By Kedrick Storey/Southern Sentinel
BOONEVILLE – The Booneville Blue Devils suffered two last minute losses this season and they didn’t want to make it a third.
Thursday night, in the battle for 1st place in Div. 1-3A, the Ripley Tigers got a late turnover and drove to the 15-yardline, before the Blue Devil defense halted the drive with eight seconds remaining to secure a 33-28 victory.
“That’s a big one for us,” said Mattox. “We’ve lost a couple like that and it was looking like that again, but give our kids credit they picked their heads up and battled to the bitter end.”
With the score knotted at 21, Booneville (7-2, 4-0) began the third quarter with a flash, as quarterback Jack Simpson raced to a 55-yard TD on the first play from scrimmage.
Booneville held Ripley (6-4, 3-1) scoreless in the third, then added to their lead in the fourth. Simpson found Andrew Lambert, who broke a tackle for a 74-yard score and a 33-21 lead with 9:41 left. Lambert had four catches for 104 yards.
Simpson shined with 272 yards total yards–135 rushing–and three rushing scores.
Ripley’s Christian Johnson scored on a 2-yard plunge to trim the lead to 33-28 after Brandon Corrillo’s fourth PAT with 6:11 remaining. Johnson had three scores on the night, including a 10-yard TD run and a 44-yard TD catch.
The Blue Devils were outgained 440-369, but Ripley suffered four turnovers, including three interceptions by quarterback Cody James.
Lambert stepped in front of a James pass in the end zone and returned it 101 yards for a score late in the first quarter.
“Andrew Lambert is just a football player. He does his job,” said Mattox.
On Ripley’s next offensive play, defensive back Jazz Prather intercepted James and Simpson converted the turnover into a 63-yard scoring run. Booveville led 13-0 lead after one.
“I thought we’d gotten away from it (turnovers),” said Cook. “I’m proud we had a chance to win at the end and we’ll just have to learn from it and move on.”
James completed seven passes for 145 yards and led Ripley in rushing with 113 yards on 19 carries.