FROM STAFF REPORTS
After a disappointing season in 2013, Aurora's next opponent -- the Ravenna Ravens -- are looking for respectability. However, a win might not come until Week 3 depending on this Friday's outcome.
The Ravens are coming off a 31-20 loss to Tallmadge. The Greenmen easily handled the Portage County seat team 41-14 last fall and 37-21 two years ago.
"We are not used to being 2-8 [last year's record], so there is nowhere to go but up," said Ravenna's 13th-year head coach Jim Lunardi about last year's struggles. It was the worst mark in Lunardi's head coaching tenure.
"I can say this about the kids on our team -- they come to work and they work hard," he said. "They want to win and they want to get back on the winning track. They do not want to be that class that has a losing record.
"If they get beat, it will be because the opponent was a better team, not because they outworked us."
Ravenna had five major knee injuries to key starters and some other unfortunate injuries last season. They lost three games on the last possession and played the toughest non-league schedule in the Portage Trail Conference.
Junior Derek Cross is Ravenna's starting signal-caller for the second straight year, and the Ravens also have senior tailback Warren Bradley back. The latter gained more than 1,500 yards last year.
Bradley reportedly has the potential to be the PTC Metro Division's player of the year.
Ravenna suffered a tough loss on its offensive line when Zac King (6-foot-6, 310 and a three-year starter) injured his knee in a summer camp. He likely will miss most, if not all, of the season.
A key returnee on defense is senior linebacker Brendon Winning, who led the team in tackles last year and was the defensive MVP.
"It was a tough year for us, the coaches, the kids and even the community, but we survived and we'll be ready this year," said Lunardi. "We have a varsity roster of 41 guys who really want to win."