James entered Week 5, leading an up-tempo Ripley Tiger offense with 220 total yards per game. He stayed with that trend, Friday with three first-half passing TDs and a rushing touchdown, as Ripley blew past the East Union Urchins 49-6.
“This week he’s stepped up more than he ever has and that’s what it takes to get to where we need to get,” said Cook.
The Tigers fumbled their first possession of the game, but never missed a beat afterwards.
While the Ripley defense held East Union to just 36 total yards in the first half, the Ripley offense cranked out 334.
Ripley (3-2) scored on three of five possessions in the first quarter. Montrell Gray scored on a 5-yard run, and James added a pair of passing TDs to Christian Johnson of 43 and 9 yards for an early 21-0 lead.
The Tigers' scoring continued in the second quarter with three more scores. James added a 55-yard TD run before connecting with Malik Pearson for a 38-yard strike.Sedabris Boyd added a 3-yard run with 3:45 until halftime to put the Tigers ahead 42-0.
James was 10 of 15 for 162 yards, and Gray had his third straight 100-yard game with 105 yards on six carries.
“Hats off to East Union, they came in and got after us at the beginning,” added Cook. “We still got a lot of little things that drive a coach crazy, but we did what we were supposed to do, get the game over by halftime so we could get some of the younger guys in.”
East Union wasn’t able to get anything going as they fumbled four times, and Santerio Prather picked off a D.J. Armstrong pass. Leading rusher Broderick Montgomery was limited to 30 yards on 20 carries in the first half.
“We had some problems with turnovers in the second quarter, but they never quit,” said East Union coach Scott Duley. “They fought through the first quarter and they fought in the second half really well I thought.”
Ripley’s Deon Tribble hauled in a 28-yard TD pass from Tucker Childers in the third quarter. East Union got on the board at the 4:21 mark of the fourth quarter with an 80-yard interception return by Jacob Elder. Ripley’s Brandon Corrillo connected on all seven of his extra point attempts.