CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The season hasn't been so memorable for Ravenswood, but one player will definitely leave his mark on the Red Devils program when he leaves the field following Friday's final game against Ripley.
Senior linebacker Brad Titus could own just about every significant tackle record at Ravenswood - which is saying a lot, because the list of all-state defensive players at the Jackson County school is a long and distinguished one, including names like Joe Jelich (who played at WVU in the 1970s) and former Marshall standout (and current Cabell Midland coach) Luke Salmons.
Titus needs 11 tackles against the Vikings to break the one record he doesn't already hold - that of 148 tackles in a season, currently held by Jonas Jelich three years ago, that coming in 12 games.
In last week's loss to St. Marys, Titus turned in a remarkable 23-tackle effort, matching the number of stops made by Joe Jelich against Stonewall Jackson in 1974. Also in that game, Titus sent his career total to 357 tackles, bettering the former record of 343 established by Jake Young.
"What a great kid,'' said Mick Price, Ravenswood's first-year football coach. "This is one of those kids that coaches love to coach because he can go from sideline to sideline, and he does. I couldn't be more tickled for a kid to break that [career] record.''
Ravenswood, using a bushel of young players, takes a 2-7 mark into Friday's rivalry game with Ripley, dubbed "The Hatchet'' game in local lore. It's certainly a long way from the 13-1 team that played for the Class AA state championship just two years ago, but Price and his coaching staff have had only six or seven seniors to use - about half the total of the two previous seasons.
Price said Titus still plays with the same zeal that allowed him to lead the Red Devils with 12 tackles in that title game loss to Magnolia in 2010 at Wheeling Island Stadium.
"He played for a state runner-up two years ago,'' Price said, "and last year for an 8-2 team that lost in the first round. This year, even at 2-7, he's never changed. He just keeps playing.
"This year, his role has been much different - he's done a good job leading, but he's also got a lot of young pups around him. Sometimes that inexperience has negated some of the great things he does, but he's still blown up that tackle record.''
The list of all-state defenders from Ravenswood goes on for decades, with players such as Joe Jelich, John McCoy, Bruce Coiner, Jeff Corder, Mike McCorckle, Salmons, Brandon Smith, Young, Andrew Schindler and Chad Small.
"I found it very touching that two weeks ago, Brad received two phone calls from former linebackers who once held the tackle record,'' said Jason Jackson, Ravenswood's defensive coach. "Andrew Schindler and Brandon Smith called Brad to wish him luck in getting the [career] record.
"Brad called me and said those were players that he looked up to when he was in the second and third grade. Brad said he remembered daydreaming about being in their shoes. Ten years later, he has filled their shoes and then some.''
Titus, who stands 6-foot and weighs 221 pounds, could have a future in college football, Price said, because he does things right on and off the field.
"He's a role model for all our kids in program in the classroom and on the football field,'' Price said. "He works hard in the weight room in the offseason. He always plays until the last second is off the clock. He goes 90 miles an hour from sideline to sideline. He watches a lot of film and retains a lot of knowledge, and you can see him pull that off when he goes out on Friday nights.
"All those all-staters we've had, and he goes and surpasses all of them. He deserves a lot of accolades at the end of the year.''
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.