Ripley set to battle defending champs

By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal

Ripley is coming off of a 71-point performance in the opening round of the Class 3A playoffs.
The Tigers won’t be trying to match that output this week but their new task is as daunting.
Ripley goes to Charleston to take on another set of Tigers, the defending 3A champs.
“They’re so athletic. No. 6, he’s one of the better football players I’ve seen. No. 8, No. 4 and No. 2… They’re just athletic,” Ripley coach Chad Cook said. “They say the road to Jackson runs through Charleston. I wouldn’t have it any other way. We’re going to give them everything we’ve got. That’s all we can ask.”
One big number those four numbers have produced is 32, their combined number of touchdowns. The foursome has rushed for 2,308 yards, led by No. 6 Kameron Myers’ 918.
Cook is in his first season at Ripley and has led the Tigers (8-4) to the first playoff win for any current Ripley players.
Cook likes the progress his team has made with using multiple formations. He wasn’t thrilled about the 33 points allowed Friday but says the Tigers can go from a tight end and three-back set to five wide.
“We mix it up so much. That’s been an advantage for us I feel like, so many different looks and our tempo has played a big part. We try to snap the ball as soon as the umpire gets out of the way,” Cook said.
“Our offensive line and tight ends do an outstanding job blocking and Cody (James) manages the game and gets the ball where it needs to go. We play 17 (on offense) and they all play a part.”
James has thrown for more than 2,000 yards. The senior has rushed for more than 900. He accounted for six touchdowns Friday. Montrell Gray is second on the team in rushing. Friday he had 114 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Charleston (11-1) prides itself on lining up and running at opponents. Ripley has held its own against the run this season. Friday could be its biggest test.
“They’re a home-run team,” Cook said. “No matter where they are or what down it is, we’ve got to be in position and make the tackle.”
brandon.speck@journalinc.com