RAVENSWOOD, W. Va. (WV NEWS) — Since they were young, Heath and Jared Bloxton have bonded a lot through sports.
And as they got older, the two continued to share time together in athletic circles.
They did it with several other people for the ride as radio and internet geeks.
The two Ravenswood High graduates are gearing up for another school year calling action in Red Devil athletics.
When Ravenswood opens its 2022 football season against the Magnolia Blue Eagles on August 26 inside Spano-Taylor Stadium at Flinn Field, the Bloxton brothers will enter their 15th season working from the broadcast booth at WMOV.
Games can be heard on the AM dial at 1360 with the FM side at 93.5 and 106.7. Devil’s Sports with the two on the call can also be heard and followed on the internet.
The duo can hardly believe this will be their 15th school year of calling games, with Heath handling play-by-play duties and Jared serving as color analyst.
The opportunity to work live games in their hometown began in 2008.
The two frequently hung out and talked about sports with their pals Cody Brown and Micky Gump. One evening, around a campfire, they had the idea to ask the station about the possibilities of doing a local sports talk show.
“We went there and pitched it (the idea) to Greg Gak, who was the manager. He was all for it,” Jared said.
The River City Roundtable show was about to see the light of day.
“We went to do a test show, and it was terrible,” Jared laughed with Heath over lunch at Dawg Pound in Ravenswood. “We wanted to read everything about the page and the script.
“We got to where it got better, and they started letting us air it every Thursday.”
The show has since lived on, but is taking a new direction this fall. The two will host a podcast starting in August.
“We’ll probably call it ‘Living Legends Podcast,'” Heath said. “Our intention is to have people who can tell us stories from the past, whether it’s Ravenswood or Ripley and we hope to have people from all over the state as well.”
The two hope that the show could finally end on WMOV in the future once they get the timing and format secured.
Heath, a 2005 Ravenswood graduate, attended WVU-Parkersburg and earned a degree in communications. Jared, a 2009 Ravenswood graduate, earned a degree in sports administration from the University of Charleston.
The two made Ravenswood their home.
Heath works full time for the City of Ravenswood Police Department as a Bureau Manager.
Jarod works for Buddy Chenoweth at Team Environmental in Millwood
He has been Ravenswood’s City Recorder since 2012 and also owns the River City Barbell Club on Washington Street.
Around the same time the two were launching their hour-long sports talk show, the station found itself in need of two announcers to call Ravenswood football and boys’ basketball.
The Bloxtons were an easy choice.
Jarod still remembers Heath listening intently to Tony Caridi, the popular playman for WVU sports, when he was young.
“I was a sports fan and loved playing video games and they have advertisers,” Heath said. “You sort of take over the flow of the game.”
The first school year the Bloxtons were involved in Ravenswood sports’ call for WMOV, the Red Devil basketball team won the Class AA state championship over Wyoming East.
Heath was playing solo in his first-ever Red Devil basketball game that season, which happened to be in Wyoming East.
“My freshman year in basketball, Jared was still a senior in high school,” Heath said. “I’m alone in the crow’s nest (playing place in the gymnasium). I just said, ‘I have to go through this. I am stressed.'”
Heath did and has thrived ever since.
Rarely have the two not been together to make a game from the start.
In that first season of football in 2008, Jared had to leave the stand at half-time and for good reason as he was a member of the Homecoming Court.
Their third season of football together, the duo had the pleasure of calling 13 straight wins for the Red Devil. Victory number 13 over perennial powerhouse Bluefield, at what was then known as Flinn Field, propelled the Devils into the Class AA State Championship game against Magnolia. (West Virginia Radio Corporation owns the rights to broadcast state football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, and baseball championship events, so the Bloxtons were not on title game call at the Wheeling Island Stadium).
They admit those 13 straight wins are something they will never forget.
Other great victories, both on the football field and in basketball, come to mind.
In football, another Bluefield defeat will forever be etched in their memory. The 2014 Ravenswood Red Devils eliminated the Beavers in the first round of the Class AA playoffs at historic Mitchell Stadium.
A more recent memorable show came in March when Mick Price’s Runnin’ Red Devil basketball team survived an overtime battle with Charleston Catholic in a class AA sectional game. The win led to Ravenswood eliminating Buffalo for a co-regional title and a berth in the state tournament.
