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.”
|Written by Akron Beacon Journal Sports Correspondent|
|Thursday, 25 August 2011 19:28|
|League: Portage Trail Conference Metro Division.
Coach: Jim Lunardi, 10th season.
Coach’s record: 55-38.
2010 record: 8-2, 7-0.
Players to watch:
2011 – 2012 Schedule:
Aug. 26 at Tallmadge, 7 p.m.
Sept. 2 at Mentor Lake Catholic, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 Louisville, 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 at Crestwood, 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 Coventry, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 at Springfield, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 Field, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 at Norton, 7 p.m.
Oct. 21 Streetsboro, 7 p.m.
Oct. 28 Kent Roosevelt, 7 p.m.
Original article can be found at: http://www.ohio.com/sports/high-school/ravenna-ravens-1.231404
|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 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 STAFF REPORT|
|Monday, 06 December 2010 00:00|
BEND, Oregon — Drew Bledsoe, chairman of the High School Football Rudy Awards selection committee, has announced the top 50 national semifinalists for the award that is fast becoming known among coaches and communities as a way to honor those players who may not have the stats, but who bring the most heart to the game.More than 12,000 high school football coaches were contacted and invited to nominate the ‘Rudy’ on their team. The winner will receive a $10,000 academic scholarship to a college of their choice. Two runners-up will each receive $5,000, in addition to a fan favorite determined by online voting. A complete rundown of the 50 semifinalists is available at www.HighSchoolRudyAwards.com.
Stephen Wilmington of Ravenna, Ohio was nominated by Ravens’ assistant coach Charles Harris. “Stephen is an all-round man of character and class,” Harris said. “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.” Stephen is one of 50 national semifinalists for the Rudy Award sponsored by Trusted Sports.
Wilmington is a highly motivated individual with incredible initiative and a strong dedication to achieve his goals both academically and athletically.
Tray Waite of Warren, Ohio was nominated by his guardian, Sonja Thompson. “Tray’s mother was killed in a car accident when he was four years old,” Thompson said. “His father made some bad decisions resulting in his being incarcerated. Tray’s grandmother took him in when he was eight. When he was 10 she was diagnosed with colon cancer and died in 2004.
“Needless to say Tray has overcome a lot. Despite these challenges at a young age, he is hungry for success, determined not to be a statistic and is passionate about life.” Waite also carries a 3.8 GPA and is ranked 26th out of a class of over 350 students at Warren G. Harding High School.
Founded by Trusted Sports and Daniel ‘Rudy’ Ruettiger in 2009, this national award is named for college football’s most famous underdog. Known for being “5 foot nothing, 100 and nothin’ with barely a speck of athletic ability,”Ruettiger’s dream of playing football at the University of Notre Dame inspired millions. Likewise, the 50 semifinalists are being honored for their courage and character, and inspirational impact on their teammates and schools.
“Playing in the NFL was an honor, and incredibly rewarding,” said former New England Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe. “It’s also an honor to place the spotlight on these young athletes who are facing inconceivable challenges, yet who soldier on despite the hand they’ve been dealt. Words can’t begin to describe how much respect I have for them all.
“I read the stories of our top 50 High School Football Rudy Award nominees and then I look back at some of the toughest games I played. Even when I was injured, I didn’t have to deal with anything like what these kids have to handle on a daily basis.
The 2010 Selection Committee includes notable sporting personalities such as Leigh Anne Tuohy, mother of Baltimore Ravens player Michael Oher and inspirational figure of the film The Blind Side; Shaun Alexander, former Seattle Seahawks running back and NFL MVP; and NBC Football Sideline Reporter, Andrea Kremer. America can be inspired by the player they feel is a ‘Rudy’ online at www.highschoolrudyawards.com. Online voting continues through December 28, 2010. Since the site’s launch in 2009, nominees have received over 3 million votes.
Original article can be found at: http://www.sportsink.com/NewsDetail/tabid/259/tblNewsID/2570/Default.aspx
The Ravens brought home the PTC Metro Leagues first ever back to back Championship! The team has earned another mark in the record books and has every right to be proud of their accomplishments this year.
Additional Records broken this year include dual backs with more than 1,000 yards rushing; done by DJ Jones and Stephen Wilmington. Trevor Stankavich has earned his spot in the schools record books for most Touch Backs in a given season with 30 Kicks placed in the End Zone with his longest kick a 75 yarder after a 15 yard penalty.
Since the Ravens have joined the PTC Metro League in 2005, the team has won three Titles as League Champions.
|Written by JOHN URCHEK|
|Tuesday, 17 August 2010 00:00|
EDITOR’S NOTE: No. 17 of 31. The following is the 17th of the one-a-day series of local football team previews that SportsInk.com will feature throughout August. This report focuses on the Ravenna Ravens.
