Vikings land Lewis County as 10th opponent

Mark Martin
Jackson Newspapers

While it took a little more than a “Minute,” Ripley has added a new opponent to its 2020 high school football schedule.

The Minutemen of Lewis County will come to Memorial Stadium September 18 for a showdown with first-year head coach Steve Sayre’s Ripley Vikings.

Lewis County will replace the Brooke Bruins on the latest Viking grid slate.

Ripley and Brooke were set to meet in the season opener August 28 on the Vikings home turf.

Due to COVID-19, the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission cancelled Week 1 of the season. Since Ripley and Brooke didn’t have common open dates down the road, the game was lost.

Fortunately, Ripley and Lewis County did have the same date and will now meet for the first time on the football field.

Ripley replaces Bridgeport on the Lewis County schedule. The Minutemen were set to travel to the home of last year's Class AA champs (who are back to AAA this season) in their opener. Ripley's Adam King is an assistant at Bridgeport.

“We got Lewis County at home and that will be a heck of a good game,” said Sayre, a former Viking great and long-time assistant coach who takes over the Viking program from Eddie Smolder, who is now an assistant at Cabell Midland. “They’ve (Lewis County) got a lot of people back.”

Lewis County is a Class AA program.

And while the hope would have been to replace Brooke, who is AAA, with another Class AAA program, beggars couldn’t be choosers in the current situation.

Lewis County High School opened in 1966. The school is a consolidation of old Weston High School, Jane Lew High School and Walkersville High School.

The current high school was built in 1994.

The school’s athletic teams compete in the Big 10 Conference.

With Lewis County coming on board, Ripley will now have four new faces on the schedule from a year ago. Lewis County joins Oak Hill, Shady Spring and Lincoln County.

Like Lewis County, Ripley will also be facing Oak Hill and Shady Spring for the first time. Lincoln County has been on previous Ripley football schedules.

While Sayre is thrilled to have his team gearing up for a 10-game slate, the pandemic continues to bring much uncertainty to schools reopening and athletics taking place in the fall.

“We’re on pins and needles like everyone,” he said.

For the moment, the Vikings have been going through July workouts before the official start of preseason practices begin on August 17.