Viking defense makes three goal line stands to preserve shutout

RIPLEY – Jake Martin threw for 225 yards and three touchdowns as Ripley dismantled Lincoln County Friday night at Death Valley, 34-0.

Martin was thrust under center due to an injury to sophomore signal caller Trevor Tucker. During a routine practice on Thursday Tucker suffered a knee injury that unfortunately could end his season.

Losing Martin as a safety on defense forced Ripley to do some creative shifting but Coach Jimmy Frashier feels that his roster is deep enough to fill that void.

The Vikings got on the board first with 6:08 left in the first period when Martin hit wide receiver Tyler Kidd for a 25-yard touchdown reception. Easton Berry hit the extra point to give Ripley a 7-point lead.

After a punt from the Panthers, Ripley struck again with precision. A minute and a half later, Martn found Kade Harrison open streaking down the sideline for a 65-yard gain. The 6-3 wideout made a spectacular come back grab and jaunted toward the end zone until he was knocked out of bounds.

"I saw that Kade was wide open down the sideline," said Martin after the game. "I just threw the ball as hard as I could and he came back and made the grab. Kade made a great play on the ball."

Later in that drive Viking running back Jacob Lewis took the ball in on a dive from 1-yard out and Berry hit the extra point for a 14-0 Viking lead.

Lincoln County then took the ball at the 38 after kickoff and put a drive together of their own on the arm and legs of quarterback Grant Bates. With a first and goal inside the five-yard line Ripley denied the Panthers on four downs and took over possession. This was Ripley's first of three goal line stands on the night.

Later in the second quarter after a beautiful catch by Harrison was nullified by penalty, Tyler Pittenger blasted his way into the end zone for Ripley. The Vikings missed the extra point and Ripley took a hefty 27-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.

After the Ripley High band performed their Pirates of the Caribbean themed halftime show, it was time for more pigskin action.

Ripley continued their defensive dominance as they bent and refused to break and let the Panthers in the end zone.
Ripley sacked Bates five times on the evening.

With 6:30 left in the third super sophomore Jake Martin struck gold again when he hit Cody Stowers in the back of the end zone to bring the scoreboard to its final resting place at 34-0.

The Vikes were tested one last time when Panther cornerback Joey Smith picked off a pass and nearly went the distance before being caught from behind by the Vikings. Again, with a first and goal Ripley slammed the door shut and preserved their shutout on this night.

"We knew with Trevor (Tucker) hurt that we were going to lose him on defense to the quarterback position. Brandon Tolley came in at strong safety and I slid over to free safety. We executed our gameplan tonight," said Justin Hinzman.

Ripley coach Jimmy Frashier was pleased with his team's effort to even their record four games into the 2012 season.

"You know, for a guy who didn't know he was going to be the quarterback until the night before the game, Jake Martin stepped up and answered the call for this team. I don't know many sophomores in this state who has the maturity to pull that one off and perform the way he did," said Coach Frashier.

"Our defense played strong and now we have to prepare for a very athletic Woodrow Wilson team next Friday."

Unofficial JN statistics: Ripley topped Lincoln in total yards 460 to 161. The Vikes led in time of possession 31:43 to 16:17. For Ripley, Jake Martin completed 8-of-18 passes for 225 yards, three touchdowns and a single interception.
Ripley was led in Rushing by Martin with 75 on 15 carries, Tyler Pittenger notched 60 yards on eight carries and a score, Austin Hileman had 39 yards on nine carries, Justin Hinzman had a single carry for 16 yards, Gabe Hamrick and Ryan Stutler each had 15 yards, Jacob Kay rushed for eleven yards, Jacob Lewis notched three yards and a score and Cody Stowers rushed for two on a single carry.

Kade Harrison led all receivers with 132 yards n three catches and a score, Quaseem Fields had two catches for 33 yards, Cody Stowers had a single catch for 27 yards, Tyler Kidd had a 24 yard touchdown reception and Justin Hinzman caught a single ball for seven yards.

Defensively, Austin Hall led the defense with 8 tackles, Daryl Hicks, Hinzman and Preston Martin made four tackles with Martin recovering a fumble, Alex Hambrick, Jordan Vandergrift, Jacob Kay and made three stops each, Brandon Tolley, Levi Bryant, Jake Pursley and Zack Defrank made two tackles while Bryant recovered a fumble. Austin Hileman, Quaseem Fields , Paul Lively, Braxton Morrison, Bryan Rhodes, Jordan Ramsey and Freddy Roush made a single tackle each.
Punter Paul Lively punted once for a net of 30 yards and averaged 51 yards per kickoff with a single touchback on six boots.

Ripley returns to action when they travel to Beckley to face Woodrow Wilson (3-1) on Friday. Wilson lost 41-12 to Spring Valley last Friday and knocked off Hurricane 35-34 the previous week.