HURRICANE - The Hurricane Redskins, seeking to improve their positioning in the Class AAA playoff hunt, increased their odds by pulling out a 21-0 win over the Ripley Vikings in front of a large homecoming crowd Friday night at Redskins Stadium.
The Redskins (4-2) went with their strengths - balanced offense and resilient defense - to outlast the Vikings (3-4) in a key game for both teams.
"They played us pretty tough. We just didn't execute," said Hurricane coach Jeremy Taylor. "I need to look at our offensive line and our defense and even myself and some of our coaching calls. It was homecoming and there were a lot of distractions going on. It was kind of a like a perfect storm hit us, and thank goodness that our defense came through."
The first half saw a defensive struggle until Hurricane drove to the 1-yard line, where Ripley's defense stiffened. On the first play of the second quarter, junior quarterback Austin Hensley's fourth-down pass fell incomplete between two well-covered receivers in the corner of the end zone.
But two plays later, in the shadow of Ripley's own goal, Vikings sophomore quarterback Jake Martin was intercepted by linebacker Jesse Barker, who returned it to the Ripley 5. Redskins tailback Zach Pate then scored around left end from 5 yards out to give his team a 7-0 lead that held until halftime.
"We took some hard hits out there from them but we delivered them back punch-for-punch in the first half," said Ripley coach Jimmy Frashier. "We played really tough against a good team. They have a hard offense to stop, but I thought we did well. We continue to play that way and we'll be fine. We still have three winnable games left and we're going to be ready."
Both defenses continued to play well in the second half. The Vikings struggled with their offense and a backup quarterback, gaining 74 yards of total offense.
The Redskins put the game away with two second-half scores, a 7-yard run by Pate and a 28-yard hookup from Hensley to Koi Turner. For the game, Turner finished with 10 catches for 140 yards, while Hensley finished with 203 yards passing.