Since then, the Vikings dropped contests against a slew of physical teams, including Point Pleasant, Winfield, Spring Valley and Huntington.
As Nitro rides behind Underwood, Ripley relies upon quarterback Trevor Tucker as he continues to excel despite overcoming a knee surgery. Tucker has completed 34-of-82 passes for 612 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also leads the team in rushing with 507 yards on 82 carries and three scores.
"He's not 100 percent, but he's hopefully going to get there this season," Tennant said.
"He hasn't been full speed, he hasn't been healthy all season, but he's still having one heckuva year."
Despite the knee issues, Tucker presents problems for opposing defenses with his legs as well as his arm. In a 49-20 loss at Winfield on Sept. 13, Tucker rushed for 100 yards and one touchdown on 23 carries. Additionally, Tucker completed 10-of-20 passes for 195 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Wide receiver Kade Harrison represents Tucker's top target with 17 receptions for 397 yards and six touchdowns.
"Kade is our definition of a playmaker," Tennant said. "He's just got that natural ability that when the lights come on, he's ready to make plays. He's actually gotten better each week, too. He's probably one of the top receivers in AAA right now as far as touchdowns and receiving yards, so he's definitely our deep threat."
Though Ripley remains winless, the Vikings boast the pieces in Harrison and Tucker as well as others to compete each week. Ripley will continue its quest Friday for its first win.
"To get that first win, this is a must-win game," Tennant said. "There's no doubt about it. This is a must-win. Our upcoming schedule, we have to get some momentum going heading into South Charleston and George Washington, Lincoln County and Ravenswood.
"We don't have an easy path in front of us, so this is definitely a 'we must win' situation, and just like for Nitro. It's a must-win situation for them, too, just to get some momentum to carry into the last part of the year."