RIPLEY - The Ripley high School Viking football team has now had a little time to get to know their new head coach, David Tennant.

Ripley’s 22nd head coach comes to the Vikings via two seasons at Eastern High (OH) and a short stint as an assistant at Ripley prior to that position.

The Vikings are coming off of a (5-5) season in the Class AAA Mountain State Athletic Conference and look to improve on their past fortunes in 2013.
“My first impression of our roster was that we have talent but it is underdeveloped. One of our jobs as coaches is to bring out the best in each student-athlete,” said Tennant.

Coach Tennant has implemented a weight training program and as the 3-week period has began in which the WVSSAC allows West Virginia prep coaches to conduct practices, has gotten a better look at his team from a football perspective.
“Our first practice was today (Monday) and coach Kelly and myself were pleased with the progress we made with the offense in just one day.”

Former Ravenswood and Eastern (OH) assistant Kemp Kelly has brought his version of the spread offense to the table and excitement is high that the Vikings will put some points on the Death Valley scoreboard this season.

“I am excited that we have good kids here at Ripley. Football aside, I think we have a great group of young men to work with and that is a reflection on their parents and the community,” added Tennant.

Due to ongoing planning, coach Tennant was tight lipped about fundraising efforts for the program but did say that a spaghetti dinner will be scheduled soon and that he looks to do much more with area businesses.
“I want the support of our community and I want them involved in our program.”

The Jackson County Board of Education hasn’t hired a defensive coordinator yet but that is expected just around the corner.

So far, Luke Parsons will coach the freshman squad and will again be an assistant to the varsity team. Shane Casto, who is also the head baseball coach for the blue and white returns as an assistant on the gridiron for the Vikings.
The Viking’s schedule isn’t murder’s row, but it is rugged enough to swallow you if you blink your eyes too much.
Added to the 2013 slate are Cabell Midland, George Washington, Spring Valley Huntington and Point Pleasant.
The Patriots of Parkersburg South come to town on August 30 to kick off the 2013 campaign.

“We want the kids to work hard and have fun and we look forward to bringing an exciting brand of football to the community,” said Tennant.

“We expect big things from this program and we are all going to put in the necessary work to get there.”