Ripley Vikings lose on the road to Marietta; Oak Hill’s Red Devils invade Friday

Mark Martin
Special to Jackson Newspapers

The Homecoming at Marietta wasn’t the one Steve Sayre hoped would take place.

Venturing back to Don Drumm Stadium, where he once served as head coach for the Marietta, Ohio, Tigers, Sayre was looking forward to sneaking into his old stomping grounds and coming away with a football victory.

And things certainly started out nice for his Ripley Vikings.

Sayre watched as his offense marched down the field and put itself in a position to score. The drive took eight minutes off the clock. But in the end, Ripley came away without points.

“That was frustrating,” said Sayre, a 1974 Ripley High graduate and former Viking standout.

Marietta in turn went down the field and scored. It was a lead the Tigers would never relinquish the rest of the way in their 34-13 victory over the Vikings.

The loss sent Ripley to 1-3 while the Tigers improved to 3-2.

“We made some mistakes but we had a chance to win the game. We had the eight-minute drive and couldn’t punch it in. They go down and score.”

Marietta’s first TD came in the second quarter on a 13-yard pass play from Tyler Gerber to Kayden Durham.

Ripley fumbled following the Tiger TD and Marietta went right back to work. Gerber and Durham connected again from 30 yards. Dillon Meagle hit both extra points after the touchdowns to give Marietta a 14-0 advantage.

Sayre lamented not scoring and then seeing Marietta put two on the board in quick fashion. "It was a 14-0 swing," said the Viking leader.

The Vikings were soon staring at a 21-0 deficit following a 2-yard run by Gerbe and Meagle kick.

Ripley managed to get on the board before the half ended thanks to a 29-yard strike from Ty Stephens to Parker Boyd. Carter Cochran added the extra point.

Marietta went back up by three scores in the third on another Gerber-Dunham TD pass play covering 35 yards. Meagle’s kick made it a 28-7 score.

Stephens and Boyd shaved the deficit in half with by connecting from 25 yards out with 4:33 to play in the fourth. Katy Lawrence hit the extra point to make the count 28-14.

Marietta’s final TD came from the defensive side with less than two minutes remaining when Zach Bartlett picked off a pass and returned it for a score. Meagle’s kick was no good.

Marietta amassed 330 yards of total offense to Ripley’s 210.

Gerber threw for 149 while Bartlett rushed for 114.

Stephens was 8-of-14 for 110 yards. He had the two touchdowns but also suffered a pair of interceptions.

Ripley's Ty Stephens is set to throw in a recent Viking football game. Stephens completed 8-of-14 passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to the Marietta Tigers on Friday, Sept. 17. Ripley meets Oak Hill at home Friday, Sept. 24.

Brady Anderson rushed for 49 yards to lead the Viking ground game while Joey Ramsey had 38 yards rushing.

Besides Boyd’s two TD receptions, Ramsey and Wyatt Simon also caught two passes. Anderson and Hunter Brown had one catch each.

Ramsey had six solo tackles and five assists to lead the defense. Virgil Myers had five individual stops and three assists. Collen Moore had five solos and two assists. Simon had an interception for the Vikings.

“We just shot ourselves in the foot,” said Sayre of the loss. “They hit us on some passes.”

The loss by Ripley evens the series between the two schools at 2-2. Each program has won its games at home.

Oak Hill is next

While Ripley’s 2021 schedule doesn’t feature rival Ravenswood, there will be a band of Red Devils facing the Vikings.

And that meeting with a group donning red and black comes up Friday evening, Sept. 24.

Ripley will return to Memorial Stadium for its annual Homecoming encounter against the Red Devils of Oak Hill.

The two were slated to play last year but didn’t get the opportunity due to COVID-19.

This year’s Oak Hill team will come to Ripley with the same 1-3 record.

“They are big and they are fast,” said Sayre. “They have a heck of an offense.

“It will be really interesting and challenging to slow them down. They can score points.”

Oak Hill’s season to date has gone like this: David Moneypenny’s Red Devils have beaten Westside, 54-6, while falling to Nicholas County, guided by Ravenswood’s Gene Morris, 27-25, Princeton 55-30 and most recently to Lincoln County, 44-41.

The loss to Lincoln County saw the Red Devils squander a second half lead of 41-22.

“They’ve got a really great running back in Leonard Farrow,” said Sayre.

Leonard Farrow, a senior, rushed for 122 yards and scored three touchdowns in the Lincoln County game and had a TD catch. Quarterback Alex Colaiseno, a junior, is solid along with fellow junior running back Omar Lewis, who rushed for 140 yards on 16 carries against Lincoln County.

Sayre said all his team can do is flip the page and move forward as it hits the midway point of the campaign.

“You have to take the good with the bad,” he said of his team’s start to the 2021 campaign. “We’ve been without some guys and we’re hoping to get several of them back this week. In high school football, when you lose someone it’s like losing two or three because they do several things for you.”

Viking game notes

The showdown between the Vikings and Red Devils will be the first-ever in each program’s history.

With Ripley meeting Oak Hill, it now marks three different Red Devils in which Viking teams have faced through the years. Besides Ravenswood, Calhoun was an annual foe for many years.

Prior to taking the Oak Hill job, Moneypenny spent four years as head coach at Fayetteville from 2006-2008 and again from 2015-2018 before the school closed.

Moneypenny was the head coach of the South Cardinals in the 2019 WCHS-TV/FOX 11 North-South All-Star Football Classic.

When Fayetteville shut its doors in 2019, students at the Fayette County school had their choice of attending Oak Hill or Midland Trail.

Oak Hill has had several outstanding basketball teams through the years, capturing state titles in both Class AAA and Class AA.

One of the school’s top football players of all-time is Shannon Morrison, who went on to star at Marshall as a defensive back. He is now an assistant on Charles Huff's staff with the Thundering Herd.

Friday’s game will air live on WCEF-FM (98.3) with Brian Johnson, Jeff Waybright and Phil Iman.