By Kedrick Storey/Southern Sentinel
RIPLEY – The official school colors for the Ripley Tigers and New Albany Bulldogs are black, gold, maroon and white. However, this Friday night, when the teams square off in the annual “Hwy. 15 Rivalry,” expect to see tons of purple throughout the stadium.
Purple was the favorite color of the late Amanda Price, wife of New Albany head coach Ron Price. The coach begins his fifth year with the Bulldogs, but first without his wife, one of if not the biggest supporter of the program. The purple is in support of Price and his daughter Molly and in memory of Amanda.
Ripley faithful to show their support
Mississippians are widely known for how they support each other in tough times, no matter where the competitive battle lines are drawn. Friday will be no different.
Through social-media sites and word of mouth, word has spread for Ripley football parents and fans to wear the color. The RHS Marching band plans to dress in purple shirts and the RHS Cheerleaders will wear purple socks and purple ribbons.
“The director (Sam Cunningham) decided it would be a great idea for our band to wear purple Friday night in memory of Amanda Price,” said Candi Brown Sparkman, who has a daughter in the band. “He also asked for parents and fans to wear purple to show support for New Albany, and I think it is a great idea.”
“God knows our band has had their own share of tragedy with the passing of Ashleigh (Buntin) and Aaliyah (McWilliams). We want New Albany to know they are in our thoughts and prayers.”
First-year Ripley head coach Chad Cook said the Football Booster Club is also in works to get purple ribbons for the Tigers to wear in the game as well. Cook doesn’t know if that will become a reality, but he totally supports the effort.
“If we get a chance to wear purple ribbons in support, you dang right we will. I’ll find out today,” said Cook. “I know how me and my staff feels about Coach Price. I can’t imagine and I’m sure words can’t describe what he’s going through this week. Our heart goes out to him.”
Friday’s kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.