RAVENSWOOD-What a difference a year makes.
Second-year Ravenswood head coach Mick Price watched his Red Devils pick up their fifth victory of the year Friday night at Flinn Field-a 42-21 win over Clay County. The victory not only assured the veteran head coach of a non-losing season in 2013, but allowed the Jackson Countians to capture the Class AA division of the Little Kanawha Conference as well as kept their hopes for a playoff berth alive with top ranked (Class A) St. Marys rolling into town next Friday.
"Winning the LKC was one of our goals," Price said. "These kids remember last year. They remember teams dancing and celebrating on our field. They worked hard during the offseason to make sure that that did not happen again this year.
"I can't say how proud I am of these young men and our coaching staff for the way they stuck together through some very tough times. These are tough kids and they deserved this tonight."
It wasn't as easy, however, as the score shows as it would be the Panthers that would light up the scoreboard first when Jordan Lucas culminated an eight-play, 45-yard drive with a 4-yard burst into the end zone with 6:32 showing on the clock.
Clay County, now 2-6 on the season, received the first break of the game when Brandon White recovered a Ravenswood fumble at the Red Devils' 45. Zachary White added the PAT and the Panthers jumped in front of a stunned crowd, 7-0.
Ravenswood wouldn't make the same mistake twice as senior quarterback Heath Burgess hit Isaac Crow on the Red Devils' second play of the ensuing possesssion and the senior wide out went 51 yards for the score to bring the hosts to within one, 7-6, with 5:47 left in the quarter. The try for the PAT was blocked and, for a short time, Clay continued to hold the lead.
It would not last long.
Taking over possession of the football at its own 10 with 2:14 showing on the clock, Ravenswood would need two plays and less than a minute to take the lead for good.
Senior Devon Crews, who finished with 227 yards and three touchdowns on only five carries, brought the crowd to its feet with an 85-yard scoring jaunt on a second-and-5 at the RHS 15. Burgess connected with Thomas Sturm for the two-point conversion as Ravenswood took the lead for good, 14-7.
The Red Devils add edthree more scores during the second 12-minute period on a 65-yard screen pass from Burgess to Rhys Jelich, a 61-yard run by Crews and a 64-yard run by Burgess as Ravenswood took a 35-7 lead to the locker rooms at the intermission.
Both teams found the end zone in the third quarter. Clay County scored first on an 85-yard pass from William Tyler Stewart to Stephen Cole, but Ravenswood answered with a 36-yard scoring run by Crews with four minutes left in the quarter.
Clay tallied the final score of the game on a 2-yard run by Austin Dobbins and a 2-point conversion by Tyler Quinn. But, it would be too little, too late.