CLEVELAND, Ohio – The final score read 13-12, but when John Hay’s players walked off the field following their Division III quarterfinal loss to Ravenna, there were no losers.
“The guys are champions, there is a lot of love on that team,” John Hay coach Rodney Decipeda said. “They have grown together, they have grown as a family and have bonded and that is what is special. There are always two components to the game, one on the inside and one on the scoreboard.
“I told my men we are champions. We won on the inside and while we aren’t on the scoreboard, I couldn’t be prouder. It was a special season.”
Special indeed as John Hay nearly took home the win, when Decipeda went for it all. With 2:15 left in the third quarter, Mylik Mitchell found Deon Colvin for a 31-yard score. It put the Hornets one point away from advancing. The conversion attempt just was out of reach.
It wasn’t always pretty, but playoff football in Ohio is often about who is there at the end to make a play.
Ravenna senior quarterback Kyle Spellman had a rough evening under center, but he was there at the end to secure the win as Ravenna got a 13-12 victory over Cleveland John Hay in a Division III regional quarterfinal contest.
Spellman has had much better statistical performances, finishing just 6-of-16 for 102 yards passing while rushing for 27 yards. The Ravens senior had trouble securing the ball all evening, fumbling twice and getting picked off once.
But with two minutes left in the fourth quarter, it was Spellman who carried the ball four times — and picked up a first down that all but ended a timeout-less Hay’s hopes of a comeback — for 19 yards to seal the victory.
“A team like Kent Roosevelt is going to put the ball in (senior quarterback) Tra Chapman’s hands with the game on the line and we’re going to do that with Kyle Spellman,” Ravenna coach Jim Lunardi said. “Tonight didn’t go (well) for him, but he helped get us here and we trusted him at the end.”
Trailing Miami in the 1984 Orange Bowl, Osborne’s Huskers scored a late TD to cut the Hurricanes’ lead to 31-30. Rather than going for an extra point, however, Osborne elected to go for two points — and the win.
Nebraska QB Turner Gill’s pass attempt was tipped away in the end zone, however, giving Miami the win and the national championship.
The reason I mention this is that Ravenna head coach Jim Lunardi was faced with a similar dilemma in Friday night’s game against Kent Roosevelt.
After QB Kyle Spellman hooked up with Kyle Kornbau for a 16-yard touchdown in the first overtime, Lunardi elected to kick an extra point and send the game into the second OT, rather than go for two and end the game — win or lose — right then and there.
Mogadore, Kent Roosevelt, Aurora and Streetsboro will host Regional Quarterfinal games next weekend, while Ravenna and Woodridge will open playoff action on the road.
The Wildcats (10-0) earned the top spot in Division VI, Region 21, and likely locked up their sixth Associated Press State Poll championship after defeating East Canton 33-12 on Friday to finish the regular season with a perfect 10-0 record. The Cats also captured AP poll crowns in 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985 and 2001.
KENT: The Big R Trophy is returning to Kent on the legs of Tra’Von Chapman.
Chapman ran for 162 yards and four touchdowns, two of them in overtime, as Kent Roosevelt took down rival Ravenna 26-20 in double overtime Friday night.
“It was a heart-racer,” said Chapman, who also passed for 82 yards. “My whole family is here and I think I gave them a couple of spooks. It was a great team win.”
After trailing 13-3 entering the fourth quarter, Ravenna (6-4, 5-2) fought back and forced overtime in the Portage Trail Conference Metro game on junior kicker Ben Morgan’s 24-yard field goal as time expired.
RAVENNA: Kyle Spellman had a memorable Friday night.
At halftime, Spellman, a Ravenna senior, was named homecoming king after returning to play quarterback for the first time since the season opener.
Spellman ran for two touchdowns in the second half and threw for another as the Ravens defeated Norton 39-6 in a Portage Trail Conference Metro Division game on homecoming night at Gilcrest Field at Ravenna Stadium.
Spellman, who unofficially had 56 yards on eight carries and completed 8-of-14 passes for 74 yards, could not stop smiling after the victory and the coronation.
“It felt really nice and [I] had fun most of all. The line blocked well for me and the receivers caught it for me,” said Spellman, who broke the fourth metacarpal on his right hand earlier this season.
As for his ascension to royalty, Spellman said: “It felt real nice. I was real happy.”
It was Ravenna’s Homecoming. Kyle Spellman was the king, and it was his first night at quarterback in six games because of a broken hand suffered in the Ravens’ season-opening victory over Tallmadge.
The night continued to be memorable, as the Ravens (6-2, 5-0 PTC Metro Division) dominated Norton (5-3, 3-2) for a 39-6 win Friday.
“I had fun out there tonight,” said Spellman. “My hand didn’t hurt at all.”
All Spellman did was run for 55 yards, score two touchdowns, and pass for 80 yards on a night that the Ravens didn’t need to pass much.
All night, Ravenna (Ohio) High quarterback Tate Bennett had been off his game. The quarterback finished just 9 for 19 through the air for a grand total of 88 yards. He was also intercepted twice by the Field (Ohio) High defense. In short, he had a truly forgettable game.
Yet, when his career ends, a play from Ravenna’s stunning, come-from-behind, 15-14 victory will almost certainly stand out as his most memorable, as Bennett completed a behind-the-back, over-the-head, desperation pass in the end zone with just 39 seconds remaining in the game.
As you can see in the video from TV2 Kent State University above, the pass was caught for a game-winning touchdown by sophomore Warren Bradley, sending the Ravenna sideline into delirium and the Field players — who thought they had pinned Bennett down for an almost certainly game-ending sack — loitering stunned on a field of bedlam.
Bennett finished 9-for-19 for 88 yards and was intercepted twice by the Field Falcons defense.
None of that matters.
What does matter was perhaps the ugliest pass of the night won it all as Bennett tossed the ball backwards over his head while being sacked with 39 seconds left to go in regulation and it found sophomore Warren Bradley in the end zone to give Ravenna a 15-14 road victory
By Jim Isabella
Special to the Beacon Journal
RAVENNA: Fear is something every coach wants on his side.
Ravenna has Fear and creates fright.
Demetrius Fear and Warren Bradley produced havoc, and the Ravens defeated Coventry 39-14 Friday in a Portage Trail Conference Metro Division game at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Fear, a junior who ran for 171 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries, smiles when asked how often he is teased about his last name.
“People say things to me all the time. I like having the name Fear,” he said.
Bradley, a sophomore, ran for 97 yards on 11 carries with two touchdowns, and said Fear’s running style sets him up. “When Demetrius goes inside, it opens things for me outside,” Bradley said.
The backs compare their running style to two of the recent great Ravens running backs.
“I would say I try to run like Parnell Taylor. … I looked up to him,” Fear said.