Hatchet History: There are a lot of great high school sports rivalries in West Virginia. 

Ravenswood vs. Ripley is as good as it gets.

Pick a sport, and the battles between the Red Devils and Vikings have been tremendous down through the years.

The annual football battle has long been something special.

So special, Mike Ruben and yours truly felt the need to tell the story in the form of a historical video. A documentary if you will.

While this special project will indeed cover the entire course of the football series between the Jackson County rivals, it will zero in on the years in which the Hatchet became the coveted prize for the winner.

We are at ground level in the planning stages, gathering tons of data such as video of games past, newspaper clippings, game programs, etc.

Anyone wishing to contribute can contact Mike or myself.

Plans are to interview as many players and coaches as possible from different eras.

This will be a lot of work, but a story worth sharing.

Due to the uncertainly of the coronavirus, plans could change, but the hope is to have this ready to go at least by the weekend prior to this year’s scheduled showdown, which is set for November 6 at Ravenswood’s Flinn Field.

Record Keeping: A project I had thought about doing this summer may move up several weeks due to the uncertainty of spring sports throughout West Virginia and more specific Jackson County.

This deals with the records and history of all the sports programs at both Ravenswood High School and Ripley High School.

Each one – football, boys soccer, girls soccer, boys cross country, girls cross country, volleyball, cheerleading, boys basketball, girls basketball, wrestling, boys tennis, girls tennis, boys track and field, girls track and field, girls softball and baseball – will be highlighted. All sanctioned by the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission.

Everything from the history of the programs, to the outstanding performers, All-Staters, college players, coaches, memorable seasons and more.

Program records will also be included if possible.

A history of the archery programs at the two schools will also be on display.

Any current or former coaches with helpful information I invite you to contact me and share what you have.

This will take some doing, but it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Remembering Cathy Casto: My heart goes out to the family of former Ripley High graduate and athlete Bryce Casto on the passing of his beautiful wife, Cathy.

If you saw Bryce at a sporting event, Cathy was usually nearby.

The two met while Bryce, who was a three-sport standout at Ripley, was playing football and going to school at West Virginia State.

Cathy, whose maiden name was Jividen, had family in Jackson County.

The two were the proud parents of an outstanding son, Zachary, who is following in his father’s footsteps as a teacher and a coach.

Cathy’s personality was contagious. She was full of life and laughter.

She loved sports. She was the ultimate coach’s wife.

She followed Bryce’s playing days while at State.

She was there for his early coaching days at Ravenswood, his stint as an assistant coach at West Virginia State, his time as South Charleston’s head coach, where he won the Class AAA state championship in 1994, his return to State as athletic director and then vice president, his journey back into coaching and teaching at Nitro to his current role at South Charleston as athletic director.

Cathy loved sports as much as anyone.

I enjoyed going to games and seeing her. We always gave each other a hug.

Cathy’s love for sports stemmed from the passion exhibited by both her late father, Lindy, and late brother, Jody.

While working for the Charleston Daily Mail, there was no better sports writer in the state than Jody. I learned so much from reading his stories and columns.

He, too, was a treasured friend.

Cathy’s passing last Friday was sudden.

It won’t be the same going to SC games moving forward.

Prayers to Bryce, a valued friend for so many years, and Zachary, as fine a young man as any parent could ever hope to have.

RIP Cathy.