RAVENNA, Ohio – Last season, the Ravenna Ravens (8-3, 7-0) won their second Portage Trail Conference Metro Division title in the last three years and also made the Division II playoffs, falling 34-16 to Mentor Lake Catholic in the first round.
In 2010, a deep and experienced senior class will look to help Ravenna become the first team in the PTC’s six-year history to win back to back Metro football crowns, and maybe even get back to the postseason as well.
“The goal for the team is to win the PTC again,” senior running back and strong safety Deiondre Mack said. “(We just need to) keep our swagger we had last year. We have four seniors that left last year, so basically everybody is back.”
Mack gained over 300 all-purpose yards last season while playing behind All-Ohio senior running back Parnell Taylor. Ravena coach Jim Lunardi says that Mack, an All-District Special Mention choice, and a senior class that approaches 20 players deep is a strength of the team.
“This senior class has been together quite a long time,” Lunardi said. “It’s hard to pinpoint one individual over another. I’d like to say it’s a collaborative group.”
Though the Ravens have a lot of returning players back from last season, they lost some significant playmakers as well in Taylor (Youngstown State), all-district quarterback Zach Thomas (Walsh) and all-district lineman Dan McCoy (Baldwin-Wallace ) are all playing on Saturdays this fall.
“Those are three prime spots that we need to fill,” Lunardi said. “The kids are stepping up. When you build a program, that’s what you want.”
Competing for the job of playing quarterback this year are senior Josh Chechak and juniors Matt Thomas and Brandon Holt. Chechak is Ravenna’s only returning player to complete more than one pass last season. Lunardi points to success at all three levels of the Ravens program last season for optimism this year.
“We won the league last year and went to the playoffs, so the kids have that sort of tradition going right now,” Lunardi said.
That pedigree for success that Ravenna has built has the players believing that this year could be just as successful.
“It’s going to be tough, but I believe that we are going to be able to keep up our tradition and compete for a PTC title,” said senior running back/wide receiver Stephen Wilmington, who gained nearly 600 yards on 60 touches last season.
Another key to the Ravens’ success this year will likely be the defense, which dominated PTC Metro competition last season. Ravenna shut out five of its seven divisional opponents and won by an average score of 37-7 last year.
“We try to fit the defense to the particular kids that we have,” Lunardi said. “We don’t try to make it too complex.”
Mack and senior defensive end Xavier Jones are both eyeing big defensive seasons, as both mention goals of making the All-Ohio squad.
“I’d like to win (conference) defensive player of the year,” Mack said.
Jones added, “I’d like to have more tackles and more sacks than anything else.”
Continuity and the ability to play together is Lunardi’s No. 1 one goal for the team this year and what he believes will lead to accomplishing all the other goals.
“I think they need to play together,” Lunardi said. “It’s very important to not have individuals that want to do their own thing. The kids need to want to play together and work together in order to achieve team success.”
Wilmington and his senior teammates believe they have the ability to convey Lunardi’s message to the younger players.
“I believe that all of us seniors have the potential to have the younger kids look up to us,” Wilmington said.
Jones added that he views leadership as the ability to step up when things aren’t going as planned.
“You have to be able to be there when your team is down and be able to fill in when things aren’t going well,” he said.
It’s clear the Ravenna Ravens are prepared to defend their title and make it very difficult for any of the other Metro teams trying to become the conference champion.
NEXT: Cloverleaf Colts.
2010 Ravenna Ravens schedule
(All games begin at 7 p.m.)
Aug. 27 – vs. Tallmadge
Sept. 3 – at Streetsboro
Sept. 10 – at Louisville
Sept. 17 – at Norton
Sept. 24 – vs. Southeast
Oct. 1 – vs. Crestwood
Oct. 8 – at Kent Roosevelt
Oct. 15 – vs. Coventry
Oct. 22 – at Field
Oct. 29 – at Springfield
2009 Ravenna Ravens results (8-3, 7-0 PTC Metro)
Aug. 28 – Louisville 28, Ravenna 0
Sept. 4 – Ravenna 35, Streetsboro 22
Sept. 11 – Canton South 28, Ravenna 19
Sept. 18 – Ravenna 41, Norton 0
Sept. 25 – Ravenna 33, Southeast 0
Oct. 2 – Ravenna 40, Crestwood 0
Oct. 9 – Ravenna 29, Kent Roosevelt 28 (OT)
Oct. 16 – Ravenna 30, Coventry 18
Oct. 23 – Ravenna 39, Field 0
Oct. 30 – Ravenna 47, Springfield 0
Nov. 6 – Lake Catholic 34, Ravenna 16 (state playoffs)
|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 email@example.com
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