Bell & James made the song “Livin It Up (Friday Night)” a hit back in the late ‘70s.
Ripley’s football team plans to be “Livin It Up” once more on a Friday night as the 2018 West Virginia high school football season moves on with playoff action.
In the postseason, the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission has a setup in which the higher seeded teams pick the venue (if it meets playoff regulations) while the lower seeded school chooses the day and time.
The choices are Friday at 7:30, Saturday at 1:30 or 7:30.
After defeating Greenbrier East in a Class AAA first-round playoff game last Friday at their home – Memorial Stadium – Ripley head coach Eddie Smolder, his staff and players all agreed to play the Class AAA quarterfinal round game with No. 4 Musselman on Friday night.
Located in the Eastern Panhandle’s Berkley County, the journey to Inwood, where Musselman is located, is a 305-mile trek taking nearly 6-hours. The Vikings will leave Thursday, spend the night and then play the game.
“We just like Friday nights,” said Smolder.
Fridays have been kind to Ripley as of late.
Ripley has reeled off 10 straight wins since a season-opening loss at the hands of Parkersburg South.
“We’re excited for the next step in our program,” Smolder said. “This is what you want, to still be practicing at this time of year.”
The No. 5 Vikings downed Greenbrier East for a second time this season, 43-15, (see story elsewhere on sports pages) to earn the right for another postseason game.
Musselman, meanwhile, handled John Marshall, 60-14, at home.
The Applemen are now 10-1.
“They’ve got a great football team,” Smolder said. “They are No. 4 for a reason. They have a great tradition and have been in the playoffs a bunch.”
Musselman has three state titles to its credit winning a Class A crown in 1974 and two AA titles in 1982 and 1995.
The winner of Friday’s game will get the survivor of No. 1 Martinsburg, the two-time defending state champ and the owner of an 11-0 mark, and No. 9 Parkersburg, who is 7-4.
Musselman’s only loss of the season came against Martinsburg, 70-0.
Musselman’s wins have come over Spring Mills (45-21), Hampshire (47-7), Jefferson (22-0), Princeton (61-28), Morgantown (13-7), Wheeling Park (41-35), Washington (70-6) and Preston (70-7).
The lone regular-season common opponent for the two teams is Princeton. Ripley knocked off the Tigers, 40-18.
Ripley also defeated John Marshall, Musselman’s playoff opponent, in a scrimmage.
This will mark Ripley’s second trip to Berkley County for a playoff game. After upsetting No. 1 Morgantown in the opening round of the 1997 playoffs, Ripley ventured to Martinsburg for a showdown with Hedgesville. The Eagles captured the victory on their way to finishing as the Class AAA runner-up.
Smolder was the senior leader on that team as a linebacker/fullback. Smolder was a Class AAA First Team linebacker that season.
The playoff win over Greenbrier East improved Ripley’s postseason record to 4-8.
The other Class AAA matchups this weekend will pit No. 2 Spring Valley (11-0) hosting No. 7 Huntington (8-3) for a second time this season on Friday night. No. 3 Capital (10-1) will entertain No. 11 Hedgesville (7-4) on Saturday at 1:30 in Charleston.
For the Vikings, it’s all about Friday night.
And no doubt, they plan to be “Livin It Up.”