West Virginia All-State Football Vikings well-represented on AAA team

Mark Martin
Sportswriter

Under first-year head coach Steve Sayre, the Ripley Vikings battled, as all teams did, with COVID-19.

In the end, the Vikings produced a respectable 6-3 record which earned them a spot in the 16-team field of the Class AAA playoffs.

And while the Vikings didn’t get to compete in an opening round game of the postseason (and perhaps beyond) against South Charleston (due to COVID-19 issues in Jackson County), it was still quite an accomplishment.

And four of the key ingredients to Ripley’s winning and playoff season were honored last week when the 2020 Class AAA All-State team was announced by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.

Three seniors – Quinton Joyner, Kadin Hall, and Matt Moore – along with sophomore Joey Ramsey were recognized in the AAA balloting.

Joyner garnered the prestigious role of captain for the Second Team defensive unit while Hall, Moore and Ramsey earned Honorable Mention.

This past season, Joyner was a two-way starting lineman for the Vikings. From his defensive end position, Joyner led the Vikings in tackles with 114. He recovered three fumbles during the season.

He was a vital cog up front at the center position opening holes for the likes of Hall and Ramsey, while protecting quarterback Ty Stephens.

“Quinton had a fantastic season,” Sayre said. “He moved from tackle to center on offense. He was a defensive end two consecutive years. Last year he was second in defensive points. This year he really took off. He had 114 tackles from a down defensive end position - and did that in just nine games. He had an awesome season. He did a great job as a leader.”

Hall rushed for 787 yards and scored eight touchdowns in his senior season. He had four pass receptions for 45 yards and a touchdown. On the defensive side from his linebacker position, Hall collected 58 tackles.

“I can’t say enough about Kadin,” Sayre said. “He was so consistent and so tough running the ball and playing linebacker. Potentially, he was going to be a thousand-yard rusher had we played 10 games and a playoff game, I really think. We will miss his blocking, his leadership and effort.”

Like Joyner, Moore was a steady two-way performer in the offensive and defensive trenches for the Vikings. From a defensive standpoint, Moore was second to Joyner in total tackles with 90.

“Matt More has played four years for us. He’s one of the best offensive linemen Ripley’s had in a long time. Matt was on every (offense, defense and all special teams) team. Matt never left the field. He is one of those quiet leaders.”

Ramsey indeed has a bright future in the royal blue and white. Offensively, he was second on the team in rushing with 757 yards. Ramsey scored 10 touchdowns running the football and had three more as a receiver. In all, he caught 10 passes for 153 yards.

On defense as a linebacker, Ramsey posted 24 tackles and had two interceptions, with one being returned for a touchdown. He also recovered a fumble

In the return game, Ramsey was a threat each time he touched the ball. He returned one kickoff for a touchdown against Marietta giving him at least one score in all three phases of the game (offense, defense and special teams).

“Joey had a great sophomore season. He battled injuries a couple of times but came back,” Sayre said. “He was a big-play guy in the backfield who could break a long run. He is just scratching the surface. Like Kadin, if we would have played 10 games and a playoff game he would have had a thousand yards. He scored 90 points in nine games. I think he has a chance to be one of the best in Ripley High School history if he keeps working.”

Ramsey will no doubt be counted on heavily over the next two seasons, while Sayre hopes others returning will follow the lead of Joyner, Hall and Moore.

“Those three seniors set the example of hard work, effort and a great attitude for our young kids,” he said.

He feels the recognition of four players bodes well for the program’s future.

“They are great people and outstanding young men. They are hard workers, outstanding students, have a great attitude and play for the team. I’m happy to see them recognized for their efforts.”