|Written by Coach Lunardi|
|Wednesday, 25 August 2010 09:31|
All-State Football Players
1979-1980 Greg Mathews
1982-1983 Jim Klohn
1987-1988 Sonny Jones
1991-1992 Jake Smallfield
1999-2000 Marcus Sanders
2002-2003 Chris Allen
2003-2004 Lamonte Nelms
2007-2008 Roy Davis
2009-2010 Stephen Wilmington
Ravenna Football Players
Where they are achieving a degree and playing football
- Under Head Football Coach Jim Lunardi
Going to College but not for Football:
Going to College but not for Football:
Going to College but not for Football:
Going to College but not for Football:
Going to College but not playing Football:
|Written by Tom Nader|
|Tuesday, 16 August 2011 00:00|
|Xylon Purkiss was one youth that did not get caught up in cable television’s burst of popularity in the early 1990s.
In fact, it was rare for anyone in his family to get stuck in front of the TV for any extended period of time.
“When I was five years old, my uncles and older cousins would tell us that if we wanted to watch TV, then we had to do 25 pushups during the commercials,” Purkiss recalls.
The older family members were not trying to pick on Purkiss, but it was there way of trying to encourage him and his cousins to get outside and get active.
“We never really wanted to watch TV that much, so we would go outside and play football. We did that practically all day, every day,” Purkiss said.
Judging by the gridiron results of Purkiss’ family, playing football all day, every day fits perfectly.
Ravenna High School football dates back to the early 1900s and as you would expect, the program has produced a long list of memorable players.
Incredibly, nearly half of the names associated as all-time greats in Ravenna history all came from Purkiss’ family tree.
Whether it be Paul Campbell, Sonny Ray Jones or Marcus Sanders, Ravenna’s greatest backfield prep stars all branch back to the top of the family tree and Mosella Sanders.
Mosella was the loving mother of 17 children, with her oldest being born in 1953 and the youngest born in 1977. She lived to be over 100 years old.
Purkiss, who was born in 1988 and is one of Mosella’s great grandchildren, remembers her as one of the nicest woman he has ever known.
“She was very soft spoken, but knew how to get your attention and she really was very compassionate,” said Purkiss.
Dating back to the early 1970s, the Ravenna football program has almost annually starred one of her 17 children or large group of grandchildren and now great grandchildren.
The first name of note that leaps out from the pages of the past is Paul Campbell, who played for Ravenna from 1972-75 and went on to star at Ohio State.
From there, the names come fast and furious, just as the players seemingly were on the football field.
Robbie Jones, Sonny Ray Jones, Michael Coney, Craig Wilmington, Marcus Sanders, Damien Fortson, Jamiran Mack, Deiondre Mack, Paige Williams, Marvin Sanders, Jonathan Davis, Stephon Sanders, Xavier Jones, Roy “Bam” Davis, Blayre Davis, Stephen Wilmington, Roosevelt Wagner, Ryan Wagner, D.J. Jones and Purkiss are just the beginning of the list of Ravenna standouts from the same family tree.
The family holds every rushing and scoring record in the history of Ravenna football.
Marcus Sanders is the name that sits next to most, but Sonny Ray Jones holds the record for most yards in a single game at 445 and Blayre Davis most recently set the mark for most touchdowns in a single game with seven.
“It is really something for our family to be proud of. That we have created such a special football legacy at Ravenna that dates back 40 years,” Purkiss said.
The running joke inside the family is that players better work to get good, because they know they will be competing against three or four of their cousins to be Ravenna’s starting running back.
To reach that level, toughness, along with love and respect for the game are preached from day one, which oftentimes showcases backyard football battles to build players up.
And in some cases to break them down, so they can be built back up and made stronger mentally.
Purkiss tells of backyard games that feature 20 players on each team — all family members.
Entering his senior season with Ravenna this season, running back D.J. Jones got his start in these competitive matchups.
“Marcus (Sanders) was a senior and D.J. was out there playing with us. He had to be in only the second or third grade,” said Purkiss, who said the same group can be found together on Sundays at the United Church of Jesus Christ on Terrill St. in Ravenna. “We knew right away, though, that he was going to be a good player.”
Playing against cousins older than him by double digits, Jones naturally was a bit timid in a game a full-tackle football. He quickly learned how to set up his cuts off the backs of blockers and has been tormenting opposing defenses in real-time games ever since. He rushed for nearly 1,500 yards last season, splitting carries in the backfield with his cousin Stephen Wilmington, who also nearly hit the 1,000-yard mark.
Sharing time in the backfield with family is nothing new.
During Purkiss’ senior season, the entire Ravenna backfield include family members. Purkiss was the team’s starting fullback, with Paige Williams at tailback and Marvin Sanders under center as the quarterback.
Just a couple years later, it was the trio of Jonathan Davis, Blayre Davis and Roy “Bam” Davis that were a blur coming out of the backfield for the Ravens.
“No one in our family cares about who got the ball when. We just always want to win,” said Purkiss, who alongside Paige Williams, return to Ravenna this season as assistant coaches on Jim Lunardi’s staff.
