RIPLEY– North Pontotoc opened up Region 1-4A play with a 30-7 road win over the Ripley Tigers on Friday night. The Vikings used a strong ground game and solid defense to control the game and dominate Ripley.
“Our defense continues to play well, and I was proud of the way they tackled and pursued the ball,” said North coach Andy Crotwell. “Ripley gave us some good field position. I would have liked to have capitalized on the short field every time, but I felt like our guys did a good enough job to get the win.”
North Pontotoc (5-2, 1-0) struck early and often offensively and took a 6-0 lead after T.J. Polk connected with Tyler Hill for a 30-yard touchdown. On the next series Tate Ellis recovered a fumble for the Vikings' defense, but North could not convert it into points. Ripley handed the Vikings good field position after a botched snap, and T.J .Polk ran it in on the next play for an 8-yard score to make it 13-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Ripley (1-6, 0-1) running back Jamal Brooks scored for the Tigers early in the second quarter to make it 13-7. T.J. Polk added another rushing touchdown a few minutes later to make it 20-7, and Gavin Dyer booted a 21-yard field goal right before halftime to extend the Viking lead to 23-7. Tyler Hill added another touchdown to his career night to make it 30-7 with a minute left in the game, helping the Vikings finish off Ripley and beat the Tigers for the first time since 2011.
“Overall I was pleased with the offense, and I thought T.J. protected the football well,” said coach Crotwell. "I like the decisions he is making. He is working hard to improve every day, and even though he had an interception I felt like he put our guy in a position to come down with the ball and Ripley’s defender just made a good play on it.”
T.J. Polk finished with 181 total yards, 3 touchdowns and an interception. Tyler Hill had 94 total yards and 2 touchdowns. Leyton Walker finished with a sack, and Hunter Miles and Tate Ellis recovered a fumble apiece for North.
The Vikings return to action this Friday at New Albany.