HAMLIN - Heading into Friday night’s game with Lincoln County, the Ripley Vikings knew the best they could finish in 2013 was 4-6.
Mission one has been accomplished.
The Vikings started what they hope will be a season-ending three-game winning streak with a convincing, 56-6, win over the Panthers, who remain without a victory this season.
“It was a pretty good win,” first-year Viking head coach David Tennant said. “It was much needed.”
Ripley jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the opening quarter and never looked back in improving to 2-6 on the year with games still to come on the road at George Washington and at home with rival Ravenswood.
Ripley scored first when Jake Ashley’s pass was picked off by Ryan Stutler and returned 71 yards for a touchdown at the 8:55 mark. Easton Berry drilled what would be the first of an 8-for-8 night in the extra point department.
Later in the quarter, Jake Martin took a punt and returned it 71 yards for a touchdown.
Ripley’s 14-0 lead after one period was a bit unusual considering the Viking offense never got on the field.
“We jumped on them early,” Tennant said, who was happy to see points produced by both his defense and special teams in the game’s opening 12 minutes.
By halftime, Ripley’s offense had finally gotten its chance helping the lead grow to 35-0.
Trevor Tucker threw a 9-yard pass to Cody Harris for the first of three scores at the 6:11 mark. Martin then dashed 16 yards into the end zone for another score with 2:55 to play in the half. Finally, Tucker connected with Stutler on a 30-yard pass play with just 55 seconds remaining.
In the third quarter, Tucker raced in from 15 yards out while Martin scored on a 51-yard run.
Tucker and Kade Harrison closed out Ripley’s scoring for the night by hooking up on a 24-yard play in the fourth quarter.
“We played a good game,” said Tennant.
And while happy with the win and in no way wanting to downplay it, he did note that there are things his team still must work on to win out in 2013.
“They (Lincoln County) are down. We still have things to fix to take the next step. But it was a good win for the program.”
Ripley had 348 yards of total offense compared to Lincoln County’s 246.
Martin, in only his second game back following a broken leg, rushed for 137 yards on 12 carries. In addition to his 51-yard TD run from scrimmage, he had another 50-yarder called back due to a penalty.
Page 2 of 2 - “He played a phenomenal game,” Tennant said.
Tucker added 59 yards rushing on only six carries. In the air, the junior QB threw for 149 yards, completing 7-of-13 attempts.
In the receiving department, Harrison caught five passes for 110 yards and the TD while Stutler and Harris each had their one TD catch.
On the prevent side of the ball, Zach DeFrank led the way with nine tackles. Nathan Tucker was next in line with eight. Harris and Drew Harpold each had six while Harrison, Bradley Knotts, Jordan Ramsey, and Anthony Jarvis ended with five. Chance Morgan, Trevor Tucker, Logan Buckalew and Brandon Tolley all had three. Jake Martin and Jacob Kay finished with two. Stutler, Adam Bailey, Alex Hambrick, Nathan Hall and Chance Ranson each had one.
Besides Stutler, Harrison also had an interception.
Caleb Jennings didn’t have to punt a single time on the night but did have a busy night kicking off, finishing with an average of 52.5.
The Vikings will travel to GW, a top five Class AAA team with a 7-1 record, at 7:30 Friday night at Steve Edwards, Sr. Stadium.