Big Reds Win 3rd Straight By Holding Off Ripley
Game Statistics / Game Pictures
RIPLEY - It was by no means pretty but it was win number three in a row as the Big Reds survived a scare in Death Valley by holding off Ripley to come out on top by a 16-7 score.
The Big Reds needed some sharp passing by Bradley Craig and nifty receiving by Brenton Strange, Brannon Turner and Karson Snyder to overcome a Ripley ground game which ate up chunks of yardage and time off the clock.
The Vikings, who came into the game with only one win, ran the ball 58 times for 260 yards while keeping the ball for nearly five minutes more than the Big Reds but it was to no avail as PHS made the big plays when necessary and got an insurance field goal from Chase Minnite to secure their third straight victory.
Craig completed nine of 13 passes for 130 yards and one touchdown with Strange catching three for 69 yards, all in key situations.
Showing what was to come for the rest of the game, Ripley took the opening kickoff and drove to the PHS three yard line before Jarrid Winters broke up a fourth down pass attempt on the Vikings' 14th play of the drive. That pass was the only non-run of the drive.
After an exchange of punts, PHS went to work with Craig hitting Easton Martin for 13 yards and Nick Johnson broke loose on a 37 yard run to the Ripley 18. A 10 yard pickup by Strange was followed by Noah Weaver's eight yard dash over the left side with 53 seconds left in the first quarter to put the Big Reds up 7-0 after Minnite's kick.
The Vikings put together another long drive on their next possession, running 10 plays but the result was the same - the only pass of the series being broken up on fourth down by Winters.
The Big Reds quickly moved to the Vikings' 23 but fumbled away an opportunity and that gave the home team enough life to come up with their only score of the night.
After grinding out a couple of first downs, Ripley quarterback Chance Ranson, who ran for 110 yards on 21 carries, broke away for a 48 yard touchdown run with 2:26 left in the first half. The PAT kick tied the game at 7-all and that is the way it stood at the intermission.
A three-and-out by PHS gave Ripley another long drive opportunity, going from its own seven to the visitor's 46 but on fourth down Stevie Scholl and company stopped the Vikings two yards short on a fourth-and-three situation. That drive took 12 plays.
A big third down reception for 18 yards by Strange set up Parkersburg's second touchdown, a 24 yard pass in the flat to Turner with 2:35 left in the third quarter. The PAT was missed and the Big Reds clung to a precarious six-point lead.
A sack by Johnson and Ethan Farinash halted Ripley's next drive and forced a punt but the Big Reds responded in kind and were forced to kick from their own five yard line, giving the home team the ball just 40 yards from the tying touchdown.
Ripley drove to the PHS 20 but after six straight running plays the Vikes again tried to pass on fourth down and it was well off the mark with the Big Reds taking over with 7:09 left in the game.
On third and 12 from the 18, Craig found Strange down the left sideline for a 33 yard completion and the junior quarterback added a 22 yard scramble two plays later to put the ball at the Ripley 23. Three plays later, needing eight yards, Craig hit Snyder with a 19 yard pass to the Ripley two yard line on a third down play.
Craig ran for a touchdown from the one two plays later but it was called back for holding and a third down incompletion left Minnite facing a 25 yard field goal attempt from a tough angle on the left hash mark. But the senior place kicker came through to push the score to 16-7 with 1:10 remaining.
A 10 yard sack by Issiah Gossett put Ripley in the hole immediately following the field goal and two short passes were stopped by Easton Martin leaving the Vikings to try a fourth down heave that was well off the mark and keeping the Big Reds winning streak alive.