By Kedrick Storey/Southern Sentinel
RIPLEY – Following an emotional opening-night loss to the New Albany Bulldogs last Friday, the Ripley Tigers needed a win.
In that game, the Tiger offense didn’t get going until the second half. In Friday’s home opener against North Pontotoc at Tiger Stadium, it was clicking from the start.
In a high-scoring affair, the Tigers rolled up yards of 473 yards of total offense and quarterback Cody James scored four touchdowns as they won a barn-burner, 42-28 over the visiting Vikings.
The victory avenged last year’s lopsided loss in Ecru and gave coach Chad Cook his first Ripley win.
“We were just too uptight last week,” Cook said. “We had a couple turnovers tonight, but we put it all together for four quarters. The running game made the difference.”
The Tigers rushed for 330 yards with the bulk coming from James and tailback Montrell Gray. James had a game-high 181 yards on 22 carries, while Gray had 91 yards on 14 carries.
James scored the Tigers first TD of the game on a 10-yard keeper in the first quarter.
James had two scores in the second quarter to help the Tigers take a 26-20 lead at the break. His final score came on the Ripley’s first drive of the third quarter for a 34-20 lead.
The senior signal-caller was also completed seven passes for 143 yards.
“It feels great to get this win,” James said. “We have an offensive line and a tailback that blocked all night for me. They put me in that end zone. I couldn’t have done it by myself.”
North Pontotoc got all four scores from junior Marcus Green in the first half. The speedster had a 24-yard run to tie the game at six, followed by an 85-yard kick return and 75-yard catch and run from Trey Jolly. Jolly, who was 15 for 25 for 245 yards also connected with Green in the third on a 26-yard strike to cut the lead to 34-28.
“The offense did a good job on drives, but we just didn’t finish. We’ve got to take advantage of mistakes and we didn’t do that tonight,” North Pontotoc coach Brian Sutton said.