Red Devils down White Falcons

MASON, W. Va. — Jayden Rhodes got the Ravenswood Red Devils running…and eventually rolling.

Taking advantage of the smaller Wahama White Falcons, Rhodes racked up 158 yards and a hat trick of touchdowns on 21 carries — and the visiting Red Devils defeated the White Falcons 27-12 in the 2017 football season opener on Friday night inside Bachtel Stadium in Mason.

Ravenswood dominated the second half by outscoring the White Falcons 20-6 — with Wahama’s touchdown by Brady Bumgarner coming with only 12 seconds remaining.

Rhodes, a six-foot, one-inch 204-pound senior, ran right at Wahama — with the Red Devils doing their job along the offensive line.

All three of his touchdowns came in a span of 18 minutes and five seconds in the second half, and went for 41, 17 and 28 yards.

Ravenswood, which rushed for 177 yards on 40 attempts —and part of 219 total yards —amassed 161 of those on 25 totes in the second half, compared to only 16 yards on 15 tries in the first.

Wahama, on the other hand, struggled offensively — punting four times including a pair of three-and-out possessions in the second half.

The White Falcons fumbled five times and lost two of them, including at the Red Devil 12-yard line with just 4:10 to play prior to halftime.

The other occurred right at midfield — and after Ravenswood went up 14-6 almost midway through the third quarter.

The loss snapped Wahama’s two-game winning streak against the Jackson Countians.

“I thought our kids played pretty well and hard as long as they could tonight. I was really concerned in watching film and scouting Ravenswood that they would do what they did in the second half,” said fifth-year Wahama head coach Dave Barr. “They lined up with a heavy offensive set and they are considerably bigger than we are. We knew that would be a problem for us if they got us tired. We’re still pretty light defensively. They came right at us.”

In the second half, the Red Devils did, as Rhodes rushed for 126 yards on 13 carries in the final 24 minutes.

In fact, Ravenswood quarterback Stephen Dawson only attempted two passes in that span —neither of which were part of the first two touchdown marches.

Wahama opened the third quarter by going three-and-out, and Ravenswood dialed up a five-play, 52-yard drive that featured Rhodes covering the final 41 yards on an isolation play up the middle.

Ryan Cunningham, who kicked three extra points, made his second PAT try at the 8:39 mark to make it 14-6.

Following the White Falcons’ fumble on a counter call, the Red Devils drove again —this time running seven plays and 47 yards, with Rhodes running in for the final 17 at the 3:22 point.

Cunningham kicked his third extra point, as Rhodes reached the end zone for the final time over 13 minutes later and from 28 yards away.

“We were in the situation we thought we needed to be in. We scored right before halftime, and for years we have deferred (on coin toss) here and tried to have the ball to open the second half. I felt pretty good if we could get a drive going then we would be in good position. But we struggled offensively in the second half, and once they got rolling with that running game, it’s like being in quicksand,” said Barr. “We couldn’t quite get the field tipped over to our advantage either.”

The White Falcons ran just a dozen plays in the entire third quarter, and rushed for only 30 yards on 17 carries in the entire second half.

Part of the problem was Wahama’s inability to hang on to the football, as they fumbled four times in the final two periods.

“It’s tough trying to get things rolling when you mishandle the ball. We’ve worked hard to be better at that, and we will work hard again this week to improve on that part our game,” said Barr.

Trailing 7-0 at the 5:14 mark of the second stanza, Wahama recovered Ravenswood’s only turnover at the Red Devil 22.

But the White Falcons, on a fumbled snap, gave the ball right back at the 12.

Wahama, however, got its much-needed score right before halftime — when it drove 40 yards in seven plays.

Bryton Grate, the senior quarterback, connected with Coltyn Hendrick for a 21-yard touchdown strike with 1:24 to go.

Grate completed half of his 16 passes for 134 yards, as the White Falcons finished with 117 yards (37 carries) on the ground — including Christian Thomas with 39 yards on 14 carries.

Grate added eight rushing attempts for 36 yards, as Colton Arrington made four receptions for 87 yards.

Both clubs ran off 53 plays from scrimmage, as Ravenswood overcame 10 penalties for 75 yards.

Two of those were false starts on its opening drive, as Luke Jackson returned the opening kickoff 47 yards for the Red Devils to the Wahama 23.

Rhodes rushed for 13 and Dawson slipped a pass to him for another 12, setting up Jake Greene going over from two yards out just six minutes into the contest.

From there, and before the Red Devils’ turnover, the two teams traded punts prior to an exchange of turnovers on downs.

Barr praised his squad’s fight, and said the outcome “is what it is”, but one which can be learned from.

Wahama will host Waterford on Friday for the Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division opener, as the Wildcats —the defending division champions — clawed past Miller 35-25 in week one.

“It’s a loss, but there are a lot of things I can take out of this game with our team and build on,” he said. “I’m looking forward to playing again here next week with Waterford coming in.”

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Wahama’s Christian Thomas (34) carries the ball as quarterback Bryton Grate (3) gives him a block during the White Falcons’ football game against Ravenswood on Friday night at Wahama High School’s Bachtel Stadium.’s Christian Thomas (34) carries the ball as quarterback Bryton Grate (3) gives him a block during the White Falcons’ football game against Ravenswood on Friday night at Wahama High School’s Bachtel Stadium. Paul Boggs|OVP Sports

By Paul Boggs

Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106