RAVENSWOOD – Red Devil head coach Mick Price said prior to Friday night’s season opener that it was imperative for his 2013 team to get off to a good start and wipe away the bitter taste of last season’s eight-game losing streak in a disappointing 2-8 season.
In an electric, “Red Out” atmosphere at Flinn Field, Price’s Devils did that and then some, smashing visiting Webster County, 61-36, in a game that was well in hand at half-time with the Devils leading 41-6.
Friday night was also a coming out party for junior wingback Ben Johnson who added a fourth head to the Ravenswood rushing hydra with a 80-yard, three touchdown night. And that’s not taking anything away from senior Devon Crews who ran roughshod over the Highlanders accounting for a team-leading 117 rushing yards and three TDs of his own.
Ravenswood struck quickly just 38 seconds into the game when Crews tossed a 31-yard halfback option pass to a wide open junior split end Thomas Sturm for a touchdown. Senior Nathan Cunningham showed off his strong leg by blasting through the PAT and the Devils were off to the races, 7-0.
Just four minutes later, Johnson scored his first of three TDs on a five yard run. Crews ripped off a 27-yard TD run with just over 28 seconds left in the first quarter, as Ravenswood took a 21-0 lead.
After Webster County got on the board with a one-yard run by quarterback Jacob Thayer with 10:41 left in the first half, the Devils went on another 20-point tear with TDs by Crews (four yards), a 31-yard interception return TD by junior linebacker Rhys Jelich that ended with a Nestea plunge into the end zone (penalized) and a 72-yard burst up the middle for a score by senior quarterback Heath Burgess with 4:37 still left in the first half.
Johnson added his second (11-yard run) and third (40-yard run) touchdowns of the night in the third quarter sandwiched around a Webster County score via pass on a 22-yard toss from Thayer to tight end Dalton Davis.
After another Highlander score on the Ravenswood jayvees, Crews capped the Devils’ scoring with his third TD of the night on a 33-yard run with 3:28 left in the third quarter.
Webster County added two more fourth quarter scores as Ravenswood emptied its bench.
For the game, the Red Devils rolled up 447 offensive yards including 348 via the rush on 35 carries.
Crews led the ground game with 11 carries for 114 yards and three TDs. Johnson added eight carries for 80 yards and three TDs; Heath Burgess, five carries for 89 yards and a TD; Rhys Jelich, seven carries for 57 yards; Preston Humphreys, one carry for seven yards; Jordan Saunders and Jon Crow, one carry for two yards each; and Alex Casto carried once for minus three yards.
Page 2 of 3 - Burgess completed six of 13 passes for 68 yards weith one interception. Crews was 1-for-1 for 31 yards and a TD.
Thomas Sturm led the receivers with two catches for 68 yards and a TD. Johnson had one catch for 13 yards; Rhys Jelich, two for eight yards; Crews, one for five yards; and Dylan Radabaugh, one for three yards.
Webster County totaled 393 offensive yards with 345 coming via the rush (48 carries) mostly in the second half.
Walker Lawson led the way with 14 carries for 170 yards and a TD. Jacob Thayer added 10 carries fvor 68 yards and a TD; and Dalton Gray, seven carries for 44 yards and two TDs.
Thayer completed two of 16 passes for 48 yards with one TD and three interceptions. Dalton Davis caught both passes.
Ravenswood rolled up 17 first downs (14 via rush and three via passP and drew seven flags for 70 yards.
Webster County also rolled up 17 first downs (15 via rush and two via pass) and drew just two flags for 10 yards.
Isaac Crow punted three times with a 34.67-yard average. Rhys Jelcih had two punt returns for 11 yards and Crews one for no gain.
Nathan Cunningham kicked off seven times with a 56-yard average; and Preston Humphreys, three times with a 49.67-yard average. Jordan Saunders had three kickoff returns for 42 yards; Johnson one for 15t yards; and Sturm one for no gain.
Defensively, Connor Jelich led the Devils with seven tackles. Austin Hileman added five tackles and fumble recovery; Matt Peery and Damien Caldwell, five tackles each; Matt Starcher, four; Rhys Jelich (TD) and Ben Johnson, three tackles and an interception each; Nathan Cunningham, Aaron Parsons, and Jon Crow, three tackles each; Kyle Hickman, two tackles and a fumble recovery; Heath Burgess, two tackles and an interception; Willy Parsons, Jace Buckland-Hickman, Thomas Sturm, Preston Humphreys, Jordan Saunders, Roy Bush and Corey Chenoweth, two tackles each; and Dylan Radabaugh, Isaac Crow, Hayden Mandrake and Vince Liston, one tackle each.
Ravenswood (1-0) hosts Roane County at Flinn Field Friday for a 7:30 p.m. game.
Webster County 00-6-16-14--36
(R) Thomas Sturm, 31-yard pass from Devon Crews (Nathan Cunningham kick), 11:22 first quarter
(R) Ben Johnson, five-yard run (Cunningham kick); 7:21 first quarter
(R) Devon Crews, 27-yard run (Cunningham kick); 0:28.7 first quarter
(WC) Jacob Thayer, one-yard run (kick failed); 10:41 second quarter
(R) Crews, four-yard run (Cunningham kick); 8:55 second quarter
(R) Rhys Jelich, 31-yard interception return (kick failed); 7:21 second quarter
(R) Heath Burgess, 72-yard run (Cunningham kick); 4:37 second quarter
(R) Ben Johnson, 11-yard run (kick failed); 10:01 third quarter
Page 3 of 3 - (WC) Dalton Davis, 22-yard pass from Thayer (Logan Taylor, pass from Thayer); 7:47 third quarter
(R) Ben Johnson, 40-yard run (Preston Humphreys kick); 6:59 third quarter
(WC) Walker Lawson, 27-yard run (Logan Taylor, pass from Walker Rose); 5:19 third quarter
(R) Crews, 33-yard run (Humphreys kick); 3:28 third quarter
(WC) Dalton Gray, 13-yard run (Rose, pass from Thayer); 9:29 fourth quarter
(WC) Gray, six-yard run (no try); 0:00 fourth quarter