NITRO – After having its Homecoming game spoiled the week before by Class AAA No. 1 Huntington, Ripley went out and did the same to the Nitro Wildcats Friday night.

A big second quarter, in which the Vikings produced 21 points, paved the way for the visiting Vikings as they registered a 41-20 victory.

The win was both the first of the 2013 high school football season for Ripley and of the David Tennant era. It improved Ripley to 1-5 on the year while Nitro fell to 1-4. The victory was Ripley’s third straight over the Wildcat program.

“Our boys came out and were flying around,” said Tennant. “They finally played like they are capable. It’s definitely great for morale. They’ve been working hard.”

Ripley struck first in the game when junior quarterback Trevor Tucker raced into the end zone from 22 yards out. Easton Berry’s extra point gave Ripley a quick 7-0 lead at the 11:33 mark.

Nitro, though, would respond when Nick Brown scored on a 1-yard run with 7:47 remaining in the opening quarter. The extra point failed, thus allowing Ripley to maintain a slim one-point lead.

It was an advantage the Vikings would maintain the entire game. Before the quarter ended Tucker found the end zone again on a 1-yard run. Berry’s kick put Ripley up 14-6 after 12 minutes of play.

Ripley took total control of the contest in that second quarter. Tucker first found his older brother, senior Nathan Tucker, on a 23-yard TD pass play at the 11:53 mark. Just over two minutes later, Tucker and Kade Harrison hooked up on a 3-yard pass that produced six. Gabe Hamrick then scored on a 12-yard run with exactly three minutes remaining in the half. Berry made all three extra points to give Ripley a comfortable 35-6 cushion at the break.

Ripley’s final score came with 1:31 to go in the third when Tucker and Harrison again connected, this time on a 43-yard TD. The extra point was no good but Ripley’s lead had grown to 41-6.

Nitro tallied two touchdowns in the final period but the damage had long been done by Ripley.
The Vikings rolled up 461 yards of total offense to Nitro’s 303.

Tucker was 9-of-12 through the air for 185 yards and the three scores. He rushed for 153 yards on 12 carries while scoring the two touchdowns.

“Trevor had a heck of a game both running and throwing,” said Tennant.
Hamrick also went over the century mark for the first time in a Viking uniform rushing for 104 yards on 12 carries and scoring the TD.
“Our quarterback rushed for 100, our running back rushed for 100 and we threw for at least 150. That is the way our offense is set up,” said Tennant.

Harrison had one carry for six yards, Chase Morgan carried four times for eight yards and Chance Ranson collected five yards on four carries.

Harrison was the leading receiver for Ripley, catching four passes for 120 yards with two going for scores. Nathan Tucker caught three passes for 51 yards and had the TD. Drew Harpold had one grab for 11 yards and Ryan Stutler made a catch for three yards.

Several players got into the act defensively. Harrison had two interceptions and Cody Harris came up with a pick that he returned 22 yards.
Austin Hall, who returned to the lineup, had eight tackles as did Nathan Tucker and Anthony Jarvis. Stutler and Alex Hambrick each had seven stops. Harrison was in on six tackles for the Vikings. Adam Bailey and Zach DeFrank each had four. Bradley Knotts was credited with three tackles while Jacob Kay, who was returning to action after an injury, Levi Bryant and Cody Harris all had two. Luke Layhew, Logan Buckalew, Nathan Hall, Eldrick Millares, Chase Morgan, Caleb Jennings, Brandon Tolley, Devin Hunts and Harpold posted one stop.

The Viking defense limited Nitro’s outstanding back, Brayden Underwood, to 61 yards on 16 carries. Brown was actually the game’s leading rusher with 159 yards on 21 carries.

In the kickoff return game, Ryan Stutler had one for 38 yards. Harrison returned two punts for 43 yards.
Caleb Jennings punted seven times for an average of 39 yards with his long of the night being 54.
“We still have a lot of things to fix,” said Tennant. “This (win) means the world to the kids and the coaches. We played good football and we played all four quarters. It gives us something exciting (to build on) going into the week.”

South Charleston is next for the Vikings this Friday at Memorial Stadium. It will mark the second straight year the two will play in Ripley. Last season the Vikings upset the Black Eagles, 7-6, and will be looking to do the same again in 2013.

Momentum is certainly on their side.

NOTEBOOK – There is a good news, bad news scenario where the Martin brothers are concerned...It appears that junior standout Jake Martin could see action before the season is out...The running back/free safety suffered a leg injury in a preseason scrimmage that has kept him sidelined...Unfortunately, his older brother, Preston, a senior, likely won’t return...He has been recovering from a knee injury sustained last year in his state championship wrestling match. A terror on defense, he tweaked the knee while rehabbing this past week...It’s truly a shame for one of the toughest kids the program has had in some time...Friday night’s game at Nitro was “All in the Family” as Ripley assistant Shane Casto faced off with first cousin, Bryce Casto, a former Viking football standout, who is on the Nitro staff. Bryce’s son, Zach, was on Nitro’s Homecoming court.