“They were just the better team in this game.”

The speaker was Ripley head football coach Steve Sayre.

The topic was the latest game for his Vikings against Lewis County.

Friday night on the Viking home turf of Memorial Stadium, the Minutemen handed Ripley its first loss of the season by a final of 29-13.

The win by LC denied Ripley of its first 3-0 start since 2009 and sent both teams to 2-1 on the year.

Lewis County was coming off a loss to Elkins, a game many considered an upset.

Sayre said the opposing players were ready for the Vikings.

“They have a good football team. They have several starters back from two teams that have made the playoffs the last two years,” he said. “They certainly didn’t go through the motions against us.”

Ripley struck first in what was the first-ever meeting between the two schools when sophomore quarterback Ty Stephens found sophomore running back Joey Ramsey on a 30-yard touchdown pass play at the 11:33 mark of the second quarter. The point after attempt by Kaitlyn Lawrence was blocked leaving Ripley with a 6-0 lead.

The Minutemen took less than a minute to respond as Marshall Hobbs crashed in from two yards out with 11:12 remaining in the second. Hobbs then got into the end zone for the two-point try giving LC an 8-6 advantage.

Hobbs would lead all rushers on the night with a monster game of 253 yards on 28 carries.

With 3:57 left before halftime, Lewis County scored on a 6-yard run by Drew Clayton and again was successful on a Hobbs 2-point conversion run to take a 16-6 lead into the locker room at the break.

Ripley would get within three of the Minutemen on a short 1-yard TD run by Kadin Hall with 7:47 to go in the third. Carter Cochran delivered the extra point to make it a 16-13 game.

Lewis County, though, would produce the final two scores of the game – both in the fourth quarter to seal the deal. Jaycob Smith scored the first on a 7-yard run followed by a Jordan Gay extra point to make it a 23-13 count with 11:14 to go. The second was a 26-yard pass play from Hobbs to Vincent Snuffer at the 3:57 mark. The extra point was missed by Gay.

Lewis County amassed 330 yards of offense to Ripley’s 286 in the game.

The Vikings had a busy night in the air as Stephens completed 16-of-27 passes for 206 yards and the touchdown.

Isaiah Casto hauled in seven passes for 101 yards. Ramsey snagged four receptions, including the TD, for 51. Joshua Roush had a 23-yard catch, Blake Cummings pulled in a 20-yard pass, Eli Miller caught one for 14 while Hall and Kaleb Swisher had catches for no yardage.

Hall was the top Viking ground gainer with 65 yards on 17 carries. Ramsey carried 10 times for 45 yards.

Miller topped the Vikings in tackles with seven. Roush had six and a half.

Other defensive contributors were: Casto (5.5), Hall (4.5), Quinton Joyner (4), Matt Moore (4), Austin Litton (4), Ramsey (3), Brady Anderson (2), Brandon Deal (1.5), Colton Pepper (1), Stephens (1), Jaydon Martin (1), Hunter Brown (1) and Swisher (1).

Stephens punted twice for a 31.5 average.

Hall returned two kickoffs for an 18.5 average. Miller had a return of seven yards, Casto had one return for five and Brown returned one with no net yardage.

Ripley was slated to play Oak Hill this Friday but that game is off the table due to the state of West Virginia’s color-coded map placing Fayette County (where OH is located) in the red. Counties in the red must do virtual school with no extra-curricular activities allowed.

At the time of this writing, Ripley was still in search of a possible replacement.

VIKING GAME NOTES - Charles Chancey, a former Viking football standout in the '50s, was the latest inductee into the Ripley High School Viking Football Hall of Fame. Chancey went on to play at Marshall but injuries derailed his career. He started a coaching career with Marshall which led to unbelievable success as head coach for both old Pomeroy High School and later Meigs Local (a consolidation of Pomeroy, Middleport, and Rutland). The street leading to the high school is named Charles Chancey Drive...Brian Fisher, who is Lewis County's athletic director, has a connection to Ripley. Fisher was a standout quarterback at Lewis County and was picked for the North team in the 1990 North-South Classic. He went most of the way at QB for the Bears who were guided that year by the late Frank Marino, Ripley's coaching legend. Fisher went on to enjoy an outstanding career at Glenville with Rich Rodriguez.