The Steve Sayre era of Ripley High School Viking football is off and running.
The former Viking standout’s first game as head coach for his alma mater was a success – thanks in part to an outstanding running game – as Ripley cruised past Buckhannon-Upshur last Friday night on the road at Freal “Red” Crites Memorial Stadium.
The Vikings racked up 243 yards on the ground and along with a stout defense handed the Buccaneers a 42-0 setback.
“It was a great game for us,” said Sayre, a standout Viking lineman from 1971-73. “We played hard and gave great effort the entire game. I was really proud of them.”
B-U won the opening coin toss but deferred to the second half. The Buccaneers, though, looked to catch the Vikings off guard by attempting an onside kick. Josh Roush alertly pounced on the football, setting the Vikings up at midfield.
“We got the ball and drove down the field and scored and that set the tone right there,” said Sayre.
Senior Kadin Hall scored Ripley’s first TD of the season and his first of two on the night by getting into the end zone on a short 1-yard run. Carter Cochran delivered the point after giving Ripley a lead it wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the way.
Hall would finish the night with 103 yards on 16 carries.
Sophomore quarterback Ty Stephens fired a pass to running back Joey Ramsey, a fellow sophomore, from 16 yards out for another Viking score before the quarter ended. Kaitlyn Lawrence added the PAT for a 14-0 lead for Ripley after 12 minutes of play.
It was the first of four touchdowns in the game for Ramsey, who rushed for 85 yards on 18 carries.
Ramsey’s second TD was a 13-yard run in the second quarter that along with Cochran’s kick gave Ripley a 21-0 advantage at the 8:01 mark.
He was far from done in the quarter. With 3:22 to go in the half, Ramsey got in from 1-yard away. Lawrence's kick gave Ripley a commanding 28-0 lead.
Just 17 seconds later, Ramsey was in the end zone again as he picked off an Ian Donnan pass and returned it for a score. Another Cochran kick had Ripley up 35-0 at the break.
The score stayed that way until Hall scored from six yards out in the fourth quarter with 10:10 to play. Lawrence made the final PAT for the Vikings.
Sayre was pleased with all three facets of his Vikings on Friday night.
“Our running game was excellent. We have a nice 1-2 punch with Kadin and Joey,” said Sayre. “I thought Ty Stephens (who was 2-of-3 for 26 yards with both passes going to Ramsey) did a nice job at quarterback. We just didn’t have to throw a lot.”
Ripley had 22 first downs with 20 of those coming on the ground.
In addition to Hall and Ramsey, Joshua Roush collected 48 yards on seven carries. Alexander Mobley carried five times for four yards and Brady Anderson had two attempts for three yards.
On the prevent side, B-U was limited to 118 yards.
“Our defense played lights out,” said Sayre. “I felt Shane (Casto, Ripley’s defensive coordinator), Ronnie (Mullins), and Brian (Anderson) had a great defensive game plan.”
Another key special teams play for Ripley was a blocked field goal by Virgil Myers in the second quarter.
Hall was Ripley’s defensive leader with seven tackles.
Matt Moore had five and a half while Eli Miller came up with five. Sayre praised Miller, who filled in at outside linebacker for "one of our top players in Isaac Parsons.”
Other tacklers were Colton Pepper (4.5), Roush (three), Ramsey (three), Quinton Joyner (three), Brady Anderson (three), Jaydon Martin (three), Mobley (two), Dakota Parsons, Hunter Brown, and Parsons (all with one). Blake Cummings had an interception for the Vikings.
Ripley will play its first home game of the 2020 season this Friday inside Memorial Stadium against Lincoln County, who defeated Roane County in its opener.