It's been a short 43 years since the 1969 Ravenswood Red Devils (Class of 1970 seniors) pulled off a payback upset of the favored Ripley Vikings at then-new Memorial Stadium in Ripley. Those Red Devil seniors are the “honor game” guests at Friday's 2012 Hatchet Game at Flinn Field.
This is the fifth annual Red Devil honor game, a project instituted by assistant coach Jason Jackson and former head coach Dick Sturm in 2007 to salute teams who have been part of the rich Red Devil football history(which officially began in 1914), and is being continued by new head coach Mick Price.
Provided inclimate weather doesn't interfere, expected to be on hand for the Hatchet Game Friday night are 1969 (1970 seniors) Red Devils Mike Akers, John Coleman, Ron Crawford, Mike Gorrell, Ron Hensley, Gary Lemaster, Greg Matics, Frank Roush, Rich Sansbury, Rich Simmons and Glen “Smitty” Smith, along with coaches Fred Taylor, Dick Sturm and Keith Winter.
Other senior team members included the late Jeff Bashaw, the late Ronnie Young, Mike Wolfe, Bobby Miller, Craig Rothwell, Mike Winter, Steve Snyder, Chuck Wise and Joe Wolfe.
After Ripley had stunned the 9-0 1968 Red Devils 12-0 at Flinn Field, the Vikings entered the 1969 Hatchet game at their home Memorial Stadium boasting a 8-1 record with their only loss to a very good Pt. Pleasant team.
Ravenswood entered the game at 6-3, but juiced up after a chicken was found hanging from the goal post at Flinn Field the day before the game with a note inviting the “Red Devil Chickens” to come on over to Ripley and get fried. That insulting challenge, the chance to payback the stunning upset that cost their team a state championship as it turned out as juniors, and the opportunity to take back The Hatchet were more than enough motivation for Coach Fred Taylor's charges.
Coach Ernie Moore's Vikings came onto the field with “Guts” emblazoned on the front of their helmets. Those letters didn't last.
Senior Mike Winter, who had bounced back from an injury in the Pt. Pleasant game the week before that sent him to the hospital, was the star for Ravenswood, scoring on a 72-yard run in the opening quarter, catching a 63-yard TD pass from senior quarterback Glenn “Smitty” Smith in the second quarter to put Ravenswood ahead 12-0 at the half, and intercepting three passes on defense.
Junior Red Devil Steve Buffington scored the game clinching TD on a 34-yard run with 3:14 left in the game, after Jay Chambers had scored the Vikings' lone TD and kicked the PAT to trim the Red Devil advantage to 12-7 as the fourth quarter began.
That Red Devil victory started the longest win streak in the storied history of the Hatchet—eight straight games by Ravenswood teams from 1969 to 1976.
Friday night's honorees are coming in from as far away as Florida and Virginia and as close at right here in Ravenswood and other areas of Jackson County. They're excited to be honored and honored to be part of yet another Hatchet Game—43 years after their career crowning victory.