Anthony bummed about N-S cancellation

Mark Martin
Jacob Anthony, No. 35, runs the ball for the Red Devils.

A day at the beach.

Make that a few days at the beach.

Ravenswood senior football standout Jacob Anthony has been soaking in the rays this week at Myrtle Beach along with some of his fellow 2020 graduates and football buddies.

“It’s been great,” he said of the weather from the popular West Virginia vacation destination.

Anthony had planned to use this week as a little R&R before arriving at West Virginia State University in Institute for six days of training camp, leading up to the annual Friday Night Rivals (WCHS-TV/WVAH-TV) North-South All-Star Football Classic.

Anthony was chosen as a member of the 36-member South Cardinal roster for the Classic, originally scheduled for June 13. Due to COVID-19, the Classic was rescheduled for July 16.

Unfortunately, that date is now off the table as well and the game simply won’t be played this year.

It was a devastating blow to many, including Anthony.

“I was looking forward to playing in the game with a lot of guys I’ve met (through the years),” Anthony said.

A workhorse for head coach Eric Hupp’s Red Devils the last two seasons, Anthony was an easy choice for the South coaching staff, led by Greenbrier East head man Ray Lee.

This past season Anthony earned Class A First Team All-State as a punter. He averaged 39.5 yards per kick.

But that was just the beginning of Anthony’s football contributions for the Red and Black.

He rushed for a team-leading 915 yards and scored eight touchdowns. He also hauled in two passes for 26 yards and completed one pass for 40.

On defense, Anthony was the team’s top tackler with 90 stops. Among his tackles,19 were for a loss. Anthony registered three sacks this season.

He also excelled in other areas of the kicking game.

He blocked two punts and four extra points. His six blocked kicks tied a school record.

On the offensive side of the ball, he rushed for 1,702 yards during his career and scored 13 touchdowns.

Defensively, he made 166 career tackles.

Anthony has a ton of memories from his days at Ravenswood. One game which stands out is the 42-35 victory the Devils produced this past season against Southern Local, Ohio’s Purple Tornadoes, who at the time were No. 8 in their region Division VII.

“It just went back and forth,” said Anthony, who carried the ball 18 times for 170 yards and scored two touchdowns while collecting five tackles on defense. “It was pretty exciting. That was the craziest game all year.”

While the North-South experience didn’t happen, Anthony says he’s far from through with football.

He’s accepted the challenge of joining the program at Glenville State College.

Anthony said he felt at ease on his recent visit, “(Head) Coach (Mike) Keller wasn’t pushing me to go there. He talked normal. I felt at home.”

The graduating Devil standout says he will look to try to make his way over the next to four to five years as Pioneers at linebacker.

Anthony says he hasn’t ruled out punting at Glenville. “If that’s something they needed me to, I can do that.”

While it’s been tough to take part in normal weightlifting routines due to the coronavirus, Anthony says he’s been staying in shape with “bodyweight workouts and a lot of running.” He hopes to hit the weights “real hard” upon his return from the beach.

He says the week at the beach with friends has been refreshing following a difficult end to his senior year.

Anthony is looking forward to Ravenswood’s scheduled traditional graduation ceremony later this month.

“Hopefully we will have it,” he said. “It’s a ceremony we’ve worked years for.”

While there have been a lot of down moments in recent months for graduating seniors, Anthony says he will forever treasure his time at Ravenswood and certainly being a part of Red Devil football.

He’s sorry it didn’t work out for him to represent the program in the North-South Classic.

“It was a disappointment (the game was cancelled),” he said. “But it was a huge honor to be chosen for it.”

Indeed it was.

And while there wasn’t a game, Jacob Anthony’s name will live forever on an impressive list from Jackson County to be selected for this prestigious Classic.