The friendly family competition leads family legend Marcus Sanders to say, “I cant’ wait until one of them breaks my records. I want them to. I really do.”
After Jones completes his senior season in 2011, the Ravens varsity program will likely be without someone from the family for the next three years.
However, the absence will not be permanent for a family that will be forever linked to Ravenna football.
|Written by JOHN URCHEK|
|Monday, 01 August 2011 00:00|
Ravenna senior leaders, from left, running back D.J. Jones, offensive lineman Matt Benson and linebacker/fullback Dylan Tirpak enter the 2011 season looking to win their third straight PTC Metro title and make the postseason for the fourth time in five seasons.
SportsInk.com 2011 Football Camp Report
Affiliation: Division III, Region 9
Coach: Jim Lunardi, 10th season (55-38)
2010 Record: 8-2, 7-0 PTC Metro Division Champions
Returning Starters: 8 on offense, 7 on defense
Playoff appearances: 2009, 2008, 2007, 1999
Players to watch:
Strengths: Senior tailback D.J. Jones (165 carries, 1,388 yards, 16 touchdowns) returns to lead an offense that averaged nearly 300 yards per game on the ground last season. … The Ravens are an experienced bunch who are quickly becoming one of the most decorated programs in the area in recent years with three league titles and three playoff appearances in the last four years. Ravenna also returns last season’s leading tackler in inside linebacker Dylan Tirpak, who had 102 tackles last season.
Weaknesses: Replacing two first-team PTC Metro Division defensive linemen and two first-team PTC Metro Division defensive backs won’t be easy for Ravenna. Not to mention the Ravens are introducing a new defensive scheme that will hopefully minimize holes in coverage that were problematic in 2010. Replacing Stephen Wilmington’s lightning to Jones’ thunder from last season’s offense won’t be easy. Ravenna also needs to develop a more consistent passing attack to balance its potent running game.
Coach’s comment: “We have a lot of great opponents this season. So it will be tough to compete with everybody, but we hope with hard work we can be back where we’ve been the last few years in the races.”
Notes: Despite sweeping through the PTC Metro Division last season, the Ravens were passed over in the Division II, Region 5 playoff race for arch rival and fellow league member Kent Roosevelt, giving Ravenna extra motivation coming into this season.
Now in Division III, Region 9, the Ravens should once again be a factor when it comes time to settle the league championship and the playoff race. A Week 10 matchup with the Rough Riders could decide the postseason and league fate for both teams.
2011 Schedule: (All games start at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted)
Original article can be found at: http://www.sportsink.com/259/3751/ravenna-football-looks-to-defend-ptc-crown-make-playoffs/Default.aspx
|Written by Coach Harris|
|Thursday, 03 February 2011 18:48|
|Ravenna standout running back Stephen Wilmington (seated center) signs a national letter of intent to continue his football and academic career at Lehigh University, a Division I-AA School, in the Patriot League. Looking on from left to right are Ravenna head football coach Jim Lunardi, Stephen’s mother Kendra Wilmington and his dad Craig Wilmington. Stephen was named the Portage Trail Conference Metro Division’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2010.|
|Written by Tom Nader|
|Tuesday, 21 December 2010 00:19|
|Daniel Ruettiger is simply known around the world as “Rudy.”
His inspirational fight to make his way onto the football field at the University of Notre Dame turned into a true story movie that won the hearts of millions with an underdog tale of a lifetime.
Ravenna’s Stephen Wilmington is not known around the world yet, but he has already found himself in the same breath as Ruettiger.
Wilmington, who is a multi-sport standout for the Ravens, is currently a national semifinalist for the Rudy Award. The national honor is given to a high school football player that honors their courage, character and inspirational impact on their teammates and school. Originally nominated by Ravenna football assistant coach Charles Harris, Wilmington has captured the respect of not only his coaching staff, but his peers.
“Stephen is an all-around man of character and class,” Harris said in his letter to the Rudy Award selection committee. “It does not matter if he is on the football field, weight room, in the classroom or in the community, he inspires fellow classmates and teammates to do their best and to give their best by leading through example.”
Nationwide nominations were accepted on Sept. 27 and totaled 250. Through fan voting, Wilmington has become one of 50 semifinalists that were announced on Nov. 30. His chance to become one of 12 finalists will be determined on Dec. 28.
“It was an honor to know that the coaches recognized my leadership and potential to continue to be a good person,” Wilmington said.
It was not just the coaches, though, that Wilmington had an impact on.
“I’ve had people from all grades come up to me in the hallway during school and tell me that they have voted for me,” he said. “It feels special to know that I have had an impact on so many people and have the whole school supporting me. It is a real honor.”
The top four recipients will receive scholarship money, with the No. 1 winner receiving $10,000. If Wilmington places in the top four, he would be invited to the award ceremony in Atlanta on Feb. 11.
Ruettiger was know for being “5-foot nothing, 100 and nothing with barely a speck of athletic ability.”
Wilmington is 6-foot, 190 pounds with a never-ending amount of athletic ability.
Wilmington finished the 2010 season with 1,043 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns and was also named the Portage Trail Conference Metro Division Defensive Player of the Year after totaling 53 tackles and four interceptions for the division champion Ravenna Ravens.