The Bloxtons had a chance to call action from Ravenswood basketball teams in 2017 and 2018 that made the state tournament in Class A and ultimately finished runners-up to Clarksburg Notre Dame and Wheeling Central, respectively. .
In addition to soccer and men’s basketball, the Bloxtons play a lot of Ravenswood baseball each spring. They were on back-to-back Class A regional title calls by Wes Swain’s Devils in 2017 and 2018, which put them in the state tournament (the 2017 team was second in Class A).
They also did Ravenswood Devilette women’s basketball games and called a Ravenswood High wrestling game.
“That’s what’s great about our property. We had good owners before, but since Tom Sussman took over, he’s ready for anything,” said Jared.
The Bloxtons were very proud to highlight other Ravenswood High athletes on their talk show. They made a special in 2017 after Ravenswood’s Class A Golf State Championship.
The Bloxtons feel they have grown and matured as broadcasters over the years.
“As a broadcaster, you’re always looking to learn,” Heath said.
Both have taken a lot from a variety of individuals, including the late Greg Carter, who graduated from Ravenswood High School in 1979.
Carter played Ravenswood football and basketball per game at WMOV for several years before moving to action for the Parkersburg Big Reds and later Nicholas County High School teams.
“Greg was a good mentor for us to start with,” said Heath, who is married to former Kelly Hanna. “Greg was my first T-Ball coach.”
The late Larry Koenig, who served for 31 years as director of technology for Jackson County Schools, owned the station when Carter was calling games and continued to work there from the perspective of the engineering. The Bloxtons knew Koenig well.
“We loved Larry,” Jared said.
The Bloxtons grew up loving sports.
Their father, Dan, a 1978 Ravenswood High graduate, was a standout lineman for the Red Devil football program playing for legendary head coach Fred Taylor. Dan Bloxton was also an excellent shot putter for Red Devil athletics during his high school days.
Their mother is the former Tina Ayers of Shinnston. She graduated in 1982 from Lincoln High School.
Relatives on their mother’s side (grandfather and uncle) spent many years officiating basketball and baseball.
It helped the two see things very differently when calling games.
“We’re home runs,” Jared said, “but we’re fair. I had to tone it up.
Heath added: “We have become objective over the years. We have settled in. Having civil servants in the family helped us see the other side of things.
Make no mistake, the two get excited when the Devils are doing well, but try not to overdo it.
“We’re excited for Tony Caridi,” Jared said, referring to the big Mountaineer announcer. “And now that our games are being video streamed on Facebook, that’s helped even more.”
Jared is well known for his signature “Ooh, Baby!” saying on game shows.
“It was by mistake our freshman year,” he laughed.
“Ooh baby!” came after a touchdown. It has remained in his repertoire over the seasons where Devil teams have accomplished something big like a TD or a monumental victory like the one against Charleston Catholic in basketball.
One aspect the two have enjoyed working on games for WMOV is meeting people from different parts of the state, especially broadcasters.
They have a mutual respect with those at other schools who call games for various stations – including WVRC at Spencer, whose owner Andrew Miller has been the “voice of Roane County” for several years.
“We love these guys from Roane County,” Jared said. “They are like us, they love their teams.”
Incidentally, the Spencer station belonged to Koenig for several years until his untimely death.
The Bloxtons enjoy representing Ravenswood High School as broadcasters. Both feel they have developed a great relationship with the administration and all the coaches.
Price, head coach of the Ravenswood boys for the past 44 years, believes Ravenswood High School is lucky to have them on board as part of the general athletics program.
“Both graduated from Ravenswood High School and have been following Ravenswood sports for years,” Price said. “When we lose it hurts them, when we win they get excited.
“With every game we play, they’re just as into it as the kids. The people who listen to them are thrilled to have someone like the Bloxtons. They like being able to tell what’s going on by listening to the game because they do such a professional job. I’m really happy to have them on our teams.
Ravenswood head football coach Eric Hupp enjoyed his association with the two calling his games.
“They’re two good guys to work with in the box,” Hupp said. “To promote sports and children, these two guys are ready to step up. They’ve been doing this for a long time. You couldn’t ask for two better guys to support Ravenswood.
The Bloxtons track various teams at the college and professional levels, including WVU, Marshall, Alabama, Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pittsburgh Pirates, and New York Yankees.
Their devotion to the Yankees comes from their grandfather and their uncle.
But make no mistake, the Ravenswood Red Devil teams are the ones that bring their emotions to a high level.
They like to call the action red and black.