Ritchie County hands Ravenswood a loss at Homecoming game; Red Devils go to Wahama Oct. 8

Mark Martin
Special to Jackson Newspapers

A tall task stood in the way of Ravenswood’s football team on Friday night, Oct. 1, in the form of the Ritchie County Rebels.

The Rebels are not only rated as one of the best in the state but entered looking to bounce back from a tough double-overtime loss at the hands of Doddridge County.

Rick Haught’s crew managed to wipe out that bitter taste of defeat to the Bulldogs in handing Ravenswood a sixth straight loss of the season.

Ritchie left with a 53-28 victory in what was the annual Homecoming game for Ravenswood football inside Spano-Taylor Stadium at Flinn Field.

The loss left Ravenswood at 0-6 for the year.

“We played a really good football team,” said Red Devil head coach Eric Hupp. “You just can’t make the mistakes we made and expect to come out on top.”

Penalties were among the issues for the Devils according to Hupp.

Ritchie took a lead it would own the entire game at the 8:27 mark of the first quarter on a 1-yard run by Brandon Riddle. A 2-point conversion try was no good leaving the county at 6-0.

Disaster struck in the special teams area on Ravenswood’s ensuing offensive possession. A shanked punt was easily returned 12 yards by Riddle for a TD. A successful 2-point run by Seth Hardy lifted the Rebel lead to 14-0.

Marlon Moore added a third TD in the opening quarter for Ritchie on a 5-yard run.

Down 20-0, Ravenswood managed to crack the scoring column before the first quarter was in the books on a 34-yard run by Isaiah Casto, who returned to the Devil lineup after missing a good chunk of the previous game with Sherman. Ethan Tanner booted the extra point to make it a 20-7 Ritchie advantage.

Ravenswood senior running back Isaiah Casto (11) races in from 34 yards out for Ravenswood's first touchdown in a Homecoming game loss to Ritchie County.

Any hope of Ravenswood clawing its way back into the contest after that score was dashed in the second quarter of play. The Rebels scored three more touchdowns.

A blocked punt led to an Austin Bartlett TD at the 8:42 mark of the second. Quarterback Ethan Haught would hit Bartlett on a 5-yard pass play at the 5:29 mark of the quarter.

Down 34-7, Ravenswood managed its second TD of the game on an 18-yard run by Casto followed with Tanner splitting the uprights once again.

With just 18 seconds to go in the half, Moore gave Ritchie more points by scoring on a 14-yard run. The Rebels headed to the break leading by 40-14 count.

After the high-scoring first and third quarters, Ritchie delivered the only TD in the third on a 9-yard run by Bodhi Utter. The extra point was blocked by the Devils.

Ritchie’s final score of the game was produced by Hardy, who slipped in from a yard out. The extra point by Ayden Sellers made it a 53-14 score.

Ravenswood showed grit with two fourth quarter scores as quarterback Jacob Bowling hit Shawn Banks on a 50-yard scoring play. Bowling later connected with Wyatt Milhoan for a 36-yard TD. Tanner booted both extra points.

Bowling was 5-of-9 passing for 106 yards and the two touchdowns. He suffered one interception. Wes Hill was 7-of-12 in the air for 86 yards.

Seven different players caught passes for the Devils. Banks snagged three for 80 yards, including the TD. Noah Dawson hauled in three for 41. Bowling had two for 20. Milhoan had the 36-yard TD reception. Hill had one catch for 10 yards. Casto had a reception for five and Xavier Rodriguez caught one for no gain.

Casto carried 13 times for 40 yards. Hill picked up 23 on 10 carries. Banks gained five yards on one carry.

Jaden Sayre and Lodan Hess were the tackling leaders with seven stops each. Brandon Bragg had six tackles while Rodriguez and Brett Parsons each registered five.

Banks recovered a fumble in the contest while Tyce Price picked off a pass.

“We just gave them a short field all night long,” said Hupp. "I think their average starting position was the Ravenswood 35-yard line."

The Devil head coach knows his team will keep battling despite the winless start to the campaign.

“It’s frustrating because this is just a much better team than people are seeing,” he said. “These kids are working hard.”

Wahama is next

Ravenswood heads less than an hour away to Mason for a showdown against the Wahama White Falcons in game seven of the season.

James Toth’s crew will enter at 2-3 on the year.

One of the Wahama losses was a wild 50-48 shootout against Ritchie.

“They can put some points on the board from what I’ve seen,” said Hupp of his team’s next opponent.

Wahama lost its season opener to West Muskingum, Ohio by a 52-12 score.

Next came a 40-20 defeat at the hands of the Gilmer County Titans.

The Ritchie loss left the White Falcons at 0-3.

They have since picked up back-to-back wins against Tolsia by a final of 37-20 and Hundred, 46-0.

“We are going to see a lot of jet sweeps and misdirection plays,” Hupp said.

“Our concentration is going to be staying at home. We’ve got to make sure our defensive ends step up and do their jobs.”

In its win over Hundred, Wahama had eight different players score touchdowns. The White Falcons piled up close to 500 yards of offense on the ground.

William McCallister was the team’s leading rusher. He just missed a 90-yard night by gaining 86. He picked up those yards on just four carries.

Hupp knows the mission as the season moves along is for his team to head into each game with the mindset of begin 0-0.

Worrying about the first six game is something they can’t do with four left on the schedule.

He just wants his team to keep hammering away and clean up the mistakes.

If so, he feels success will come.

Red Devil football notebook

Ravenswood football player Andrew Francis, a senior lineman, was selected Mr. Red Devil during Friday night’s ceremony. Lydia Alfred was Miss Red Devil.

Former Ravenswood High football standout Jim Mahan was the grand marshal of this year’s parade. Mahan was the program’s first two-time All-Stater, earning Class AA honors in 1977 and 1978. He was the lone sophomore starter on the 1976 state championship team. Mahan’s driver for the parade was long-time Red Devil head coach Mick Price.

Ravenswood leads the series, 36-24-3.

The Devils have won three in a row.

Ravenswood owns the longest win streak in the series at nine (1961-70).

Ravenswood won an epic 3-overtime game in 1996.

Toth is a Man High School graduate.

Wahama’s football program has played for two state titles, winning it all in 2012 under Ed Cromley.

Wahama’s girls softball team captured the Class A state title this past June going a perfect 27-0.

Baseball has also been a successful sport at Wahama with four titles being claimed down through the years.

The Friday, Oct. 8, game will air live on WMOV-AM/FM (1360 and 106.5) with Heath Bloxton and Jared Bloxton on the call.