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Jackson Newspapers - Ripley, WV
  • Johnson would love some snowball in 2014

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  • RAVENSWOOD - If you’ll recall, last December’s Class AA state championship game in Wheeling between Bridgeport and Wayne was played in a winter wonderland of snow.
    The Indians topped Wayne, the two-time defending state champs and a team Ravenswood had faced during the regular season. The win not only added another title to Bridgeport’s storied tradition, but it ended Wayne’s winning streak of 36 games. (The streak, by the way, tied old Ansted High School’s state record for consecutive wins. Ansted had its string come to a close in a Class A playoff game at Ripley’s Memorial Stadium in 1973).
    Ravenswood’s Ben Johnson would love to play a football game in the snow, much like the one between Bridgeport and Wayne, this season as a senior for the Red Devils.
    For one, it would likely mean he was in Wheeling, or, at least, deep into the playoffs.
    There’s no question Johnson would feel right at home in the snow, considering what he does in the offseason.
    Johnson is a competitive snowboarder with hopes of one day turning pro.
    “It’s pretty crazy,” said Johnson of the sport. “I just started doing tricks and stuff (locally) and got into competition. I’ve done six races. I’ve raced at Canaan Valley and in Maryland. I landed my first back flip (this winter).”
    Red Devil head football coach Mick Price doesn’t need Johnson to do any back flips this season, just catch passes on offense as a receiver and stop opponents from doing the same while manning a spot in the Devil secondary.
    By being a snowboarder, Johnson brings a Devil-may-care attitude with him to the football field. He is indeed fearless, and that is a good thing.
    “Ben Johnson is just a heck of an athlete,” said Red Devil head coach Mick Price. “He does a great job at corner, but also in the backfield and as a receiver.”
    Last season, Johnson caught six passes for 96 yards on the offensive side of the ball. He carried the ball 40 times for 229 yards. On the defensive end of things, Johnson had 38 tackles, two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
    This will be his third season starting in the secondary for Ravenswood.
    He’s excited about being a part of Ravenswood’s 100th season of football.
    “I think that’s a big deal. I’m glad that I’m a senior this year for the 100th year of football, to be a part of it and play on the team,” Johnson said.
    He spent plenty of time getting ready for his final go-round as a Red Devil. “I was lifting every day. I tried not to miss any days for being a senior,” he said.
    Page 2 of 2 - Johnson, who was also a solid outfielder on Ravenswood’s excellent baseball team last spring, comes from a football family.
    His father, Dave, played for Ravenswood back in the ‘80s. His mother, Polla, was a Ripley High School cheerleader in the ‘80s. His grandfather, Eddie Parsons, was a standout for the Vikings of Ripley back in the ‘60s.
    Meanwhile, his older sister, Whitney, is now in her third season as a cheerleader for the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens.
    “It’s pretty cool,” Johnson said. “She likes it a lot. I’ve been to about three of the games.”
    For now, he’s looking to enjoy a lot of games in the red and black. Last year Ravenswood was eliminated in the first round of the Class AA playoffs by Bluefield. Johnson feels that experience can help Ravenswood advance beyond the first round this season, perhaps all the way to Wheeling.
    “Last year we had a pretty good season for having a lot of juniors on the team,” he said. “And now since we’re all seniors, we know what it takes to make it to the playoffs again.”
    Getting there and going far would be great for all involved.
    Playing those games in the snow would be an added bonus for Ben Johnson.
    Matter of of fact, he would flip to get that opportunity in his final football season.

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