By Justin Haggerty
Local Sports Journal

RAVENNA – Friday’s Ravenna-Whitehall game was expected to be an exciting contest between two West Michigan Conference powers.

But like so many other big games in the area this season, it turned out one-sided.Shoreline football instory art

Ravenna used its bruising running game to down the Vikings 54-21 and nail down second place in the conference.

The Bulldogs improved to 7-1 overall and finished 6-1 in the league. Whitehall dropped to 6-2 and 5-2.

The Ravenna ground game was dominant, rolling up 363 yards for an average of eight yards per carry.

David Thompson led the way with 187 yards on eight carries, including three touchdowns. Quarterback Dakota Hudson finished with 80 yards rushing and two touchdowns while Gabe Zimmer added 77 yards and three touchdowns.

Ravenna Coach David Smith said the rushing attack was a full team effort.

“Those numbers from the backs are the linemen up front and the backs blocking for each other,” Smith said. “We’re starting to get a little bit healthier (after early season injuries). You can see it gelling a little more on offense.”

Zimmer started off the scoring with a 13-yard touchdown run with 8:16 remaining in the first quarter. Thompson added 66- yard scoring scamper at 6:26 to put the Bulldogs up 14-0.

Ravenna collected second quarter touchdowns from Hudson (50 yard run) and Zimmer (one-yard run) to take a 28-0 lead.

Whitehall finally got on the board eight minutes before halftime when quarterback Zarren Aylor broke free and raced by everyone for a 74-yard touchdown.

Ravenna started the next drive at its own 49 after covering an onside kick. On the first play of the drive, Hudson launch a pass over the middle to Alex White, who tipped the ball to himself and made a spectacular catch for 31 yards.

Hudson finished the drive five plays later with a four-yard touchdown run, giving Ravenna a 34-7 halftime lead.

“They caused some problems for us schematically up front,” said Whitehall coach Tony Sigmon. “When we did adjust, it was too late. Credit them for a great game plan.”

The third quarter saw Thompson slam a two-yard touchdown with 6:47 remaining to make it 40-7. Zimmer sprinted to an 11-yard touchdown with 2:46 left to make the score 47-7.

Aylor scored for Whitehall with a six-yard burst early in the fourth quarter. But Thompson answered with a 65-yard scoring run on the first play of the ensuing drive, putting Ravenna up 54-14.

Aylor finished the scoring with a one yard touchdown rush with 5:57 to play.

Aylor finished with 124 yards on 16 carries with three touchdowns for Whitehall.

“Whitehall’s a very good team,” Smith said. “I thought we could hold our own against them. We believe we’re the best team in our conference, we didn’t prove it in week five (against Oakridge) like we needed to, but we still feel that way.”