High school football: Price, Ravenswood prepared for No. 1 Wayne
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- At this stage in his coaching and teaching career, there aren't many firsts left for Mick Price to experience.
He'll get a few of them tonight. The first-year football coach at Class AA No. 6 Ravenswood (2-0) will guide his team into his first home game as coach against the top-ranked team in the state, defending state champion Wayne (2-0) at 7:30 p.m.
The Pioneers enter tonight on an 11-game win streak that includes a 34-7 win over Point Pleasant in the 2011 Class AA state championship game. Ravenswood has won 19 of its last 20 home games, and is 26-4 at home in the past five seasons, all under former Coach Dick Sturm.
"That's a good record. For that, we get to open up at home with Wayne. Great," Price said with a laugh this week.
"But seriously, that's the type of team you're going to have to beat. I don't think if you're a competitive team and things are going great that you want to be playing weak opponents and scoring 50 points on them every week, only to get nailed when you play somebody good because you're not ready.
"We want to play these types of games. We've got a lot of young kids and they've done a really good job so far, so what I want to see is, 'Where're you at now?' "
Wayne, who returned all but five players from its title team this season, is led by All-State senior running back Brandon Spurlock's 255 rushing yards on just 16 carries.
Spurlock, who has seen little time in the second half thus far in 2012, has scored a pair of touchdowns and returned a fumble for another score on defense.
Price, who has coached the Red Devils basketball team since 1978 and led them to two Class AA state championships, said Wayne's success lies in the strength of its program throughout the school system.
"That's a program there, not just a team," he said. "It's definitely one of the best in the state, and it's because their JV, freshmen, middle school and on down into Midget League, they all run the same offense and defense. Tommy (Harmon, the Pioneers' coach) does a great job down there."
While youthful, Ravenswood is making some significant gains in Price's first year. Sophomore running back Rhys Jelich has 356 rushing yards and three touchdowns while his backfield mate, fellow sophomore Devon Crews, has picked up 177 yards on 31 carries and scored three times.
Jelich's 249 rushing yards on 22 carries against Roane County last week ranks as the top single-game performance by a sophomore in Ravenswood history.
Ravenswood enters the game No. 4 in the Secondary School Activities Commission ratings, while Wayne is No. 8.
In other games tonight:
South Charleston (1-2) at Class AAA No. 3 Cabell Midland (3-0) - The Huntington area appears to have the market cornered on the wing-T offense run by Wayne and Midland. The Knights have three different backs - Lowell Farley, David Gaydosz and Steven Matthews - with at least 300 rushing yards.
SC counters with a receiving corps equally as deep - Kevin Forrest has 345 yards, Marquel Hampton has 206 and Trevond Reese has 140. This game could be determined by which team is able to better impose its will on its opponent, a similar situation that befell the Black Eagles in a 37-36 loss to Spring Valley last week.
Hurricane (2-1) at Class AAA No. 4 George Washington (2-1) - This game became a red-letter date as soon as Redskins junior running back Zach Pate (359 rushing yards, 348 receiving yards and 8 total touchdowns) was compared favorably by Hurricane Coach Jeremy Taylor to GW senior running back and 2011 Kennedy Award winner Ryan Switzer after Hurricane's 2-0 start. Switzer, who has since returned to GW lineup after missing most of the Patriots' first two games with a concussion, erupted last week for 233 rushing yards and three touchdowns on just 10 carries against St. Albans.
While the match-up between the backs could prove to be a wash, Hurricane junior quarterback Austin Hensley could prove to be a difference maker tonight. Hensley has thrown for 835 yards and 11 touchdowns against two interceptions.
After a sluggish start to the season in which Switzer's presence was sorely missed by GW, Patriots senior quarterback Trevor Bell had his best game of the season a week ago. He has 199 passing yards and three touchdowns this year, and has yet to be picked off.
Princeton (0-3) at Class AAA No. 6 Capital (2-0) - Little has gone right for first-year Princeton Coach Randy Peek, who took over late in the summer when veteran Ted Spadaro suddenly retired. Capital is coming off a bye week, which enabled junior running back James Richmond (12 carries, 145 yards) to heal from an injury suffered against St. Albans two weeks ago.
St. Albans (0-3) at Nitro (0-3) - The last "Battle of the Bridge," as the Henderson Bridge is to be knocked down in a few months. SA has won five straight in the series, the longest win streak for either team in its history. The rivalry has lost some of its appeal to outsiders of late. Since 2007, the programs are a combined 16-70.
Riverside (1-2) at Winfield (1-2) - After going more than a decade without a 1,000-yard rusher, the Generals' Seth Lewis is in a dead heat to make it two in as many years (he has 299 yards). However, Winfield's offense has struggled against more athletic teams, and Riverside - though inexperienced - brings a heap of athleticism to the table.
Class AA No. 9 Scott (3-0) at No. 7 Sissonville (2-0) - See story, Page 1B.
Class A No. 7 Buffalo (1-1) at No. 4 Greenbrier West (3-0) - A contrast of styles is on tap in Charmco, where the Bison look to kick-start their offense against the run-heavy Cavaliers after a lackluster showing in a 20-7 loss at Poca last week.
Poca (2-1) at Chapmanville (1-2) - The Dots' rushing combination of running back T.T. Loudin (391 yards, 4 touchdowns) and quarterback Jake Payne (259 yards, 5 TDs) has kept the clock rolling through much of three games. Chapmanville plays its fourth Cardinal Conference opponent in as many games, although the Tigers have been without senior running back Deshawn Alexander so far. He is expected to miss tonight's game, then make his season debut next week against Logan.
Herbert Hoover (0-3) at Tolsia (1-2) - The Huskies make a second consecutive trip to Wayne County, where the Rebels are coming off a surprising win over previously unbeaten Fairland, Ohio. Hoover lost at Wayne last week, 46-7.
Other games include Lincoln County (0-3) at Ripley (1-2), Roane County (1-2) at Webster County (1-2), Valley (2-0) at Clay County (1-2), Sherman (0-3) at Hannan (1-2), Logan (3-0) at Johnson Central, Ky. (2-1) and Belpre, Ohio (1-2) at Class A No. 1 Wahama (3-0).