By NEMS Daily Journal
Editor’s note:Here’s the latest in a series of updates on high school football in the area. Our annual preseason football preview section will appear in Sunday’s Daily Journal.
Chad Cook barely got home Monday night before the late-night news came on.
The new Ripley coach spent the evening after practice breaking down an 80-play scrimmage.
Late is about the only time to do it. Only two weeks of practice lead to the Tigers’ jamboree at Itawamba on Friday.
Cook brought a new offense to Ripley when he was hired from Shannon. It’s quarterback Cody James’ third different offense in four seasons.
“He’s adjusted to what we do really good,” Cook said. “He’s a winner. We’ll go as far as he goes.”
Ripley will run 90 percent from the gun with a tight end and running back, a change from a two-back system a year ago.
Cook said the team has bought in to the new look with a few leaders taking charge, left tackle Jamal Braddock, converted fullback to running back Montrell Gray, receiver Ralph Greee, linebacker Aleck Hobson and two-way lineman Keeton Hamilton at the forefront.
“Those guys are kind of the heart of our team,” Cook said. “We’re trying to build a little more depth, more leaders and more intensity but so far those guys have kind of set the standard.”
Ripley went 4-7 last season with a first-round Class 3A playoff loss at Winona. The Tigers open the regular season Aug. 17 at New Albany.
NEW SITE STILL BUILDING
The combined New Site-Wheeler football project will likely be known just as New Site. Wheeler is still represented on the upstart program by a few players but the bulk of the team is from New Site.
Ronnie Jackson brings 20 years of coaching experience to his new head coaching job. The team will join a classification next season.
Koie Jackson and center Josh Hester are back and Josh Hunkapillar is a tackle benching more than 400 pounds.
“I think we’re going to have enough depth this year that we can actually rotate some guys,” Jackson said. “They need to be able to win some games and get their confidence level up.”