RIPLEY – The beginning of football season is always filled with hope and excitement.  This is especially true for the Ripley Vikings, who officially opened their 2014 season on Monday with their first fall practice.  
The Vikings–clad in gray shirts that read “Leave No Doubt”–started two-a-day practices, with the offense working during the morning session and the afternoon session focusing on the defense.  One thing was for sure at Monday’s practice, the players and coaches were anxious to get going.
“It was a good day,” said the Vikings second year head coach David Tennant, “It wasn’t great, making some mental errors, but for our first day, even though we expect perfection, it was a good day.”
The Vikings had around 45 players report for practice, many of whom took part in the summer workouts that helped maintain conditioning levels and really served as a great teambuilding experience for the players.  Tennant and his staff were less concerned with the number of players, and were instead focused on building around the players who were there.  

“We didn’t have the numbers we expected, but you don’t need 80 kids on your team to put a good team on the field,” Tennant said, “We got a bunch of kids that are here, and those are the ones you can build a program around.”
One of the main takeaways from the first day’s practice was the Vikings’ energy level.  Both the coaches and the players showed a great deal of enthusiasm and vigor at both sessions on Monday, which is something that they hope will carry on through the rest of the fall.
“It was better,” Tennant said regarding the energy at the practice, “It’s not exactly where we want it to be, but it’s better than it has been in the past.  Having the coaching staff very enthusiastic, getting on them [the players], helps out a bunch.  Once the players start jumping in there, coaches can only do it for so long, you need players to step in there and lead the way.”
Tennant also talked about some of the positives and negatives from the first day, mentioning that he and his staff were pleased with his team’s level of effort, but did acknowledge that they, like everyone else on the first day of practice, have things that could be better.
“We saw kids having fun out there,” Tennant said, “It looks like they love the game.  It’s hard, we’re pushing them past their limits big time and you can see it in their faces that we are pushing them as hard as we can push them, but they’re still having fun and enjoying it.  They’re here to work.”

The Vikings will continue two-a-days into next week, when they will get pads and go into full contact practices.  
The physical nature of the Vikings was one the summer’s bright spots, and the players themselves looked extremely anxious to get started with full contact, something that Tennant confirmed.
“I’m hoping that the intensity we have now goes right into it,” Tennant said, “The first couple of days, the excitement comes.  There’s nothing like the first day of hitting.  You can tell the excitement, they want to hit each other now.  That’s a great feeling.  We have kids out here that want to hit someone. It’s going to lead to good things.”
The Vikings are hoping that the first day’s enthusiasm will translate into better things once the season begins later this month.  Ripley hopes to improve on last year’s two win season and will have their first opportunity on August 29th, when they travel to Parkersburg South to take on the Patriots.