Old St. Nick provided plenty of gifts to the Parkersburg South football team and its strong fan base on Friday night at the Erickson All-Sports Facility in a season opener with the Ripley Vikings.
As in Old St. Nick Yoho, that is.
The senior running back scored three touchdowns, one from 82 yards out to give South the early lead, and piled up an impressive 221 yards rushing on the night in leading the Patriots to a 27-7 setback of the Vikings.
Yoho’s 82-yard dash came with 4:20 to play in the first quarter after the Patriots had stopped Ripley deep in their own territory.
The score gave South a lead it would never relinquish.
In the second quarter, the Patriots added 10 more points on a 39-yard field goal by Bennett Haught with 8:27 to play in the half and later with 2:57 before halftime Yoho got in from 10 yards out.
While Ripley managed its first touchdown of the season in the third and kept the Patriots off the scoreboard, the damage had been done.
South went on to tack on 10 more in the fourth for the final outcome.
“Give South credit,” said Ripley head coach Eddie Smolder, “they played a good ball game. We didn’t play up to our abilities. South played really well. We had good practices heading in. They executed and had a good game plan. They played physical.”
Ripley’s TD came through the air on a Justin Wheeler to Evan King completion covering 26 yards at the 4:49 mark of the third. Davisson Flint kicked the extra point.
South’s final scores came off the foot of Bennett, who nailed a 21-yard field goal with 7:48 left in the game, and then a 39-yard run by Yoho with 1:26 showing on the clock.
Smolder noted some bright spots in the defeat.
“We had some good returns, that was good to see,” he said. “I thought Dalton Myers had a pretty game (eight tackles).
“But we didn’t play well (as a whole), that’s the reality.”
South totaled 404 yards of offense to Ripley’s 168. Ripley had 48 rushing attempts good for 137 yards. The Vikings were 4-of-9 through the air for 31. South had 298 yards rushing and 106 passing.
Each team had one turnover. Ripley suffered an interception on their end while recovering a fumble to open the game.
South was hit with eight flags for 70 yards. Ripley was penalized six times for 45 yards.
Individually, R. J. Evans led the Vikings in the running department with 80 yards on 18 carries. Jeremy Harper had 13 carries for 35. Also rushing the football were Cyrus Casto (5-11), Kadi Hall (1-4), Myers (5-3), Wheeler (5-2) and King (1-2).
Wheeler was 2-of-5 passing for 21 yards and the TD. Casto was 2-of-4 for 10 and suffered the interception.
King caught two passes for 36, including the TD.
Evans, Myers and Noah Westfall also had a catch.
King followed Myers in tackles with five. Matt Moore had 4.5 and Josh Kay was credited with 3.5. Casto, Harper, Wheeler, Austin Rhodes, Kadin Hall each contributed three., Evans, Chris DeFrank, Wyatt Cottrill, Dakota Parsons and Isaac Parsons all had one. Andrew Dolin and Camron Ramsey were credited with an assist.
Flint averaged 27 yards on four punts. King had 196 yards on six kickoff returns for an average of 32.7.
Smolder added following the loss, “You can’t look back at wins and losses. We just have to get ready for Buckhannon.”
The Vikings journey to Upshur County this Friday night to face the Buccaneers, who won their opener against Princeton.