Tigers tame Ravenswood in latest loss; Sherman will be next for Red Devils

Mark Martin
Special to Jackson Newspapers

It was a strong finish for Eric Hupp’s Ravenswood Red Devil football team against Wirt County.

Just not strong enough.

Wirt County managed to hang on to the lead it had built early on to knock off the Red Devils, 24-20, inside Ravenswood’s Spano-Taylor Stadium at Flinn Field.

“It got away from us in the first quarter and we couldn’t get all the way back,” said a frustrated Ravenswood head coach Eric Hupp.

Ravenswood dropped to 0-4 with the loss while Wirt County improved to 3-1.

The Devils dealt with fumbling issues early in the game leading to Wirt building its lead.

“Our defense would get a stop and we would fumble,” said Hupp.

The Tigers took the advantage with a 6-yard pass play from Braeden Richards to Dustin Richards in the first quarter.

Richards had a 30-yard TD pass to Kolton Parsons in the second quarter that was followed up by a 40-yard dash to the end zone by Chase Lowe.

Wirt missed on all of its 2-point conversion tries but owned a comfortable 18-0 edge.

Ravenswood managed to slice into the Tiger lead with a 5-yard run by Isaiah Casto, who was being used as a quarterback/running back out of the Wildcat formation for much of the game. Ethan Tanner’s extra point made it an 18-7 count at the break.

After a scoreless third quarter, Ravenswood drew closer on a 15-yard score by Casto with 9:46 to play. Tanner’s kick made it an 18-14 game.

Wirt, though, zapped some of the Devil momentum by stretching the lead to 24-14 on a 30-yard race to the end zone by Parsons. The score came with 7:05 to go in the contest.

Ravenswood came right back with its second score in the span of three minutes when Casto hauled in a 58-yard pass from Jacob Bowling at the 6:37 mark. The extra point was missed leaving the score, which would be the ultimate final, at 24-20.

“We had our opportunities (to pull it out),” said Hupp.

Despite the loss, Hupp saw a lot of bright spots.

“I really feel like this is the first game where we actually battled for four solid quarters,” Hupp said. “Even with the mistakes, we battled to the point where we were back in the game.”

Casto was 7-of-10 passing for 164 yards and the TD. Bowling was 2-of-3 and suffered an interception.

Casto ran the ball 28 times for 191 yards and scored two touchdowns. Wes Hill had 35 yards on four carries. Bowling picked up four yards on three carries.

Ravenswood's Isaiah Casto (11) turned in an outstanding performance in a loss to Wirt County on Friday, Sept. 17. Being utilized in the Wildcat formation, the senior rushed for 191 yards on 28 carries and scored twice. Through the air he was 7-of-10 passing for 164 yards and a touchdown. Ravenswood travels to Sherman Friday night, Sept. 24, in search of its first win.

Hill was the top receiver with three catches for 55 yards. Bowling had two receptions for 67 yards. Shawn Banks had two grabs for 42 and Jaden Sayre snagged a couple for eight.

Defensively, Xavier Rodriguez led the charge with eight stops, including three for a loss. Noah Dawson and Sayre had six each. Ethan Lane had five tackles with four going for a loss. Hill aided in three tackles for a loss. Banks and Zane Balis had four stops each. Lane and Blake Ball recovered a pair of fumbles.

Ravenswood's Blake Ball is show celebrating with teammates following his fumble recovery against Wirt County. The Devils came away with two recoveries on the night against the Tigers in a tough 24-20 loss.

“We just can’t turn it over like we did and expect to stay in the game,” said Hupp. “We will keep working.”

Sherman is next

Ravenswood heads to Seth for its next game to take on a Sherman Tide team that had been rolling before losing to Scott.

Sherman produced wins in its first three games over James Monroe (19-8), Tug Valley (38-14) and River View (35-18) before falling to the Skyhawks.

Sherman gave the Class AA Skyhawks all they wanted in the rivalry game for three quarters.

After trailing by an 18-6 count at halftime, Sherman took the lead with a pair of third quarter touchdowns to take a 20-18 lead heading into the final 12 minutes of play.

A 70-yard TD pass followed by a 70-yard interception return for six turned the tide for the Skyhawks in a 48-20 victory.

“We are getting a good look at them and they are a tough team who will battle you until the end,” said Hupp.

Sherman is under first-year head coach Kevin Buzzard.

“They are a team that likes to run but also do some passing,” said Hupp.

Sherman is led offensively by running back C.J. Winnell, who rushed for 1,000 yards as a junior in 2020.

Another weapon offensively is Colby Buzzard, who is the head coach’s cousin.

Dalton Rollo, a standout basketball player for the Tide, is out for his first year of football and is a threat at wide receiver.

Quarter T.J. Hager, a junior, is in his first year of running the offense at quarterback after playing wide receiver a year ago.

“We had a really tough game with them last year,” said Hupp.

The Tide prevailed by a final of 19-14 in Ravenswood. The game was played on a Tuesday night in the COVID-19 marred season.

“We just have to put it all together and get a win on the road in Seth,” Hupp said.

Devil game notes

Ravenswood leads the all-time series with Sherman, 13-9.

Devil teams have won eight out of the last 10 meetings, dating back to 1993.

Sherman’s football venue in the Boone County community of Seth is named Zontini Field, in honor of the great Zontini brothers.

John Zontini is a member of Marshall’s Hall of Fame, starring in both football and baseball. He later played pro baseball for several years. He was a two-time high school All-American, averaging 27 yards per carry during his playing days. Brother Red played at Tennessee. Brother Louie played at Notre Dame and later in the NFL.

Sherman has a state championship in girls softball, which was captured in 2019.

Another great Sherman High player was the late Terry Spangler, who became a phenomenal coach at Ritchie County and is a member of the Mid-Ohio Valley Sports Hall of Fame.

Terry Spangler starred at quarterback for the Tide, leading them to the AA state championship game in 1975 against Ceredo-Kenova. The Tide's semifinal win was over Doddridge inside Ripley's Memorial Stadium. Spangler later starred at quarterback for Glenville.

Buzzard is an electrician in the mines, rising each morning at 4 and then heading to football practice once his work day is complete.

The game will air live on WMOV-AM/FM (1360 and 106.5) with Heath and Jared Bloxton.