Indians knock off Ripley on the road

RIPLEY – The Clint Hoots era started off on the right foot last Friday night when the IAHS Indians picked up a big season-opening win on the road over a tough Ripley Tiger squad.

PHOTO BY SCOTTY NICHOLS I BUY AT PHOTOS.ITAWAMBATIMES.COM IAHS tailback Hunter White stiff arms a Ripley defender on his way to the end zone for the first Indian touchdown of the 2015 season.

PHOTO BY SCOTTY NICHOLS I BUY AT PHOTOS.ITAWAMBATIMES.COM
IAHS tailback Hunter White stiff arms a Ripley defender on his way to the end zone for the first Indian touchdown of the 2015 season.

The Tigers had knocked off the Indians in their previous two meetings, but IAHS was determined to snap that skid and start the 2015 season with some momentum.

It would not come easy against a gritty and resilient Tiger team, however. The Indians found themselves engaged in a dogfight throughout the entire night.

Ripley senior tailback Stefan Massie returned the opening kick 76 yards for a touchdown right through the heart of the IAHS coverage unit, giving the Tigers a 6-0 lead less than 15 seconds into the game.

The initial lead would prove to be short-lived, as IAHS answered right back with an 11-play, 70-yard drive that took only 3:36 off of the game clock and was capped off with a 9-yard touchdown run by Hunter White. Bo Parria’s kick was good to give IAHS a 7-6 lead.

Less than two minutes later, Ripley quarterback Tucker Childers hit Isaiah Godwin for a 45-yard touchdown pass, then gave the Tigers a 14-7 lead after converting a 2-point conversion run.

After the two teams traded punts, the Indians began another lengthy drive before the end of a first quarter that carried over into the second.

IAHS sophomore linebacker Jamal Shumpert lined up behind senior linebacker Daniel Freppon in the backfield and plowed into the endzone for a two-yard rushing touchdown less than 30 seconds into the second quarter to tie the game up at 14.

Ripley’s offense drove the ball deep into IAHS territory, but senior safety Jevonta Stegall picked off Childers with a nice one-handed grab to give the Indians possession at their own 10.

To begin a series of huge momentum changes, the Indians then immediately coughed the ball up on a fumble on the next play to put the defense back on the field with their backs against the wall.

Freppon and Stegall led the defensive stand and forced a turnover on downs at the IAHS 10, and the offense would not miss its next opportunity.

It took only seven plays for the Indians to cover 90 yards and reach paydirt. Shumpert punched the ball over the goal line for his second score of the quarter to give IAHS a 21-14 lead.

Raderius Dilworth helped sustain the scoring drive with a phenomenal catch after quarterback Vijay Miller fired a bullet into traffic on third-and-long just two plays before the score.

The Indian defense forced another turnover with just under a minute left in the half, but a furious offensive drive was ended by an official’s wristwatch after the scoreboard mysteriously blacked out following the Tiger turnover.

The Indians received the kick to open the second half, and punched it into the end zone just over two minutes in.

White picked up 34 of IAHS’s total 52 yards on the drive on six carries and finished it off with a 6-yard rumble for a touchdown.

The kick failed, but the Indians held a 27-14 lead.

The Tigers refused to go quietly; they drove the length of the field to answer with a touchdown of their own.
Childers channeled his inner Tim Tebow for the touchdown. He was stuffed by Shumpert and the Indian defense behind the line of scrimmage on third down, but somehow managed to stay on his feet long enough to dump the ball off to Massie for a 4-yard touchdown pass.

The IAHS offense was firing on all cylinders, however, and whatever Ripley could muster just wasn’t enough as Miller connected with wideout Ha’kee Rainey in stride for a 58-yard touchdown pass just 40 seconds later to keep the Indians in front by two scores.

PHOTO BY SCOTTY NICHOLS I BUY AT PHOTOS.ITAWAMBATIMES.COM Jamal Shumpert (32) and Caleb Whittle (2) celebrate Shumpert's game-tying touchdown in the second quarter against Ripley. Shumpert carried the ball just three times for 21 yards, but scored touchdowns on two of them.

PHOTO BY SCOTTY NICHOLS I BUY AT PHOTOS.ITAWAMBATIMES.COM
Jamal Shumpert (32) and Caleb Whittle (2) celebrate Shumpert’s game-tying touchdown in the second quarter against Ripley. Shumpert carried the ball just three times for 21 yards, but scored touchdowns on two of them.

Miller would score on a nine-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter to stretch the lead to 41-28 and the Indians seemed to be in full control after the defense recovered a fumble.

The offense coughed it up for the second time of the night, and Ripley took advantage when Childers scored on a 1-yard sneak.

It wasn’t enough: The IAHS offense milked the remaining 3:05 off the clock and held on for a 41-35 win.
“It feels good to get this first one,” Hoots said after the win. “The pressure’s off … at least until next week.”
Hoots said despite a few mishaps, his team managed to overcome adversity.

“We gave up a touchdown on the opening kick return,” he said. “We could’ve just laid down then, but these guys fought all night long. I’m proud of that kind of effort.”

White and Miller led the way offensively, as White tallied 100 rushing yards on 16 carries with two touchdowns and Miller completed 19-of-27 passes for 296 yards and a score, while adding another touchdown on the ground.
Shumpert’s two touchdowns were crucial in the second half. The first tied the game, and the second gave the Indians a lead that they wouldn’t concede.

IAHS will host New Albany, who knocked off Bruce in week one, this Friday at Indian Stadium.

scotty.nichols@journalinc.com
Twitter: @ScotNic24

About Scotty Nichols

Graduate of THE University of Mississippi. #HottyToddy. I like sports. And BBQ.

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