RIPLEY - Last week against highly touted Parkersburg South, Ripley dug itself a huge hole in the first half and couldn't make up the difference.
On Friday, the Vikings' committed their mistakes at the end of the game, and once more they proved to be too much to overcome.
Visiting Winfield took advantage of three fourth-quarter turnovers by Ripley, scored 14 late points and came away with a 20-14 win, the first for coach Craig Snyder.
The Generals' offense flat-lined in the third quarter, and when Ripley extended its one-point halftime lead to 14-6 on a Jacob Lewis 2-yard run, it looked as dim as the Jackson County night for Winfield.
But Winfield was able to get its offense on track just long enough to steal a victory a week after being belted 44-7 by Hurricane.
"In the first half, we had two times in the red zone and didn't score and we talked at halftime about putting it together and finishing drives," Snyder said. "We got a lot of momentum. Those turnovers were big, obviously. I think we were really evenly matched with Ripley and it could've gone either way."
Winfield was held to four three-and-outs, 7 total yards and no first downs in the third quarter, but the tide turned quickly in the fourth.
Ripley quarterback Trevor Tucker fumbled the ball away on his own 49-yard line on the first play of the final quarter, and Winfield answered with a 10-play scoring drive resulting in a 4-yard touchdown pass from Toby Show to Seth Lewis. A pass from Show to Chris Turner on the 2-point conversion tied things up.
The Vikings seemed ready to seize control back when Tucker hooked up with Jake Martin for 44 yards, getting Ripley down to the Winfield 23-yard line.
But Winfield's Alan Short made a tumbling, juggling, diving interception on a pass into the end zone to thwart the drive.
After trading punts, Winfield found itself with starting field position at the Ripley 31, setting up a controversial 25-yard completion from Show to John Hathaway to the Vikings 6-yard line. It looked as if Hathaway may have lost possession as he fell to the ground, but it was immediately ruled a catch and the officials didn't waver.
"Give all the credit to Winfield, they wanted it in the fourth quarter. We made some mistakes, and we weren't able to come back from them," Ripley coach Jimmy Frashier said. "Yeah [it looked like Hathaway dropped the ball], but it is what it is. We shouldn't have been in that situation. Play defense, do what you need to do and that doesn't happen. Winfield outplayed us. Flat out outplayed us."
On the ensuing play, Lewis found the end zone for the third time on the evening and a late rally by Ripley ended with another interception. The Generals were able to kill the remaining clock.
Lewis, a senior, rushed for 135 yards on 27 carries and has emerged as Winfield's leader after running back David Gaydosz transferred to Cabell Midland.
"Good blocking up front, the defense played well and had a bunch of interceptions, just played good, team, Winfield football," Lewis said. "John Hathaway's catch basically won the game for us. I'm just glad to get Coach Snyder's first win and I'm glad to be a part of it."
Show finished an efficient 18 for 28 with 150 yards and no interceptions. Turner also threw two passes, one a 5-yard completion to Show and the other resulted in an interception deep in Vikings territory in the first half.
Tucker completed 9 of 12 passes in the first half but managed just 6 for 16 in the second with the two interceptions. He had 181 yards through the air while the Vikings managed just 66 yards on 23 carries on the ground.
Snyder deflected all the credit to his team.
"We can run the ball well and throw the ball well, we're pretty balanced," Snyder said. "I'm just excited. I love Winfield and I love these guys. They've worked really hard and I'm just excited to have the chance."
Turner led Winfield with 61 yards on five catches. Lewis caught seven passes for 36 yards and Hathaway added 39 yards on three catches.
Jakob Harrison paced Ripley with 59 yards on two catches.
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