Devil slate features several outstanding programs in 2021

Mark Martin
Running back Isaiah Casto (11) will return this season for the Ravenswood Red Devils. He led the Devils in rushing a year ago.

When one looks at Ravenswood’s upcoming 2021 football schedule, there are loads of familiar names.

And many of those opponents, who will square off with Eric Hupp’s fourth edition of Red Devils, are looking to have outstanding seasons.

Ravenswood was one of a very few West Virginia high school football teams in 2020 to actually play a full 10-game schedule, thanks to COVID-19.

There were additions and subtractions along the way, but the game experience will hopefully be a plus in the coming months for this Devil squad.

Ravenswood head football coach Eric Hupp (middle) will be entering his fourth season at the helm of the Red Devil program in 2021.

The opener will feature Ravenswood on the road Aug. 27. The Devils will journey to New Martinsville for a showdown with Magnolia.

The Red Devil and Blue Eagle programs certainly have a rich past going against each other.

Ravenswood topped Magnolia in the Class AA state championship game of 1972 at Parkersburg’s Stadium Field. In 2010, Magnolia handed the Devils a defeat in the AA title matchup at Wheeling Island Stadium.

In game two of the season, Ravenswood’s home opener will be a Battle of the Devils.

St. Marys will invade Spano-Taylor Stadium at Flinn Field on the evening of Sept. 3.

Jodi Mote’s program was awarded the Class A state championship last season in the COVID-mad season of 2020.

While the majority of playoff games were wiped out a year ago, St. Marys did play two in the postseason. After a cancellation by Wheeling Central in the opening round, St. Marys defeated Midland Trail, 52-49, in a wild affair and then handed Pendleton County a 21-7 setback.

With Ritchie County going red in the color-coded COVID-19 map, St. Marys took the crown.

A trip to perennial power Williamstown will be next up on Sept. 10. While Williamstown earned the No. 6 seed in the Class A playoffs last year, the Yellowjackets were unable to play due to Wood County being shutdown because of the virus.

Ravenswood will return home and host Wirt County Sept. 17. The Tigers were the No. 10-seed in the Class A field of 16 last year and fell in the opener to Ritchie, 16-7.

Sept. 24 has the Devils on the road for a showdown with Sherman at Zontini Field in Seth. The Boone County school will be under the guidance of a new head coach this season in Kevin Buzzard.

Ritchie County will be next for the Devils on Oct. 1 at home.

Rick Haught’s program has been soaring the past couple of years and dealt with the misfortune of not getting to play in the championship against St. Marys last fall.

After beating Wirt County, the Rebels took down a solid Greenbrier West team, 38-29, in the quarterfinals of the playoffs.

The COVID restrictions wiped out Ritchie’s semifinal game after both Tolsia and East Hardy were eliminated when their respective counties, Wayne and Hardy, ran into the COVID restrictions.

Thus, Ritchie automatically moved on to the championship but then those same restrictions prevented Ritchie from going to Wheeling Island Stadium for the state title matchup.

Wahama of head coach James Toth will entertain the Red Devils on Oct. 8.

Next will come a battle with Bobby Burnside’s outstanding Doddridge County program. The Bulldogs earned the No. 3-seed of Class A last year but were beaten in the first round by East Hardy, 25-19.

Buffalo, the opener for Ravenswood last season, will serve as game nine in 2021 for the Devils and it happens on the road Oct. 22.

Brian Batman’s Bison qualified for the playoffs in Class A last year as the No. 12-seed, but couldn’t play against Midland Trail in the opening round because of COVID.

The season finale will be at home against rival Roane County on Oct. 29. Head coach Paul Burdette returns several key players, including two-year starting quarterback Shadraq Greathouse.

All of Ravenswood’s games will start at 7:30 p.m. with the exception of the road contests at Williamstown and Buffalo, which both kickoff at 7 p.m.

Of course, one school missing from the Ravenswood schedule in 2021 is Ripley.

The annual Battle for the Hatchet is off for this season and the foreseeable future. As Jackson Newspapers reported last November, both schools and county administrators decided to halt the year classic for now.

Ripley won last year’s meeting in Ravenswood, 21-0.

Ravenswood competes at the Class A level while Ripley is Class AAA.