By Craig Beilfuss

RAVENNA–The Ravenna Bulldogs football team will hit the road Saturday with a district championship on the line.

The Bulldogs are heading to traditional power Ithaca to take on the Yellowjackets in a Division 7 contest.

Game time is set for noon at Ithaca Community Stadium.

Ravenna is coming off a 10-7 pre-district win over North Muskegon last Friday while Ithaca cruised past Lake City 48-14.

The Yellowjackets, members of the Tri-Valley Conference, bring in a 9-1 record while the Bulldogs are 7-3. The Yellowjackets have had plenty of playoff success while playing in Division 6. They won four straight titles from 2010-13, finished runner-up in 2014 and won it again in 2015.

Ravenna head coach Justin Ego knows his Bulldog offensive unit will have to control the clock in order to have a chance against Ithaca.

“Offensively, we need to hold onto the ball and execute,” said the third year Ravenna coach. “We will need to start fast, play loose, and limit penalties.”

Ego will look for Hunter Hogan, his senior quarterback, to lead the way offensively, much like he has done throughout the season.

In the Ravenna win over North Muskegon, Hogan led the Bulldogs with 29 carries for 123 yards. Hogan also completed 6-of-12 passes for 90 yards and kicked the game winning field goal with 1:08 remaining in the first half.

What does Ego and his staff know about the Yellowjackets?

“What we know about Ithaca –  Ithaca has a winning tradition,” Ego said. “They are disciplined, well-coached and have had a tremendous amount of playoff experience. Their quarterback is talented and has a lot of talent around him.”

For the Bulldogs, it’s their second straight playoff game on the road.

“We will have to play our game – confident, disciplined football,” Ego said. “If we get behind the chains, we are going to struggle.  Defensively, we have to make tackles when we make contact, we can’t let the quarterback get comfortable and limit their big plays.”
The winner will advance to take on winner of the Traverse City St. Francis-Benzie Central game, which also is being played Friday.