It wasn’t pretty, but no one seems to mind.
After all, Ripley got to play and win a second football game of the 2020 season last Friday at home inside Memorial Stadium.
“We didn’t win any style points,” said Viking head coach Steve Sayre of his team’s 21-7 victory over visiting Lincoln County.
No, the defeat at the hands of the Panthers wasn’t a thing of beauty, but Sayre is happy to have his team 2-0 out of the gates in the 2020 season that has some programs still sitting idle due to the COVID-19 situation.
“We made too many mistakes,” he said. “But we kept playing tough. We were holding on.”
Ripley made it look easy in the beginning as sophomore Isaiah Casto broke loose and galloped to the end zone for a60-yard touchdown run with just 55 seconds off the clock in the first quarter. Carter Cochran drilled the extra point to make it a 7-0 Viking lead.
Lincoln County responded with a touchdown of its own in the opening quarter when Gabe Bates completed a 6-yard pass to William Phillips at the 7:24 mark of the first. Lincoln County added the PAT to tie things up.
With exactly 7:24 to go in the second quarter, the Vikings regained the lead in when senior Kadin Hall crashed in from the 2-yard line. Katie Lawrence delivered the extra point for a 14-7 Ripley advantage.
It was where the score stood until the 9:52 mark of the fourth when Eli Miller returned an interception for a touchdown. Lawrence’s kick made it 21-7.
“We shot ourselves in the foot a lot,” said Sayre in speaking of the offense.
It was the defense that thoroughly pleased the Viking leader.
“You can hang on in a game like this when your defense is playing lights out like ours was,” Sayre said. “They were inside our 20 three times and we held them out. We gave up that one (scoring) drive. (Senior) Matt Moore was all over the field (from his defensive tackle spot). Kadin Hall and Brandon Deal played really well.”
Lincoln led in total yardage, 260-230. The Panthers ran 69 plays to Ripley’s 51.
Hall was Ripley’s leading rusher with 88 yards on 19 carries and the TD. Joey Ramsey also carried the ball 19 times for 75 yards. Casto had the one gain of 60 yards for a score. Quarterback Ty Stephens ran twice for two yards. Joshua Roush had five carries in the game for minus-1.
Stephens completed 1-of-5 passes for six yards to Wyatt Simon.
Lincoln County’s Isaiah Smith carried 21 times for 116 yards. Bates was 9-of-16 for 58 yards with both a TD and interception.
Phillips, who was one of five different players to catch a pass, led the receiving corps with four receptions for 37 yards.
Moore’s awesome night on defense had him in registering 12 tackles with two sacks. Quinton Joyner was next in line (9.5).
Others contributing on the prevent side were Austin Litton (7), Colton Pepper (4.5), Casto (4), Roush (4), Hall and Deal (3), Miller and Ramsey (2.5), Hunter Brown and Simon (2), Alexander Mobley and Brady Anderson (1).
Stephens punted four times for an average of 30.8.
Casto had a kickoff return of 18 yards and Hall one for 12.
Ripley puts its 2-0 record on the line at home this Friday against a 1-1 Lewis County team. The kickoff at Memorial Stadium is set for 7:30.
The game will air live on WCEF-FM (98.3) with Brian Johnson and Jeff Waybright.
VIKING GAME NOTES – Lincoln County is under first-year head coach Brad Likens, a 2011 LCHS graduate...Dwayne Hicks, a standout lineman on Ripley’s first-ever playoff team of 1986, is an assistant coach with the Panthers. Hicks went on to play football at Glenville State College for Rich Rodriguez…Ripley now leads the series with Lincoln County, 6-1.