Ravenswood High School Red Devil Football Hall of Fame welcomes a class of football stars

Mark Martin
Special to Jackson Newspapers

A who’s who class of Ravenswood football greats will be honored when Ravenswood closes out the 2021 campaign against the Roane County Raiders inside Spano-Taylor Stadium at Flinn Field.

The sixth class of Ravenswood High School Red Devil Football Hall of Famers is a collection of stars any coach would love to have in building a team.

Those to be recognized range from the late 1960s into the season of 2014.

Three of the players — Ron Foose, Mike Workman and Steve Seagraves — excelled on the 1972 Class AA state championship team of head coach Fred Taylor.

Two others — Bob Searls and Bob Snyder — were instrumental in leading Taylor’s Devils to another Class AA crown four years later in 1976.

In addition, Tim Ambro and Mike Winter, a pair of standouts from the late 1960s, are a part of the sixth class of inductees.

Bill Sinnett, who was a solid performer for the Devils in the mid-80s, is a part of this outstanding group.

Others joining are three players who donned a Devil uniform in the 2000s and were known for their play-making abilities in Luke Murray, Jeremy Lawrence and Rhys Jelich.

The Class of 2021 will be introduced and honored prior to the kickoff against the Raiders.

Here is a thumbnail sketch of each Devil inductee:

Tim Ambro — Wearing jersey No. 81, Ambro was a co-captain for Taylor’s 1967 squad. The Devils ended the season with a fabulous 9-1 record and just missed the playoffs by finishing third in Class AA during a time when only two teams qualified for the postseason. He caught 24 passes that season with six going for touchdowns. He holds the single-game record for TD catches with four against Calhoun County.   

Mike Winter — As a senior in the season of 1969, Winter, who wore No. 41, was a true leader for the Red Devils as both the top ground gainer and scorer. He saved his best for last in a Devil uniform with a pair of huge touchdowns against Ripley in an 18-7 upset of the Vikings. Winter scored on a 72-yard run in the game and took a pass to the house on a play covering 63. Defensively, he turned in a key interception. The win ended Ravenswood's season at 7-3 and knocked Ripley out of playoff contention. The win over the Vikings started what would be a record string of eight consecutive victories in the Hatchet series. Winter earned Class AA All-State Honorable Mention that season.

Ron Foose — It’s hard to say who was the best player on the 1972 state title team, but Foose would certainly be in the conversation. He was a two-way starter at the end positions for the Devils and was a vital cog in that magical 12-0 campaign.

During playoff wins over Ceredo-Kenova and Magnolia, Foose came up with several big stops and sacks on the defensive side of the ball. He was the team’s top pass catcher that year, snagging 21 receptions for 379 yards and seven touchdowns while wearing No. 80. Foose, who was a Class AA First Team All-State pick, played college football and baseball at both Fairmont and West Virginia State.

Steve Seagraves — The late Bob Staats, who served many years as sports editor for The Ravenswood News, nicknamed Seagraves “Big Sea” No. 81, was certainly a big-time player as an offensive and defensive end. He caught 17 passes in the 1972 season and is well-remembered for his sensational blocking ability, which allowed Ravenswood’s outstanding backfield to break loose for long runs time and time again. On the prevent side of the ball, he came up with some big sacks in the undefeated season, including the two playoff encounters. He served in the Air Force after high school. Seagraves was on a Tyndall Air Force football team that captured the all-base title.

Mike Workman — His name says it all. Battling on both sides of the ball, Workman gave it a workman-like effort each and every time Ravenswood took the field. In that 12-game season of 1972, Workman helped open holes for a wishbone formation backfield featuring quarterback Joe Fox, fullback Gary Roark, running back Dennis Miller and running back Alan Hall that amassed over 3,000 yards. Defensively, Workman came up with 93 tackles his senior year to lead the way. He had a key interception in the state title game against Magnolia. Workman, who wore No. 66, garnered Class AA First Team All-State honors that season and later played college football at Fairmont State.

