Ravenswood and Ripley to battle for Hatchet

Mark Martin
Jackson Newspapers

Ravenswood vs. Ripley.

Ripley vs. Ravenswood.

It has a special ring to it.

Always has, always will.

Regardless of the sport, when Jackson County’s two high schools compete there always seems to be a little something extra in store.

Perhaps no sport more than football.

Since 1955, the two schools have played for the coveted Hatchet.

The prize added to what was already a great rivalry dating back to the first meeting in 1919.

But once the Hatchet blended into the series, it made for one of the state’s greatest rivalries.

Tonight inside Flinn Field at Spano-Taylor Stadium the two get together once more.

Ripley leads the overall series, 43-40-4.

The Vikings will be trying for a seventh straight victory, which would tie the program’s longest winning streak in Hatchet history. The first seven-season run occurred from 1985-1991.

Ravenswood still owns the longest stretch of wins with eight. The Devil program established that mark from 1969-76.

Along the way, Ravenswood won two state championships during that time frame.

Ripley comes into tonight’s contest under first-year head coach Steve Sayre, a former Viking standout offensive and defensive lineman back in the ‘70s, with a 5-3 record. Sayre never got to enjoy a victory against Ravenswood as a player but has as an assistant. He would love to do so as a head coach.

His Vikings are aiming for a Class AAA playoff berth.

Ripley was No. 16 in the latest ratings. The Top 16 will reach the postseason.

Ripley has defeated Buckhannon-Upshur (42-0), Lincoln County (21-7), Marietta, Ohio (28-26), Scott (28-0), and Shady Spring (35-14) this season. The losses were handed out by Lewis County (29-13), Spring Mills (43-14), and Berkeley Springs (27-7).

Ravenswood comes in off its first victory of the season – a 47-6 defeat of Webster.

Eric Hupp’s Red Devils have fallen this season to Buffalo (21-6), Williamstown (61-7), Roane County (32-0), Summers County (27-7), Ritchie County (41-6), Tygarts Valley (30-0), Sherman (19-14), and Clay (63-7).

Hupp has been battling sickness and hasn’t been able to work his team’s last two games.

Adam Hill has served as acting head coach. Hill is a former Viking player.

Tonight’s game will be broadcast live by WCEF-FM (98.3) in Ripley with Brian Johnson, Jeff Waybright, and Phil Iman.

WMOV-AM/FM (1360 & 106.7) in Ravenswood will be delivering the game with Heath and Jared Bloxton on the call.

The contest is also slated to be televised live by Stadium (channel 125 on Suddenlink), a sister station to WCHS-TV/WVAH-TV in Charleston, as part of the Par Mar Friday Night Rivals Game of the Week, Presented by Rally’s series.

Due to television, the kickoff is set for 7:36.