By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
Mother Nature did not get the message.
Thursday was supposed to belong to the Kent Roosevelt and Ravenna football teams.
For a moment, the night did belong to the Rough Riders and Ravens.
Then, at halftime, a storm that produced rain and lightning positioned itself over Ravenna’s Portage Community Bank Stadium.
It was enough to force the cancellation of play on Thursday. An announcement that was made just after 9:30 p.m. after a delay that lasted 70 minutes.
The game is scheduled to restart on Saturday at 4 p.m. in Ravenna. With the schedule change, the junior-varsity matchup between the two teams, which was originally scheduled for Saturday, is now canceled.
The first half did deliver some excitement.
A back-and-forth game reached the intermission with the Rough Riders holding a 21-14 lead.
Ravenna got on the board first with a 46-yard run by Daniel Sanders at the 5:27 mark of the first quarter. Mikey Myers hit the extra point to give the Ravens a 7-0 lead.
Kent Roosevelt responded early in the second quarter when Matt McCann recovered a fumble at the Ravens’ 16.
That turnover quickly turned into points for the Riders, when Jaiden Portis took a handoff on a read-option play raced into the right corner of the end zone to tie the game 7-7.
Ravenna jumped back out in front 14-7 on another run from Sanders. This one coming from 4 yards out, with the senior runner reaching the goal line after a couple of elusive sidestep moves.
Roosevelt tied the game by scoring off another turnover, which became a recurring theme in the first half. The Ravens put the ball on the turf, after a big-chunk run, when Jaden Dennison punched the ball loose and it was picked up by Anthony Helton.
Riders quarterback Jack Smith then launched a 51-yard completion to Tyler Ellington that set up a 10-yard touchdown strike from Smith to Lincoln Wade to knot the score at 14-14 with 1:29 to play in the second quarter.
Good clock management allowed the Riders one more score before halftime.
Roosevelt was able to force a punt out of the Ravens, who are set to receive the second-half kickoff.
With time ticking under 1 minute to play in the first half and the Riders facing a third-and-5, Smith dropped back and aired out a ball. It traveled 55 yards in the air and out-threw the Ravens’ secondary, allowing Portis to get back behind four different Ravenna defensive backs to haul in a 54-yard pass, in stride, at the 5-yard line and into the end zone with 21 seconds left in the second quarter.
The score put Roosevelt up 21-14, which is where the game will pick back up on Saturday afternoon.
Smith threw for 232 yards in the first half and completed 13-of-20 passes. Roosevelt ran the ball just nine times.
Ravenna’s first-half offense was led by its ground game, with 23 of the team’s 24 plays being run plays.
Sanders carried the ball nine times for 87 yards, Austin Marshall had eight carries for 16 yards and Bobby Melzer ran for 16 yards in five attempts.