PENINSULA — When Woodridge hosted Ravenna Friday at Lahoski Field, the Ravens and Bulldogs both needed a boost.
With Woodridge missing numerous starters due to injury, it was a case of "next man up" for the Bulldogs against a Ravenna team looking to rebound from its first loss of the season.
Four big-play touchdowns from the Jones cousins powered Ravenna to victory, as the Ravens handed Woodridge their first loss in the Portage Trail Conference Metro Division 27-24.
Ravenna improved to 4-0, 1-0 in the Metro Division, while Woodridge remained winless at 0-4.
Ravens coach Jim Lunardi was happy to see his team hand the Bulldogs their first Metro Division loss.
"It’s a team effort. It’s not about any one individual," Lunardi said. "We play for the town of Ravenna and the guys played well tonight.
Woodridge coach Jeff Decker said his team’s effort couldn’t be faulted.
"We were understaffed tonight to begin with, and then our starting nose tackle went down on the third play," Decker said. "The guys went out there and played their tails off except for a couple of mistakes."
The Bulldogs’ defense and special teams helped Woodridge win the field position battle in the first quarter.
That led to Woodridge taking a 3-0 lead after one quarter when Tanner Laughorn hit a 35-yard field goal with 4:41 left in the quarter.
With starting quarterback Andrew Mekeal just coming back from a shoulder injury, Woodridge used senior DJ Snyder and junior Ben Lahoski at quarterback.
Snyder hit Brandon Albright with a 5-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter. Laughorn missed the extra point, but Woodridge had a 9-0 lead.
After getting no first downs in the first quarter, Ravenna took the lead with two long runs fron the Jones cousins.
CJ Jones broke loose for a 63-yard TD run with 10:23 left in the first half.
Not to be outdone, Sonny Ray Jones swept right for a 92-yard TD run with 7:38 left in the half.
Lunardi said he team switched quarterbacks in the second quarter, putting senior Isiah Bradley under center, which loosened up the running game.
"Our offensive felt it would give us a different look," Lunardi said. "Bradley gives us some different tools."
Sonny Ray Jones finished with 158 yard rushing and two touchdowns, while CJ Jones finished with 125 yards and a touchdown.
Woodridge responded when Snyder ran a reverse from the wide receiver spot for 40 yards. Switching to quarterback, Snyder hit Albright for his second touchdown of the quarter for 11 yards out, giving Woodridge a 16-14 lead.
Another long run from Sonny Ray Jones — this time from 45 yards with 6:39 left in the third quarter — gave Ravenna the lead for good at 20-16.
The Ravens then had a big goal-line stop late in the third. After a bad snap on a punt gave the Bulldogs the ball at the Ravenna 5, Ravenna held the Bulldogs out of the end zone and then blocked a 26-yard field goal attempt.
"We’re on the 1 yard line and we can’t score," Decker said. "That was the game right there."
With Woodridge’s offense stagnant in the second half, Decker chose to put Mekeal in late in the fourth quarter. However, Mekeal’s second pass was tipped and intercepted by Sonny Ray Jones, who returned it 26 yards to score with 3:01 left.
Mekeal was able to lead Woodridge on a touchdown drive late, as he hit Hunter Grant with a 4-yard touchdown pass with 1:52 left and ran in the two-point conversion to cut it 27-24.
However, Ravenna recovered the onside kick and was able to run the clock out.