Devils get 10th game; Vikings exploring options

Mark Martin
Jackson Newspapers

So what does the delay in the 2020 West Virginia high football season mean to the Ravenswood Red Devils and Ripley Vikings?

For Ravenswood, the Devil program was fortunate to pick up a 10th game.

Ripley, meanwhile, is in the process of seeing if it can find a team to play during its open date week.

When the WVSSAC announced last Friday the first week of scheduled games would be scratched due to COVID-19, it sent schools into scramble mode to find an all-important 10th game.

Normally, the West Virginia high school football season is an 11-week period for teams to play 10 games with one open date.

But with the elimination of Week 1, which was slated for August 27-29, the season openers will now occur on the first weekend of September.

Ravenswood was slated to play Southern Local, Ohio at home August 28.

While a matchup with the Tornadoes won’t take place, the Red Devil program was fortunate to pick up Clay October 23 where an open date existed.

“I had Clay on the backburner just in case,” said Ravenswood athletic director Wes Swain.

The Panther program also had an open date scheduled for that weekend.

Ravenswood will journey to Bradley Field in Clay to meet the Panthers.

“The last time the schools played, Ravenswood was the home team so that’s why will go to Clay,” Swain explained of the Devil road trip.

While the elimination of the Southern matchup leaves Ravenswood with just four home games, the good news Eric Hupp’s crew will have a full schedule in 2020.

Ravenswood’s season opener will be at Buffalo September 4. The Devils will play their first home game September 11 against Williamstown. September’s schedule also includes a visit to Roane County September 18 before closing out the month September 25 at home with Sherman.

Ravenswood will journey to Ritchie County October 2, host Wahama October 9, head to Doddridge October 16 and meet up with Clay. October 30 will have Ravenswood yet again at St. Marys.

The regular season will close on the turf of Spano-Taylor Stadium at Flinn Field against rival Ripley.

Speaking of Ripley, the Viking program loses its first game of the season at home with Brooke August 28.

Ripley has an open date September 18.

Ripley High’s long-time athletic director Steve Lough, who is also one of the state’s most respected athletic trainers, said on Monday he is in the process of trying to find a team to fill the September 18 slot, which would give the Vikings of first-year head coach Steve Sayre a 10-game schedule.

Ripley will now open the season on the road September 4 at Buckhannon-Upshur. The first home game would be September 11 with Lincoln County coming to Memorial Stadium.

September 25 has Ripley paying a visit to newcomer Oak Hill, who will be under first-year head coach David Moneypenny.

October 2 Ripley is slated to host Marietta, Ohio, where Sayre served as head coach for six seasons. (A coaches association in Ohio has requested moving football to the spring. But as of Sunday the Ohio High School Athletic Association announced it plans to begin preseason practices on the original start date of August 3 with season openers the final weekend of the month. Ohio teams do not have open dates and play a straight 10-week, 10-game schedule before the playoffs).

Ripley is to meet St. Albans on the brand new Crawford Field turf October 9 followed by a visit to Greenbrier East October 16. Another schedule newcomer Shady Spring and old rival Point Pleasant will head to Ripley October 23 and 30, respectively, before the short trek to Ravenswood.