The stats validate Wilmington on the field, but it is what he does off the field that validates him as a good person.
“The first words that come to mind when I think of Stephen Wilmington is that he defines the word leader,” Ravenna football head coach Jim Lunardi said. “Stephen is loyal and trustworthy on and off the field.
“Stephen is organized, and he has his priorities straight,” Lunardi said. “He achieves high levels of success in the classroom and is a true student-athlete. He is passionate and focused for what he is involved with at the time.”
Wilmington’s development into a good person is not something that happened just this year. It has been a lifelong trek that has been fostered by his parents.
“My parents always taught me to help anyone that needed it no matter what,” Wilmington said. “They prepared me to be successful and showed me how to be a leader, how to help others and how to be unselfish.
“Helping others really is the best feeling,” he said. “Knowing you can have a positive impact on someone other than yourself is a gift.”
All of which has gained Wilmington recognition outside the world of sports.
“Stephen always puts others first before himself,” Lunardi said. “I made one mistake years ago in coaching and learned to never put someone at the helm of our football team if I couldn’t trust him with my two children. Stephen is well trusted and well respected by all.”
Voting for Stephen Wilmington can be done at www.highschoolrudyawards.com
Contact Tom Nader at firstname.lastname@example.org
Original article can be found at: http://recordpub.com/news/sports_article/4951207
|Written by R-C Staff|
|Tuesday, 30 November 2010 00:00|
|During the 2010 high school football season, the Ravenna Ravens won their third league title in four years, while the Kent Roosevelt Rough Riders qualified for the state playoffs for the second time in three years.
Those types of quality team accomplishments are not achieved without top-notch individual players.
Those players from both Ravenna and Kent Roosevelt were recognized on Monday when the Division II All-Ohio teams were released.
Leading the way on the All-Ohio First Team were Kent Roosevelt junior offensive lineman Ryan Anderson (6-foot-4, 300 pounds), senior quarterback Evan Shimensky (5-11, 180), along with Ravenna senior Stephen Wilmington (6-0, 190). Wilmington was a two-way star for Ravenna. He did a little bit of everything and did it at the highest standard.
Defensively, Wilmington was a defensive back and on offense he was a running back, but also took snaps as quarterback. He was named the PTC Metro Division Player of the Year.
Meanwhile, Shimensky was named the PTC Metro Division Offensive Player of the Year.
Additionally, Ravenna junior D.J. Jones and senior Greydon Pavlik, along with Kent Roosevelt senior Joey Bradley also made the All-Ohio team as Special Mention selections.
Original article can be found at: http://www.recordpub.com/news/sports_article/4939683?page=0
|Written by Coach Harris|
|Tuesday, 02 November 2010 15:09|
|The Ravens have racked up a number of spots on the State Leaders Board offensively and defensively in Division II according to Stats on www.MaxPreps.com
Written by Coach Harris
Monday, 01 November 2010 00:00
Defensive Player of the Year: Stephen Wilmington
Coach of the Year: Jim Lunardi
OLine- Matt Benson, Greydon Pavlik
H Back – Josh Chechak
RB – DJ Jones
Punter – Kyle Harris
Place Kicker – Trevor Stankavich
D Line – Nick Winn
D Line – Xavier Jones
LB – Dylan Tirpak
DB – Deiondre Mack
OL – Auston Reaser
DL – Mark Rodriguez
LB – Ricardo Meija
DB – Brandon Holt
Chris Sanders and Matt Thomas
Picture of the 2010 Senior class, taken by Scott Kyer
From: Yost, Kristofer ENS [mailto: email@example.com ]
Sent: Monday, September 29, 2008 2:33 AM
To: Charles Harris
Subject: RE: Ravens Football
Thanks for the newsletter. As you know it is very easy to lose touch with what is going on back home when your gone and the email brightened up my morning. I was wearing one of my old Ravens shirts to PT the other morning and as luck would have it there is a crew member who graduated from Roosevelt in 1987. I heard you were playing Kent this week and I informed of that and since then we have been reminiscing about great Kent/Ravenna games and arguing about which school has had the best overall team through the years. Needless to say, this rivalry lasts long after you graduate and make sure you inform the guys of that. Whenever I see some of my friends Kent we still talk about that one game a year to this day.
Good luck this week! Make sure you let me know the outcome so I can go talk smack to my fellow shipmate. Again, thanks for the letter and good luck!
Send Coach Lunardi my best.
Cory had looked at 9 different colleges for football.
Cory was actively recruited by 7 college coaches.
John Snell, 7th year heacd coach at Baldwin-Wallace College called Cory every week for five months.
Cory will attend Baldwin-Wallace as a punter/kicker and will be replacing 3 time division III All American punter Kevin Soflkianos. Soflkianos was also the national punting champion twice during his career at Baldwin-Wallace for division III and has had try outs with the Jets and Browns this spring.
Cory also plans on playing for the Baldwin-Wallace College Yellow Jackets baseball team as a pitcher and outfielder.
Cory had a very difficult choice to make from the 7 colleges
All of the schools offered many good opportunities..
Cory picked Baldwin-Wallace based upon their degree offerings and interships opportunities