By NEMS Daily Journal
RIPLEY – Ripley’s offense finally found traction early, and in a huge way.
The Tigers, shut out in the first half in each of their first two games, poured it on South Pontotoc on Friday, scoring 47 first-half points en route to a 66-24 victory.
Ripley (1-2) racked up 341 yards of offense in the first half, with senior tailback Isaac Bails rushing for 175 yards and four touchdowns. No starters played for Ripley in the second half.
“We got shellacked last week, but the kids didn’t quit,” Tigers coach Grady McCluskey said. “I knew we were faster than they were, and it just feels good to get a win. It feels like a weight has been lifted off of us.”
South Pontotoc (1-2) scored first on a Matt Collums 37-yard field goal, but then Ripley answered, and answered again, and again. Bails scored on runs of 2 and 11 yards, then he scored two of the Tigers’ five second-quarter touchdowns.
“He’s hard to handle for anybody,” McCluskey said.
In other action
Corinth 27, Booneville 7: Debrico Agnew scored on both sides of the ball as Corinth (1-1) won a battle of former division rivals. The Warriors moved up to Class 4A this year, while Booneville (2-1) remained in 3A.
Agnew scored on a 64-yard pass from Lew Johnson to give Corinth a 10-7 lead in the first quarter. Nobody scored again until the Warriors posted a 17-point fourth quarter, highlighted by Agnew’s 42-yard interception return for TD.
Calhoun City 16, Water Valley 14: Raheem Robinson’s 17-yard field goal with about 2:30 to go lifted Calhoun City (3-0), the Journal’s No. 3-ranked small school, to a road victory. The Wildcats trailed 14-7 after K.J. Lee’s 50-yard interception return for touchdown put Water Valley (2-1) back ahead.
Then Tae Lawrence scored on a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter for Calhoun City.
Mooreville 49, Hatley 14: Mooreville, the Journal’s No. 3 school in 3A, burned Hatley on the ground and through the air.
Griff Loftis threw a pair of touchdown passes and ran for another, and Josh Johnson had TD runs of 40 and 32 yards for the Troopers (2-1). Austin McHenry scored both touchdowns for Hatley (2-1).
North Pontotoc 55, East Oktibbeha 0: The Vikings improved to 3-0 with a road romp. Mitchell Cunningham led the charge, scoring three of North Pontotoc’s first four touchdowns on runs of 8, 25 and 12 yards.
East Oktibbeha fell to 2-1.
Shannon 50, West Lowndes 14: Shannon, the Daily Journal’s No. 5-ranked large school, rolled behind its running game. The Red Raiders (2-1) scored six of their seven touchdowns on the ground, with Kendall Cox scoring twice, on runs of 2 and 4 yards.
West Lowndes (1-2) took a 6-0 on a fumble return for TD in the first quarter before Shannon reeled off 50 straight points.
Belmont 27, Tishomingo County 19: Jordan Southward rushed for 187 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries as Belmont (2-0), the Journal’s No. 5 Class 3A team, took down its cross-county rival. Alexander Fancher added 105 yards on 16 carries.
Tishomingo County (1-2) couldn’t overcome a 21-0 first quarter deficit. All of the Braves’ scores were 60-plus yards.
Walnut 40, Alcorn Central 13: Dominic Steele rushed for 155 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries for Walnut (2-1), which staked a 33-0 halftime lead.
Steele scored on runs of 45, 4, 84 yards, but he wasn’t finished. On defense, Steele scooped up a fumble and took it 52 yards to paydirt.
Alcorn Central is 1-2.
Other area finals (no scoring information provided): Biggersville 32, Union County 30; Calhoun Aca. 48, Marvell (Ark.) 32; East Webster 15, Weir 14; Starkville Aca. 22, Magnolia Heights 0; Smithville 30, H.W. Byers 22, OT; Indianola Aca. 39, Oak Hill Aca. 14.