Josh Stepp fist-pumped and chest-bumped once time expired on Lexington’s 27-7 win against Ridge View, his first victory as Lexington’s coach. He found quarterback Will Hunter and hugged him.
“I’m so proud of you,” Stepp said into his ear. Hunter congratulated Stepp on the win. It was the senior quarterback’s maturity and poise that lifted Stepp and the Wildcats to the first victory of the season.
“He’s what makes us go,” Stepp said. “I get emotional talking about him because I only have him for one year. He makes plays high school kids shouldn’t make.”
With a young team around him, Hunter chalked up the first half’s blunders to first-game jitters as neither team could get out of its own way. The Blazers’ first drive of the second quarter was their most productive, but on a fourth and 12, Ridge View quarterback Terrell Fetterson’s pass was intercepted by Jordan Carr at Lexington’s 8-yard-line.
The Wildcats didn’t get close to scoring until their second-to-last drive of the first half. Starting at Ridge View’s 22-yard-line after Lexington recovered the Blazers’ fumble, the Wildcats had a first and goal at the 10-yard-line with less than two minutes left in the half. Two plays later, Lexington fumbled 1 yard short of the goal-line, giving momentum back to the Blazers with 1:40 left.
But Fetterson’s first pass of the subsequent Ridge View drive was intercepted by Brentley Allen at Ridge View’s 23-yard-line. This time, Lexington was able to punch it in with a 4-yard rush by Slade Carroll.
“To get that momentum going into the half was huge,” Stepp said. “We were able to build off that coming into the second half. We played about as bad a first half of football as you could ever play, but we persevered.”
Hunter carried the Wildcats in the second half, widening the deficit over the Blazers with a 24-yard run down the left sideline. On the first drive of the fourth quarter, Hunter got the first down by inches on a fourth-and-11 quarterback run. Then he connected with Allen for the 16-yard touchdown pass. Though Ridge View rallied for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, the 20-point deficit was too much for the Blazers to overcome.
“Coach Stepp always tells us that the only thing that’s going to stop us is us,” Hunter said. “The only people that’ll stop us from scoring is ourself.”
L – Carroll 4 run (Cole Wilson kick)
L – Hunter 24 run (Wilson kick)
L – Allen 16 pass from Hunter (kick failed)
RV – Fetterson 13 run (Essam Kablaoui kick)
L – Hunter 1 run (Wilson kick) :01
; L – Norris 4-33, Jayson Hopper 3-52, Allen 2-30, Ryan Brown 2-19, Jackson 1-3. RV – Okechi Ntiasagwe 4-41, Jaylin Cunningham-Smith 2-23, Alex Greene 2-19, Daryl Shamlee 1-16, Devante Crim 1-9