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Jackson Newspapers - Ripley, WV
  • Cunningham follows in brother's footsteps in BACF Classic

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  • RAVENSWOOD – Like brother, like brother.
    Just as his older brother Brandon did two years ago, Nathan Cunningham finds himself as a member of the Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis West Virginia-Ohio Football Classic.
    The annual all-star game pits some of the top football players from the two states in the Mid-Ohio Valley region against each other on Friday night at Parkersburg’s Stadium Field. The kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
    Cunningham is excited to be a part of the game in which his brother competed in 2012 at Don Drumm Stadium in Marietta.
    “I had been to the game and had a background about the game, so it’s a big honor for me,” said Cunningham, who was an offensive tackle, defensive end and kicker for Ravenswood’s football program.
    He said it was a great feeling to hit the practice field this past weekend when the West Virginia squad went to work for the first time.
    “I missed being out there,” he said. “It was pretty awesome.”
    While Cunningham displayed a lot of versatility as a Red Devil football player, he looks to focus mainly on kicking in the BACF Classic.
    Cunningham enjoyed a great senior season of kicking for the Red Devils that included a 43-yard field goal against Ritchie County.
    This game, he hopes, won’t be his last as a football player. Cunningham is heading to Alderson-Broaddus and is going to try and make the team as a kicker.
    This coming year will be the second full season of football on the Philippi campus.
    Football is just one athletic mission for Cunningham at A-B. He is also going to be a member of the school’s wrestling program that is guided by former Ripley Viking three-time state champ Mitch Smith, who later became a NCAA Division II All-American at West Liberty.
    “I’m excited about that program,” said Cunningham, who qualified for the State Tournament this past season in the 170-pound class. “I use to go his (Smith) camps.”
    Cunningham has a burning passion for both wrestling and kicking a football.
    He wrestled in grade school but then missed out when Ravenswood didn’t field a middle school program. He didn’t return to the sport until his junior year in high school.
    “Coach (Matt) Bender (Ravenswood’s wrestling coach) got me back into it,” he said.
    Cunningham can’t wait to become a student-athlete at Alderson-Broaddus. A big bonus is the fact his older brother attends there as a student.
    Before his arrival in Philippi, Cunningham is ready to leave his mark one last time while wearing a Ravenswood football helmet.
    Page 2 of 2 - “This game is for a good cause; that makes it very special. It’s an honor to be in this game.”
    An honor his brother enjoyed two years ago.

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