RIPLEY - It was a chilly night at Death Valley as Tyler Pittenger and Jake Martin each rushed for over 100 yards to lead Ripley (3-3) to a 27-19 victory over Roane County on Friday night to put a lid on homecoming festivities for Ripley High School.
The victory was hard fought for Ripley as they had trouble containing athletic Raider quarterback Hunter Bradley in the first half.
Bradley got Roane County (3-3) on the board first on a seven-yard scamper to put them up 7-0 that made the massive gathering of Viking faithful uneasy.
After another Raider possession in which Viking Zack Defrank plastered Roane's Bradley and inducing a fumble, Viking quarterback Jake Martin took control of the situation.
Martin dashed around Ripley's strong side for a dazzling 62-yard score that found the quarterback weaving in and out of traffic until he pulled away from the Raider secondary to the collective roar of the inspired homecoming crowd.
Viking kicker Easton Berry tacked on the extra point and we had a ballgame.
With 8:54 left in the second quarter, Ripley struck paydirt again thanks to the hard-nosed running of Tyler Pittenger.
"Pitt" bounced an off-tackle designed run outside for an 1-yard score for Ripley. The scamper gave them the lead in the game as Berry nailed the point after.
Unfortunately, Roane County wasn't done. Bradley engineered a sixty-yard drive that was capped off with a short run on a quarterback keeper that tied the game at 14.
After the Vikings fumbled the ball away, Bradley burned them again on a short keeper that gave the Raiders a 19-14 lead as they missed the point after.
Just prior to the half, Ripley got their revenge as super sophomore Jake Martin hit junior wide receiver Kade Harrison for a nine-yard touchdown strike. Berry nailed the extra point to give Ripley a slim 21-19 lead going into halftime.
Ripley offensive lineman Andy Mellert was named Mr. Viking at halftime while Caressa Robinson was crowned Miss Viking 2012.
"The coaches let the defensive line have it at halftime and we had to make some changes," said senior Viking noseguard Daryl Hicks after the game.
And change they did. Ripley put clamps on the happy feet of Bradley and the athletic quarterback was corralled in the second half.
Ripley were able to get some breathing room as Tyler Pittenger scored his second touchdown of the game on a six-yard run with 2:13 left in the third.
The Raiders blocked Berry's extra point to bring the score to 27-19. Ripley was able to take a collective breath but Roane County was only a touchdown and 2-point conversion away from knotting the game.
Ripley's attempt to stretch the lead with 5:43 in the fourth was unsuccessful as Berry's 22-yard FG attempt was wide left.
Roane County put together a fierce drive and reached the Ripley 19 before Jake Martin recovered a Raider fumble.
After a three and out, Ripley had to punt with barely a minute left in the contest when Roane again fumbled into Viking hands.
Justin Hinzman scooped up the fumbled punt return and fell on the ball to seal the victory for Ripley.
"I have to give a lot of credit to Becky Neal (Student Council Advisor) and Will Hosaflook (principal).
They organized so many things this week to get school spirit up for homecoming. It was a collective effort of this whole school. We had a great crowd and the community came out to support us," said head coach Jimmy Frashier." He continued, "We had to rally the guys at halftime and make some adjustments. Preston Martin (linebacker) had one great game for us."
For the game, Ripley was led by Tyler Pittenger's 137 yards rushing and two scores on a workmanlike 22 touches.
Quarterback Jake Martin rushed for 113 yards and a score. Ripley rushed for 282 total yards on 41 carries.
Roane County quarterback Hunter Bradley led all rushers with 158 yards and three scores. Roane running back Luke Scott added 141 yards.
UNOFFICIAL JN STATISTICS: Roane led in total yards 390 to 369. Both teams committed four turnovers. Ripley led time of possession 24:57 to 22:57. RUSHING: Quaseem Fields had two rushes for seven yards, Jacob Lewis rushed four times for six yards, Justin Hinzman and Austin Hileman each had five yards on a single carry.
RECEIVING: Kade Harrison had three catches for 47 yards, Tyler Kidd had three for 42 yards, Tyler Pittenger had a catch for five yards.
PASSING - Jake Martin completed 7-of-18 for 94 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
DEFENSE: Preston Martin led all tacklers with 19, Austin Hall notched 14, Nathan Tucker 12, Daryl Hicks and Zack Defrank had seven each, Quaseem Fields had six with an interception, Justin Hinzman and Bryan Rhodes had five, Jordan Vandergrift and Alex Hambrick had three each. Hinzman, Jake Martin and Jacob Lewis recovered fumbles. Vandergrift notched a sack.
The Vikings hit the road to Hurricane October 5. The Redskins edged Capital 23-20 on Friday night.