By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
NEW ALBANY – The Bulldogs did it for Mrs. Amanda.
Not even six fumbles could spoil an emotional opening night in New Albany as the Bulldogs beat Ripley 28-21 at Kitchens Field in the Hwy. 15 Rivalry.
Both teams and fans sported purple in memory of Amanda Price, the late wife of New Albany coach Ron Price. She was murdered by a home intruder Dec. 5.
“I don’t think of myself as a very emotional person but tonight I had so many … because of Mrs. Amanda,” New Albany senior quarterback Spencer Day said.
New Albany has won four straight in the series and spoiled new Ripley coach Chad Cook’s debut.
The Bulldogs took a 21-0 lead into the half but watched Ripley tie it with three straight touchdown runs from quarterback Cody James.
New Albany answered the tie on an ensuing fourth-quarter drive. Kachius Clay’s 24-yard run to the 5 set up a 5-yard score for Boston Newsome. Newsome carried the load, 173 yards on 28 carries and two touchdowns.
New Albany (1-0) scored on its opening possession on Newsome’s 1-yard run. O.J. Hardin broke free on a 47-yard touchdown run in the second. Eathen Rainey’s second of four extra points made it 14-0. Day later found Clay on a 6-yard TD pass.
Ripley scored twice in the third. It’s first possession of the half ended in a 5-yard run for James.
The Tigers recovered a fumble on the ensuing New Albany drive and James added a touchdown run past a diving tackler. The extra point failed but two New Albany fumbles later, James capped a six-play drive with a 2-yard run and his own 2-point run to tie the game with 8:54 to play.
“I’ve been seeing the same thing in practice,” Cook said. “Wednesday at practice we were just going through the motions and there it was, the first half.”
Another fumble gave Ripley a last chance but New Albany held in its own territory.
Price, who carried daughter Molly Addison through the tunnel, pointed at the sky when the final horn sounded.