By Kedrick Storey
RIPLEY – Ripley coach Chad Cook was looking for a lot of improvement from Week 1 to Week 2 and he found it Friday, as the Tigers controlled every aspect of their home opener against the North Pontotoc Vikings, running away with a convincing 49-7 win.
“The thing that stood out to me is we upped our points on offense and lowered our points on defense. That’s a sign of getting better,” said Cook.
Ripley looked to be back in Week 1 mode to start with dropped snaps, busted plays, punts and two early turnovers. But they struck with 5:47 to play in the first quarter, a 56-yard TD pass from Tucker Childers to Isaiah Howard.
North Pontotoc fumbled at their 7-yard line on back-to-back possessions in the second quarter, with Ripley cashing in both to lead 21-0 at the break. Garfield Campbell, who led all rushers with 121 yards on 16 carries scored on a 5-yard run. Howard added a second TD reception and finished with five grabs for 92 yards.
North ended the half with just 52 yards of total offense. It didn’t get much better in the second half and they added two more turnovers.
“Offensively we stunk it up,” said North Ponotoc’s Brian Sutton.
Turning Point: Ripley LB “Ant” Mullins forced a fumble at the North Pontotoc 7-yard line with 3:45 to play in the second quarter. Ripley converted it into a 14-0 lead and never looked back.
Point Man: Ripley senior running back Garfield Campbell had a career-high 121 yards and two scores.
Talking Point: “We are a lot better ball club than we played, but when you come down here and make mistakes against a good ball, they’ll stick it in your ear.” North’s Brian Sutton.
• Ripley has scored 40-plus points in three straight wins over North Pontotoc.
• The longest first half play for North Pontotoc was a 16-yard fake punt run.
• Ripley totaled 372 yards – 149 rushing with 4 TDs and 223 passing with 3 TDs.
• Ripley used four QBs. Three of them scored, including sophomore Owen Childs on a 47-yard pass to Zinn Gregory.