RIPLEY - They ran. They ran hard. Then, they strapped up and ran again.

If you listened closely, you could hear Iron Maiden's Run To The Hills pulsing in the September mist like a heavy metal soundtrack to the ball game.

Okay, maybe not but Ripley did rack up 319 yards on the ground with a stable of running backs including Tyler Pittenger, Ryan Stutler, Jake Martin, Austin Hileman, Jacob Kay and Jacob Lewis as the Vikings tamed the Wildcats on Friday night 48-20 in Death Valley. Ripley's first win in the 2012 season brings their record to (1-2).

Starting sophomore quarterback Trevor Tucker endured a non-football related injury to his throwing hand earlier in the week and was questionable to start before the game. He played the entire contest and contributed greatly with his feet in a gutsy performance. Standout Jake Martin took some snaps in the game and was ready for action if needed.

"We really didn't make many changes scheme wise but we prepared to play without Trevor if needed. Jake (Martin) did a great job in preparation," said head coach Jimmy Frashier. "Our backs came to play tonight. What a great win for this team."

The Vikings struck first when speedy junior Ryan Stutler raced 10 yards to the end zone on a counter with 6:36 left in the opening quarter. Easton Berry nailed the extra point and the Vikings were up 7-0.

The Wildcats responded immediately with a short drive when Alexander White blasted a 42-yard field goal. In the second quarter, the Vikings drove over sixty yards before Trevor Tucker hit Kade Harrison for a 27 yard scoring strike at the 8:35 mark. Harrison went down on both knees to scoop the ball from near the ground on a play that showed tremendous concentration on the part of the 6-3 wide receiver.

Ripley's defense harassed Nitro quarterback Chris Moody all evening while sacking him twice and hurrying the signal caller multiple times.

"We really worked on technique and form tackling last week. Our defense played well overall tonight," said senior noseguard Daryl Hicks.

After Tucker scored on a 4-yard keeper for Ripley, the 6-3 215 pound Moody was able to hit Ethan Clark on a 4 yard touchdown pass just prior to halftime to inch Nitro closer at 21-10.

"I am glad to see Ethan Clark graduate," said coach Frashier. "That kid has been a player for four years."

Ripley wasn't done as they ripped off some serious rushing yards thanks to tough running from Tyler Pittenger, Tucker and senior Jacob Lewis who blasted his way for 1-yard into the end-zone after a quick 65-yard drive to give the Vikes a 28-10 advantage at the half. Lewis had a similar goal line score last week versus Winfield.

After a tremendous performance from both bands at halftime, Trevor Tucker wasted no time in getting the Vikings on the board again with a 1-yard keeper after a 63 yard drive highlighted by a sixteen yard scamper from Austin Hileman. Berry booted the extra point to give the Vikings a 25-point lead at the 10:31 mark in the third.

The Viking defense put the clamps on the Nitro offense and only allowed a 37-yard field goal from White in the third, who displayed a strong, impressive leg all evening.

The blue and white defense continued their dominant play in the fourth period when Justin Hinzman picked off a Moody pass and dashed 18 yards to the house after spinning and leaping a defender. Hinzman has emerged as a leader on the defense and plays with tremendous passion that is infectious to players and fans alike.

Forty nine seconds later, cornerback Quaseem Fields got his chance when he dashed 25 yards to the end zone for Ripley's second pick six in less than a minute. The Viking faithful went absolutely wild with a fierce roar that gave Death Valley a collegiate feel for a fleeting moment.

"It was kind of funny. Just before my interception I heard their quarterback (Moody) say that he just wanted the game to end. Then he overthrew his guy and I was there with nobody between me and the end zone," said Fields. Berry nailed both extra points for Ripley. The Vikes led 48-13 with four minutes to go.

Earlier in the game, Fields had a dazzling seven-yard punt return that had him spinning, bobbing and weaving like a boxer in the ring before he went down. He got past four defenders before being gang tackled.

"I actually made myself dizzy on that one," he joked.

Winfield showed one last heartbeat before flat-lining when shifty back Brayden Underwood galloped 63 yards for a touchdown on a play action draw that caught the Vikings in pass coverage as he split the defense on the way to paydirt.

Ripley offensive coordinator Adam Hill worked from the press box for the first time. The move seemed to have worked out for Ripley.

"We knew we had to run the ball tonight. We didn't want to put Trevor in a position of having to throw a lot (hand injury). We moved our unselfish seniors Pittenger and Lewis over to the fullback position and went with some guys who had a little more speed to stretch the defense out."

Unofficial JN Team Stats: Ripley edged Nitro in total yards 358 to 339. Both squads had three turnovers. Nitro led in time of possession 29:07 to 18:53. Ripley completed 3-of-9 on third downs and converted their only fourth down attempt. Ripley was penalized nine times to Nitro's eight.

Unofficial Individual Ripley stats: Trevor Tucker completed 3-of-7 passes for 38 yards and a touchdown. Jake Martin was 0-for-4 with an interception.

Kade Harrison had one reception for 27 yards and a score, Nate Donohew caught a pass for five yards and Tyler Pittenger had a seven-yard reception out of the backfield.

Ripley was led in rushing by quarterback Trevor Tucker with 87 yards on seven carries and two scores, Jake Martin tallied 65 yards on seven carries, Austin Hileman had 52 yards on six carries, Ryan Stutler had 54 yards on eight attempts and a score, Tyler Pittenger had 58 yards on eight carries, Jacob Kay had five yards on a single carry and Jacob Lewis scored on a single carry for one yard.

Caleb Jennings blasted two kickoffs that resulted in touchbacks. Easton Berry connected on all six extra point attempts while punter Paul Lively launched a single punt for 38 yards.

Defensively, Ripley were led by eleven tackles, two interceptions (one a pick six) from Justin Hinzman, 10 from Preston Martin, seven and a sack from Austin Hall, Nathan Tucker had six a fumble recovery and a sack, Bryan Rhodes had six, Quaseem Fields notched five and a pick six, Alex Hambrick had four, Jordan Vandergrift, Zack DeFrank and Dylan Hall had two stops and Levi Bryant, Jake Pursley, Caleb Jennings, Paul Lively and Cody Stowers had a single tackle.
The Vikings return to action on Friday when they host Lincoln County at Death Valley.