By Scotty Nichols
Itawamba County Times
FULTON – Back and forth, back and forth … and back and forth.
The Ripley Tigers made one more play than the Itawamba AHS Indians Friday night in Fulton, and they escaped with a 34-21 victory.
The two northeast Mississippi 4A heavyweights slugged it out for three and a half quarters, until the Tigers were able to get the break they needed to seal the game.
The one play they needed came in the form of a 67-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tucker Childers to senior wide receiver Cody Shelton, with just under three minutes to play.
“We had that play earlier, but there was some miscommunication between me and Tucker,” Ripley head coach Chad Cook said following the game. “Cody hauled it in and let his wheels do the rest.”
Turnovers plagued the Indians, which helped spell their doom.
“Ripley’s too good to give them the ball five times,” IAHS head coach Toby Collums said after the game. “We’ve got to cut out the turnovers.”
Turning Point: Trailing 21-20, Childers hit Shelton along the seam for a 67-yard touchdown to put Ripley in control with 2:40 left in the game.
Point Man: Childers finished the game 10-of-22 passing for 230 yards, and tossed three touchdowns.
Talking Point: “That’s one of the hardest fighting IAHS teams that I’ve faced. It was a struggle, but we managed to make one more play than they did.” – Ripley head coach Chad Cook
• IAHS junior tailback Hunter White rushed for just under 100 yards and added a pair of touchdowns for the Indians early.
• Shelton tacked on an insurance touchdown, his second, with a 20-yard run with 1:36 remaining.
• Itawamba junior Vijay Miller completed almost 60 percent of his passes for 224 yards and a TD in a losing effort.