Thomas Motes is going to give it the old college try as a football player. He will do so for one of the country’s oldest schools.

Thomas Motes is going to give it the old college try as a football player. He will do so for one of the country’s oldest schools.

Motes is headed to Hampden-Sydney College in Hampden-Sydney, Virginia. Located about five hours from Ripley, Hampden-Sydney is the oldest private charter in the south and the 17th oldest institution of higher education in the country. It is one of only three four-year, all-male liberal arts colleges in the United States.

“They offered (academically) what I wanted at the school,” said Motes. “It seemed like a nice campus. They made me feel very welcome.”

At Hampden-Sydney, Motes will major in chemistry with hopes of getting into the school’s pre-med program. Motes’ father is Ripley dentist Dr. Ted Motes, a former Viking football standout. His mother, Carolyn, was a Viking cheerleader during her high school days.

Motes was both a standout in football and baseball at Ripley.

A talented kicker, he will try to earn his way on to the Hampden-Sydney football team this season. Tiger athletic programs are a part of NCAA Division III and the Old Dominion Athletic Conference.
“It’s pretty competitive for Division III,” said Motes, who was a versatile player during his three-year Viking football career. Besides serving as the team’s kicker and punter, he also played fullback, tight end and linebacker.

As a senior, Motes drilled 12-of-19 extra point attempts and made of 6-of-8 field goal tries with a long of 37. He averaged a little over 31 yards per punt and collected three tackles on defense.

During his junior year, he was 17-for-22 in extra points and a perfect 4-for-4 in the field goal department with a long of 42. He averaged 35.3 yards per punt. Motes hauled in nine passes for 66 yards and a touchdown while carrying the ball five times for 29 yards. He made 25 tackles on defense.

As a sophomore, Motes was 12-of-17 in extra points and kicked one field goal in two tries. He averaged 28.6 yards per punt. On offense he caught eight passes for 185 yards and scored four touchdowns while rushing for 24 yards on 10 carries. Defensively, he made 35 tackles.

“It was a lot of fun and something I’ll always remember,” said Motes of his years playing for the Vikings. He’s ready for the challenge at the next level, both as a student and an athlete. “I’ll have an 8:30 class every morning,” he said. “There is another kicker (who he will compete against for the job), we’re both freshman. They lost their kicker (to graduation), so it (the kicking job) is open right now.”

Viking head coach Jimmy Frashier is always happy to see players move on and play at the next level. “Thomas is an intelligent young man. He’ll fit right in well there at Hampden-Sydney. He can do anything he wants to do.”

Motes will report to Hampden-Sydney August 12 for preseason football camp.

In his mind, the school features the quintessential small college campus. “It’s really nice with old-style brick buildings,” he said. “It was established in 1775, so it’s pretty old.”

But a place Thomas Motes looks forward to starting the newest chapter of his young life.