs) and junior Devon Crews (626 yards, 10 TDs) have provided a solid running game, and junior quarterback Heath Burgess hit some big passes against Braxton County to keep the defense honest.
    Page 2 of 2 - Patrick Watson got back into the scoring, and Dylan Radabaugh, Rhys and Connor Jelich hauled in key pass receptions.
    PRE-GAME NOTES: Last year, Pt. Pleasant blanked Ravenswood 37-0 on their home field turf on their way to the Class AA No. 1 ranking and the state championship game (lost to Wayne)…
    The Red Devils had scoring chances early and in the third quarter, before the Big Blacks rolled up 20 points to put the game away… A block-in-the back penalty nullified a Zack Martin interception return for the TD that would have tied the game at 7-7 and the Devils missed a 26-yard field goal trailing 17-0 in the third quarter…
    Pt. Pleasant has won five of the last seven games in the series…Ravenswood's two wins came at Flinn Field in overtime (24-21 in 2008 and 27-24 in 2010 on their way to the AA state championship game). Point upset the Devils 31-19 in 2009, won 21-14 in 2007, prevailed in a wild shoot-out 37-34 at Flinn Field in 2006 and eked out a 7-3 win in 2005 at historic Sanders Field

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