Devils taking advantage of flex days

Mark Martin
With the Red Devils only set to play four home games this season, the team is guaranteed to make each field entrance a celebration.

This isn’t your father’s two-a-day August football workouts.

But it is a best-case scenario considering the environment we are presently living in.

Ravenswood’s football program utilized “flex” days last week and is doing so again this week in preparation for the 2020 high school football season.

The Red Devils had three workouts last week and were slated for three more in this second week of August.

Typically, high school football teams begin preseason workouts at the beginning of August. Due to COVID-19, the scheduled start for teams in this upcoming campaign was pushed from August 3 to August 17.

The good news is many schools still had their six “flex” days that could be used.

“Getting them out here and getting them active and getting them rolling is really big for us,” said third-year Ravenswood head coach Eric Hupp. “We’ve got to keep them invested. Keep them coming so that there is not a couple of weeks break and (then we) come back and wonder where guys are.

“So it’s really nice if nothing else to build this strong relationship that we need going into the unknown, if you will, with the COVID thing and where we are.”

Hupp was looking forward to new offensive coordinator Adam Hill arriving from Florida late last week.

The Jackson County native, who played at Ripley, brings a wealth of football experience to the table having coached at the high school, collegiate, and professional levels.

The players are excited about a new-look offense in 2020.

“New sets, new runs, new passes and new coaches,” said senior quarterback Ben Queen. “I think we’re going to have a great season.”

Newcomer Shawn Banks, a junior running back, said he likes the versatility of the offense Hill is installing and how it can involve many individuals and make them interchangeable.

“We have like a lot of players that can play more than one position,” Banks said. “Our offense will be like running through everyone on the team.”

Senior wide receiver Caleb Lane said, “I like the offense, it’s pretty nice actually. It’s different from all the years past.”

Ravenswood will be junior-heavy up front this season, but Hupp feels those blocking have enough experience to get the job done.

Hupp is maintaining a positive outlook for the upcoming season and is making sure to instill that in his players continuously.

“I tell the boys every day, ‘Hey, we’re moving forward. You’ve got to be here, you’ve got to put the work in because we’re playing.’”

The first weekend of the season (August 27-29) for all high school teams in West Virginia was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Thus, Ravenswood opens September 4 at Buffalo.

The Devils had been slated to meet Southern Local from across the Ohio River in Racine August 28 on the grounds of Spano-Taylor Stadium at Flinn Field.

Hupp hated to see that game go by the wayside since he was coaching at Southern prior to becoming Ravenswood’s football leader.

Hupp is 1-1 against Southern.

Last year, Ravenswood won a wild 42-35 affair at Roger Adams Memorial Stadium on the Southern High campus.

With Southern gone, Ravenswood managed to pick up a 10th game by taking on Clay County October 23.

That game will be played at Bradley Field in Clay.

The loss of Southern and having the journey to Clay instead leaves Ravenswood with only four home games this season.

But considering the current situation, all games will be a welcomed sight this season…whether home or away.