Bob Searls — Staats labeled Searls with the nickname “Zonk” during his playing days, a spinoff from the Miami Dolphin great Larry Csonka. Ravenswood’s version of “Zonk” was a hard-runner and tenacious blocker from his fullback position on offense and a hard-nosed linebacker on defense. He was well-known for picking up tough yards when Ravenswood was gunning for a first down in the 1976 season. When those situations occurred, Ravenswood fans chanted his name. He would come up with 25 first down runs that year while rushing for 791 yards and scoring 10 touchdowns. He was part of dynamic backfield that include Greg Keffer and James Morgan, two more Hall of Famers. Searls, who proudly wore No. 42, scored the first TD in the state championship victory over Big Creek.  

Bob Snyder — When one speaks of Snyder the word “consistency” is a part of the conversation. He was rock-steady as an offensive lineman and linebacker for the Red Devil championship team of 1976. He was one of those helping to open the huge holes for the talented backfield trio of Keffer, Morgan and Searls along with protecting another Hall of Famer in quarterback Mark Holley. Wearing jersey No. 66, Snyder made 93 tackles as a senior and recovered five fumbles. He had eight fumble recoveries for his career, which ranks second on the all-time list. Following high school, he accepted an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point, graduating in 1981. In 2007, he retired as a colonel. He retired as chief of staff for the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2017.

Bill Sinnett — A key member along the offensive and defensive lines, Sinnett gave his heart and soul to Devil football during his career. He wore No. 52 and finished his days in a Ravenswood uniform with 97 tackles. He played on the 1984 squad, which finished with a record of 8-2. Ravenswood closed the season with a 17-9 win over Ripley. In 1982, Sinnett returned a tipped pass for a touchdown against Wirt County. After high school, Sinnett played football at West Virginia Wesleyan.

Luke Murray — Whether it was offense or defense, Murray was as talented as they come while competing for the Red Devils. He picked off nine passes in the season of 2009, which places him in a tie for first with Josh Miller, also a member of the Red Devil Hall of Fame. During his days as a Devil while wearing No. 3, Murray came up with 16 interceptions. He displayed great pass-catching abilities on the offensive side as well by hauling in 58 career receptions for 968 yards. Along the way, he finished with six touchdowns. In the season of 2008, he averaged 36 yards on punt returns and took one back for a TD. Murray was a Class AA Second Team All-State defensive back in 2009 under Hall of Famer Dick Sturm.

Jeremy Lawrence — One has to wonder what Lawrence might have done in the season of 2011 had he not dealt with a severe injury. No. 21 played the bulk of the year with a dislocated elbow, which required a full cast for protection. Many would have called it a year due to the injury, but not Lawrence. He led the Devils in both scoring and receiving that season. His 132 points broke a 55-year scoring mark, set by the great George Kopsack. Not only did Lawrence contribute mightily on the offensive side, but also for the Devil prevent unit. His 18 career interceptions are tied with Hall of Famer Mike McCorkle for No. 2 on the all-time list. Lawrence earned Class AA All-State honors as a defensive back in 2011 under Sturm and later competed in football at West Virginia Wesleyan.

Rhys Jelich — The son of one of Ravenswood’s all-time greats, Rhys Jelich lived up to the name. A talented all-around performer during his days as a Red Devil, Jelich, the son of Hall of Famer Joe Jelich, scored 314 points during the span of 2011-2014. As a senior under head coach Mick Price, Jelich put together an outstanding performance for the ages in a 42-41 playoff win at Bluefield inside historic Mitchell Stadium. He passed for 324 yards and three scores while rushing for 213 and finding the end zone on three more occasions. He collected 274 tackles while wearing No. 2. Jelich, who enjoyed playing alongside his twin brother, Connor, during his high school days, went on to compete at the collegiate level for West Virginia State University.