Vikings keep Hatchet

Ripley takes down Ravenswood for the sixth straight year

Photo by Josh Hughes Ripley’s Cam Ramsey races to the pylon with Ravenswood’s Case Fletcher (21) and Benjamin King (23) close behind during Friday’s Battle for the Hatchet in Ripley. Ramsey finished with 140 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the 36-0 win.

RIPLEY — The Hatchet is staying with the Ripley Vikings.

With a 36-0 Friday night home win over the Ravenswood Red Devils, the Vikings ended their 100th season of play on a high note in the Battle for the Hatchet. Cam Ramsey dashed for two scores and had two picks to solidify a great final game on both sides of the ball. His 140 yards on 18 carries paced the offense, as the Red Devil defense stayed on its toes throughout the game.

A 15-yard run from Ramsey with 8:11 left in the opening quarter started the scoring, and a blocked Ravenswood punt gave Ripley the ball deep in enemy territory early in the following quarter.

From there, quarterback Noah Westfall had his way with the ball and scored from a yard out a few plays later. He then found Austin Boggess from nine yards away for his final passing touchdown of his high school career with two minutes to go in the first half.

Westfall and Ramsey continued to be a 1-2 punch, as another tally from Ramsey put the game out of reach late in the third.

Even though the Vikings finished off the 2019 season at 4-6, this rivalry win is something head coach Eddie Smolder says his team can use as a building block for the future.

“They stepped up. I’m proud of our seniors,” he said following the win. “I’m proud of our whole team, coaches included. Anytime you can win the hatchet, it’s a good feeling. We just missed the playoffs. Four losses by a touchdown or less, but one of our goals has always been to beat Ravenswood.”

On the other sideline, the Devils capped off their 2019 campaign at 3-7. Despite the loss, a key performance from Caleb Anthony helped keep the offense afloat for the time being.

His 100 yards on 12 rushes was the high point for head coach Eric Hupp’s offense. However, the defense limited Ripley to a 21-0 lead at the half. The defense’s showing is something Hupp and his players can hang their hats on in the offseason.

“Our defense has always been a strong part of our game,” he said. “Our guys played hard. I know we gave up some big plays, but it’s hard to play defense when we keep giving them a short field. If you look at last year and this year, we’ve not finished. We’ve not played four solid quarters.”

Through the highs and lows of the season, Ramsey finished just shy of 1,000 yards on the ground. His output propelled the team to victory, as he expressed his thoughts on a night which will live on in Ripley football lore.

“Everybody was doing their job. It was a great game. We all brought our A-game, and I’m really proud of our team tonight. It’s a great accomplishment, and we’re proud to keep the hatchet with us.”

Contact Josh Hughes at jhughes@newsandsentinel.com