Through the years, the annual Ravenswood-Ripley football showdown has featured more drama than a Law and Order episode.

This year’s game had an array of twists and turns before it was ever played.

Once it was finally staged inside Ravenswood’s Flinn Field at Spano-Taylor Stadium Friday night, Ripley captured the victory in the annual Hatchet battle by a 21-0 count.

The Viking victory tied the program’s longest winning streak in Hatchet games at seven.

Ravenswood still has the best mark for a string of wins in Hatchet faceoffs with eight in a row.

Ripley has the advantage in the overall series between the two schools at 44-40-4.

By winning, Ripley improved to 6-3 and nailed down the No. 15 spot for the upcoming Class AAA playoffs (see story elsewhere on sports pages). Ravenswood finished at 1-9.

The game seemed to be the simple part for the two programs.

Getting there wasn’t as easy due to COVID-19 issues and guidelines.

Early last week, discussion took place of shelving the game for 2020 because Ravenswood High was dealing with issues relating to COVID-19.

Ultimately, the decision was made on Wednesday the annual football showdown between Jackson County’s only two high schools would, in fact, be played.

Then, the game was in jeopardy again on Thursday with Ravenswood High going to virtual learning, which in West Virginia during this pandemic means no extra-curricular activities.

There was fear Jackson County might turn red by Friday on the state’s color-coded map. The color red completely shuts down all school operations.

Fortunately, that did not happen allowing the Devils and Vikings to keep one of the state’s top rivalries going.

Ripley scored two first-quarter touchdowns in the contest to gain control of the game.

Kadin Hall scored from the 1-yard line with 6:46 to go in the first and Joey Ramsey dashed in from 18 yards away at the 2:42 mark. Carter Cochran and Kaitlyn Lawrence delivered extra points after the two TDs.

The 14-0 Viking lead after one stayed that way until Ramsey finished it off with a 3-yard score in the fourth with Lawrence providing the PAT.

Ripley had 237 yards of total offense to Ravenswood’s 102.

Ramsey carried the ball 18 times for 89 yards while Hall picked up 41 on 16 carries.

Brady Anderson had 27 yards on three carries. Eli Miller had 25 on six. Colton Pepper carried once for six and Isaac Parsons had one carry for a yard.

Ty Stephens completed 3-of-9 passes for 57 yards.

Three different receivers caught passes for the Vikings. Eli Miller had one for 37, Andrew Comer gathered in one for 11 and Hall had the other for nine.

Ripley’s defense was led by Quinton Joyner who had 10 and a half stops.

Others contributing defensively were: Austin Hall (4.5), Joshua Roush, Isaac Parsons and Colton Pepper (4), Hall (3), Colton Rhodes (2), Matt Moore (1.5), Cochran, Anderson, Matt Armstead, Isaiah Casto, and Comer (1).

Anderson had two punts for 65 yards.

Ravenswood’s offensive workhorse was Isaiah Casto (yes, each team has a player named Isaiah Casto), who carried the ball 33 times for 91 yards.

Case Fletcher had the only other carry that went for -2.

In the air, freshman Jacob Bowling was 2-of-3 for 13 yards. Casto had one attempt that fell incomplete.

Zach Johnson caught both of Bowling’s completions.

Defensively, Fletcher was the top tackler with eight.

Others getting in on stops for Ravenswood were: Wes Hill (7), Caleb Lane (6.5), Xavier Rodriguez (5.5), Brandon Bragg (4), Blake Ball (3.5), Brandon Haynes and Ethan Lane (3), Jeremy Brewer (2), Jaden Sayre (1.5) and Johnson (1).

Ethan Tanner punted twice for 56 yards.

Both Ripley and Ravenswood fielded relatively young teams in 2020 which should bode well for the future.