Ravenswood begins 100th season with win over Wahama

RAVENSWOOD-Celebrating its 100th season of playing high school football, Ravenswood took advantage of senior Rhys Jelich’s 188-yard rushing performance and a 44-yard punt return for a touchdown by sophomore Hayden Mandrake to top visiting Wahama, 27-6, Friday night at Flinn Field.

“No, I don’t think we were distracted by all of the things going on this week,” head coach Mick Price said. “I think Wahama came here with a pretty solid group of players. The most important thing, however, is that we will be in the left column (wins and losses) when we see the paper tomorrow.”

The victory nearly equaled the 27-0 whitewashing of Belpre in the Red Devils’ first game ever in 1914 except for a 15-yard scoring run by the White Falcons’ Kaileb Sheets with 7:50 remaining in the first quarter.

Ravenswood needed less than five minutes to take the lead for good, however, as Jelich, who completed 9-of-10 passes for 142 yards, hit a wide open Thomas Sturm in the end zone to culminate a 12-play, 65-yard drive. Jelich’s two-point conversion run lifted the hosts into the lead, 8-6, and the visitors would never get any closer.

Jelich was the featured player on the Red Devils’ next drive as the senior rushed twice for six yards and then hit on 2-of-3 passes to Issac Crow for another 32 yards to give the hosts a second-and-10 at the Wahama 32.

On the next play the quarterback/tailback took the snap, side stepped a would-be tackler and then raced 32 yards untouched for his first rushing touchdown of the 2014 season.

Ravenswood looked as if it would tack on another score before the half, but its 16-play drive -which included a fake punt-stalled at the Wahama 7.

“That’s about the only thing that upset me in that first half,” said Price. “I really wanted to get that score before the half because I knew that they (Wahama) were going to get the second half kickoff.”

That didn’t matter, however, as Ravenswood’s defense made some adjustments during the break and held the visitors without a first down until early in the fourth quarter. By that time the Red Devils added a third score when Mandrake picked up a blocked punt by Ravenswood senior Dylan Radabaugh at the White Falcons’ 44 and raced down the visitors’ sideline for the score to make it 21-6.

Senior Ben Johnson closed out the scoring with a 1-yard plunge at the 6:45 mark of the final quarter.

“We were excited to get out here and see what we could do,” said Price. “We made some mistakes and we had to deal with some unexpected situations, but we had kids come in and get the job done.”

Ravenswood travels to Webster County for an important Little Kanawha Conference Class AA showdown next Friday while Wahama will look to get in the win column when it travels to TVC rival Waterford.