RIPLEY, WV- Have yourself a day, Nate Suttle.
Greenbrier East’s sophomore running back ran around, though, and over the Ripley Vikings all night on Friday the 13th and treated The Viking defense like Jason Voorhees at Camp Crystal Lake.
Suttle had three catches for 51 yards, 121 yards rushing and three touchdowns and ran a kickoff back 91 yards for a score, and he did it all in the first half in the Spartans 39-23 victory.
“I’m happier for my players and coaches than myself because they finally got a taste of success that has been within reach,” coach Ray Lee said after the game.
With the win, the Spartans are now officially in the win column for 2023.
“Playing a good game as a team finally proved that they are capable of winning games,” Lee said.
Two consecutive sacks by Landon Vanfosson and Aiden Cole ended Ripley’s first possession and East immediately went to work on offense.
Quarterback Brody Hamric scooted for seven yards on the first play of the drive. Suttle then picked up nine and Abram Wickline caught a 20-yard pass on the next play. Two plays later, Hamric hit Wickline again, this time for 37 yards, and East was threatening to put points on the board. And two plays later, Suttle did just that with a 9-yard TD run and East took an early 7-0 lead with 5:58 to play in the first quarter.
However, the Vikings’ Aydin Domico returned the ensuing kickoff 69 yards for a touchdown and Ripley tied the score at 7-all after Devin Raders’ extra point.
Then, Suttle said to the Vikings, ‘whatever you can do, I can do better’ as Suttle took the subsequent kickoff at the 9-yard line and raced it 91 yards to paydirt, and the Spartans jumped back ahead 14-7 with 5:33 left in the opening quarter.
For the remainder of the first half, it was all Spartans (1-6) and that has been a rarity this season. After forcing a Ripley punt on the Vikings next drive, East got the ball and wasted no time to score. Hamric ran for 32 yards on the opening play, then he hit Grant Burdette with a 16-yard throw. Suttle would get loose for a 31-yard scoring run two plays later and the Spartans led 20-7.
East’s Carter Hamilton recovered a Noah Casto fumble on the first play of the second quarter and on the second play of the ensuing series, Hamric ran, made a nice cut-back and scored on a 38-yard run to put East up 27-7 just 22 seconds into the second quarter.
At this point of the contest, the Vikings (1-7) were losing hope and confidence little-by-little, but they had a nice drive going until Hamilton intercepted Tyson Pritt off a pass that was initially deflected by Vanfosson, and the Spartans took over once again. On the next drive’s second play, Suttle found the end zone from 23 yards away and the rout was officially underway. East led 33-7 after that score.
The score stayed the same at halftime.
East got off to a rather rough start in the second half when the Vikings picked up a safety on a snap over the punter, Hamilton’s head. Then, Casto caught a 15-yard touchdown pass that cut the East lead to 33-16.
Fast forward all the way to the middle of the fourth quarter and East found a way to seal the win. They started on their own 1-yard line and coach Ray Lee and his staff decided to just give the ball to Hamilton. Of the 14 plays on the drive, nine carries went to the senior Hamilton for 55 yards and Hamric used a beautiful fake handoff to sneak into the end zone from two yards out, and Greenbrier East put a big number one in the win column.
As a team, the Spartans ran for 294 yards and gained 446 total. The defense held Ripley to just 236 yards of total offense.
Suttle was the McDonald’s player of the game. Hamric went 11-of-18 for 152 yards, and he ran it six times for 82 more and two TDs. Hamilton had 57 yards on 11 carries and recovered a fumble and picked off a pass. Wickline caught four passes for 90 yards.
The Spartan defense flew around all night.
Great confidence win,” Lee stated.
East will hit the road again next Friday night, Oct. 20 when they head for a difficult matchup with the Parkersburg South Patriots.
Stats courtesy of 103,1, WRON.
**Suttle’s 44-yard gain in the first half was called a run by some and a catch by others* The WVDN will get official clarity on that play**
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