It’s never easy winning on the road.
Especially with a limited fan base, no band and no cheerleaders.
But Ripley’s football team managed to handle all of those things, which are now part of COVID-19 for travelling high school parties this year, quite well last Friday at Buckhannon-Upshur.
The Vikings took care of Buckhannon-Upshur by a final of 42-0 in the season opener, launching a successful beginning to the Steve Sayre era of Ripley football.
“It was a long trip last week and our kids really did a good job of bringing their own energy and their own noise,” said Sayre. “It was an interesting environment.”
Tonight (Friday), things will be a little easier as far as surroundings are concerned with Ripley beginning the home portion of its season by hosting Lincoln County.
It will mark Sayre’s first game as head coach for his alma mater inside Memorial Stadium.
While the Vikings will have more fans along with their marching band and cheerleaders, there will be an obstacle in the form of the Panthers.
Lincoln County is coming off a season-opening win over Roane County, 33-14, last Friday at home in Hamlin on the turf of Lions Club Field.
“They’re pretty tough,” said Sayre. “They have a really good running back. He’s about 5-8, 190. They have a big, strong offensive line.”
The running back Sayre speaks of is Isaiah Smith, who rushed for 229 yards on 12 carries and scored three touchdowns in the win over Roane County.
Quarterback Gabe Bates threw for 113 yards in the victory against the Raiders with one touchdown. He completed 11-of-14 passes.
Receiver Will Phillips had five catches and a TD.
The Lincoln County defense gave up 276 yards in the contest.
Sayre feels his team is in for a real challenge tonight.
“They are physically bigger than us. Lincoln County is very impressive on film,” Sayre said. “They do a good job of moving people. Defensively, they stunt and blitz everywhere.”
The Vikings will be looking to take advantage of the old saying, “There’s no place like home,” tonight as it faces the Panthers.
VIKING GAME NOTES –
Former Viking greats Brian Johnson and Jeff Waybright will call the game for WCEF-FM (98.3)…Matt Parsons, a one-time Ripley standout in both football and baseball, will be the first inductee for 2020 of the Ripley High School Viking Football Hall of Fame. Parsons graduated from Ripley in 1995 and went on to play baseball for the University of Charleston…Lincoln County is made up of former schools Duval, Hamlin and Guyan Valley…Duval won a Class A state championship at Ripley’s Memorial Stadium in 1978 over Doddridge County…The Yellowjackets head coach was the late Mike Linsky…Ripley leads the overall series with Lincoln County 5-1.